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Coffee as an Ingredient

coffee dessertCoffee is the world’s favorite beverage, but do you know you can eat it too? More than a thousand years ago, Africans would have been amazed to know that the coffee beans they discard can be brewed and made into a stimulating beverage. After all, they only knew that the pulp of the ripe “cherries” can be mashed and dried to be made into a bar that’s fit for traveling.

Beyond a Perk-me-up Beverage

Who doesn’t dream of the tiramisu with its “cloud of featherlight zabaglione mixed with mascarpone and whipped cream, a bit of cocoa settling on the tines, and then through Italian ladyfingers softened by their dip in liqueur-spiked espresso.”

Note, however, that it isn’t just good for desserts. Roasting makes it develop some acidity and bitterness that add a complex layer of flavor to dishes, when it’s added. It also creates a perfect complement to foods with sweet, nutty, or earthy taste. Some chefs are so intrigued with its odd flavor they tried using it as a secret ingredient to some of their exotic dinners.

A Wealth of Sweet and Savory Recipes with Coffee

Readers’ Digest in its 4 Recipes Using Coffee as a Secret Ingredient offers two ways to add a unique essence to dinners and two ways to prepare desserts. In the Broiled Spicy Steaks, it is is used as a rub for beef while it was used as a hearty marinade for the recipe Broiled Java Turkey.

Coffee-flavored sweets are all the rage these days; the two recipes offered here are Seattle Chiffon Cake and Espresso Biscotti.

Epicurios offers 14 top-rated coffee-based recipes in its post Cooking with Coffee: Our Favorite Recipes by Esther Sung that include Tiramisu, Coffee Crunch Bar and Jamaican Coffee Brownies for desserts as well as savory meat dishes such as Jalapeño Cheeseburgers, Barbecue Chicken Hotcakes with Vinegar Slaw, and Short Ribs Braised in Coffee Ancho Chile Sauce, among others.

Recycling Brews

Got some leftover brew?

Be innovative.

The Kitchn says Don’t Toss Your Leftover! 10 Recipes That Use Your Leftover Brew. When guests had a change of heart or had to cancel because of a bad weather, and your brew is sitting without any takers, don’t toss it down the drain. Aside from iced coffee, you can capitalize on its tenderizing qualities and robust flavor to concoct mouthwatering sweet or savory dishes. Ten recipes are suggested in this blog and these are:

  • Coffee-Ice Cream with Hot Fudge Sauce…
  • Mocha Popsicles…
  • Coffee Pudding…
  • Thai Iced-Coffee …
  • Fried Eggs with Coffee Chipotle Mole …
  • Brewed and Braised Chicken …
  • Alton Brown’s Coffee and Molasses Pork Chops …
  • Coffee Chocolate Layer Cake …
  • Mocha Cupcakes with Espresso Buttercream …
  • Godiva Coffee-Chip Ice Cream …

Going for Organic

The quality of the beans is important, particularly if you have an exquisite, gourmet taste. This is a reality embraced by all great chefs. In Francine Segan’s blog Coffee Beyond The Cup; Java Desserts And Marinades, she writes about what Lynda Calimano said, that “All great chefs value the quality of their ingredients and the same applies to coffee…. So when using them in recipe … can’t emphasize enough the importance of organic …, shade-grown coffee, seasonally harvested if you want the best flavor and to retain the nutritional elements.”

If you are a health buff, go for the organically grown beans.

If you love the flavor, you can have more of it if you will learn to use it as an ingredient in cooking savory and sweet dishes. Try the recipes suggested here and get more ways than one.

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