• Tommy Centola

Combining coffee. Desserts

Many people cannot go thru the day without of cup of coffee. Even on the hottest day of the year, people line up for their cup of Joe. Here in Searcy, we have numerous shops that specialize in the art of coffee drinks. While coffee is a great way to start the day, it also makes a great ingredient in the kitchen.

In an earlier article, I featured coffee as part of a rub for a pork loin. Today, I am countering the bitter coffee flavor by showcasing it in dessert presentations, Coffee & Chicory Creme Brûlée and Coffee Toffee Brownies. Since coffee is often served with dessert, these sweets make a great pairing with a fresh cup of coffee.

You may have noticed the first recipe features Coffee & Chicory. This is a stronger type of coffee that is native to New Orleans. Back in the civil war, the Union blockade was cutting off supplies to the Confederacy. To stretch their coffee supply, they started including chicory to their brew. This was an inexpensive way to make their supplies last. That tradition still carries on in New Orleans. There are many brands of coffee & chicory on the market.

I love to make and eat creme brûlée. It is an easy dish to make but your guest will marvel at your cooking skills. My favorite part of making a creme brûlée is the final touch of caramelizing the sugar on top. I don’t like having many kitchen tools that are designed for a single use. My mini torch is one of the few I have and I love to use it.

Coffee & Chicory Creme Brûlée

7 large Eggs Yolks

1 cup Sugar, divided

3 cup Heavy Cream

1 cup very strong brewed Coffee with Chicory

2 tablespoons firmly packed Brown Sugar

1 (2-inch) Cinnamon Stick

2 whole Cloves

1 tablespoon Orange Zest

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine egg yolks and 1/4 cup sugar; beat with a whisk until thickened. Set aside. In a medium saucepan, combine cream, coffee, brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves and zest; heat over medium-high heat until almost boiling. Remove from heat. While still hot, add 1/4 cup cream mixture to the egg yolk mixture, and whisk to temper. Add remaining cream mixture to egg yolk mixture, and whisk. Strain into a large measuring cup or bowl with a spout. Carefully pour the hot mixture into 6 (5-inch) shallow ramekins. Arrange ramekins in a large roasting pan. Fill with boiling water halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cook until just set, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven and water bath, and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate overnight. Sprinkle the top of each custard with about 2 tablespoons sugar. Caramelize the tops with a kitchen torch. Serve.

Brownies are a perfect after school or dinner treat. This variation combines the three flavors of chocolate, coffee and toffee. Toffee is made by combining brown sugar with margarine. The infusion of coffee takes this to another level of deliciousness.

Coffee Toffee Brownies

1/2 cup Margarine

1-16 ounce box Dark Brown Sugar

2 tablespoons Instant Coffee

1 tablespoon Hot Water

2 large Eggs

1 tablespoon Vanilla Extract

2 cups All-purpose Flour

2 teaspoons Baking Powder

1/8 teaspoon Salt

1/2 cup Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 350℉.

Coat a 13x9x2-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. In a small saucepan, melt the margarine and brown sugar over low heat. Combine the instant coffee with the hot water to dissolve and combine with the brown sugar mixture in a mixing bowl. Stir and cool. Whisk together the eggs and vanilla; mix into the brown sugar mixture. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt and stir into the brown sugar mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips. Pour the batter into the baking pan and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Do not over cook. Cool in pan and cut into squares.

I hope that these recipes have help to satisfy your sweet tooth. I find that they are always good to the last drop.

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