Vietnamese Iced Coffee

Vietnamese Iced Coffee

Vietnamese Iced Coffee

During the hot summer months, one of my very favorite beverages is iced coffee.  I never mind if there is morning coffee left over, because I know I will enjoy it later in the day over ice with a little cream added.  I never gave a thought to the possibility that there might be another way to make iced coffee.  Therefore when this little recipe was delivered to my e-mail inbox I took notice and decided to try it out.

The coffee called for is a strong chicory coffee, –not sure what the connection is with Vietnamese.  Anybody know?   Anyhow, I happen to have in my cupboard a can of Cafe du Monde, a strong chicory coffee that is served in New Orleans at Cafe du Monde.  Happily I had what I needed and could make it without a trip to the market for some necessary ingredient.  I made it on the weekend when Mr. D. would be home to share it with me because the recipe makes about 6 cups, counting all the ice you put in.

To make this short story  shorter:  we liked it,  it was cool and refreshing,  and after drinking it we were WIRED for the rest of the day—-got lots done!!!!       If you want a “pick-me-up”,  this could be it.

VIETNAMESE ICED COFFEE

Cafe du Monde from New Orleans, LA.

Cafe du Monde from New Orleans, LA.

Yield:   6 cups, about 48 oz.

  • 2 cups strong, brewed chicory coffee  (such as Cafe du Monde)
  • 1/2 cup half and half or light cream
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 cups ice

To Make:

In a blender, combine the coffee, half and half and condensed milk.  Add the ice.  Blend until smooth and frothy, about 30 seconds.  Transfer to tall glasses and serve immediately.

Strong coffee flavor, cool and refreshing!

Strong coffee flavor, cool and refreshing!

SOURCE:   Martha Stewart

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Not Your Average Cup of Joe

Coffee Macadamia Nut Biscotti

Coffee Macadamia Nut Biscotti

In Ka’u, the historic district of the Big Island of Hawaii, coffee and  Hawaii Volcanoes National Park are the two big things.  The area is home to about 50 coffee plantations that ship beans around the world.  Four years ago, the community created an annual weeklong K’au Coffee Festival, that included a recipe contest.  It has since become one of its most popular events.  Last year’s winner created this recipe that was the grand-prize winner.  Oddly enough, this talented baker doesn’t drink coffee, but nevertheless she was able to come up with this winning recipe.

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These coffee-spiked biscotti include other Ka’u ingredients like local honey, macadamia nuts and toasted coconut.  Even if you’ve never been to Hawaii, you can get a taste of the local flavor by making these award-winning biscotti.  They are really good with a cup of hot coffee or iced coffee.

COFFEE-MACADAMIA NUT BISCOTTI

Yield:  Makes 30 – 35 cookiesIMG_4531

Ingredients:

  • 2  3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup ground coffee
  • 1 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup macadamia nuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 12-oz. bag white chocolate chips
  • 1  1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut, toasted

1.  Preheat the oven to 350*F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2.  Whisk the flour, coffee, cocoa powder, baking soda and cinnamon in a medium bowl.  Combine the sugar, butter, honey, vanilla, and eggs in a large bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed.   Reduce the mixer speed to low, beat in the flour mixture until just combined.  Stir in the macadamia nuts with a wooden spoon.

3.  Form the dough into two  8 – 10 inch logs on the prepared baking sheet, about 3 inches apart.  Bake until browned about 25 minutes.  Let cool 10 minutes, then cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices using a serrated knife.

4.  Reduce the oven temperature to 325*F.  Arrange the slices cut-side down on the baking sheet; return to the oven and bake 20 more minutes, flipping the cookies over halfway through.  Let cool 10 minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer to racks to cool completely.

5.  Melt the white chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water  (do not let the bowl touch the water), stirring until smooth.  Dip the biscotti partway into the melted chocolate, then roll in the toasted coconut.

This is how I stand them up to dry.

This is how I stand them up to dry.

Place on a baking sheet lined with fresh parchment; refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes.

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I spread chocolate on only one side of some of them, and sprinkled with coconut.

I spread chocolate on only one side of some of them, and sprinkled with coconut.

SOURCE:   Food Network Magazine

Cappuccino Bars

Cappuccino  Bars

Cappuccino Bars

If they look like cake and taste like cake, they must be cake, right?   Well, not necessarily!   The recipe calls them “bars”, so I will, too.  Although I must admit I expected them to be more chewy, like brownies.  Once I got past the unexpected texture of these cake/bars I really loved the flavor.  It was the promise of chocolate, coffee, and cinnamon all blended together that drew me to making them in the first place.

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The word cappuccino comes from the Italian “capuchin”, a monk who wore dark brown robes; since the color of coffee frothed with chocolate and cinnamon resembles the color of the monk’s robe, the drink became known as cappuccino.

Beside the flavor combination of this recipe, I liked the idea of using a cake mix as the basis for the recipe.  I see nothing wrong with using a good quality cake mix to get a jump start on a recipe if the end result is especially note-worthy.  I think this recipe meets that criteria.  I also liked baking them in a 13 x 9 ” pan,  –and I have one with a cover–so I could carry them easily to a picnic where everyone thought they were delicious.  Not exactly patriotic in color, I decorated the tops with “stars and stripes” sprinkles and a little flag to dress them up for the Memorial Day holiday.

CAPPUCCINO BARS

Yield:   about 28 bars,  more if you cut them smaller.IMG_4147

Ingredients:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup  (1 stick) butter, melted or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup each packed brown sugar and water
  • 1 Tablespoon each ground cinnamon and vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons instant coffee
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 package (18.25 oz.) chocolate cake mix. ( I used Devil’s Food)

1.  Preheat oven to 350*F.  Grease and flour a 13 x 9 – inch baking pan.

2.  In a large mixing bowl combine all the ingredients except the cake mix.  Mis well to combine.  Stir in cake mix. and beat to incorporate well..  Batter will be thick.

3.  Spread into prepared pan and bake at 350* for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool completely.

4.  Frost or decorate the top as desired.  A drizzle of melted white or dark chocolate is nice, or frost lightly with frosting of your choice.  My version is frosted with butter cream and decorated with sprinkles.

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These are not heavy, chewy bars, but instead are light and airy with a complex flavor that will have people asking, “what is that flavor?”

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SOURCE:   Baking at Home;  Bars, Cakes and Cookies

Tiramisu, a Lightened-up Version

Today marks the beginning of my second year writing this blog, and I wanted to share with you something fabulous.  I think this recipe is certainly that.  Rich, indulgent and just plain delicious!

Tiramisu, with less calories and fat but still rich and delicious.

Tiramisu, with less calories and fat but still rich and delicious.

Most likely you have had tiramisu at one time or another.   You know, the elegant, espresso-soaked sponge cake dessert, which is characterized by its rich layers of buttery mascarpone cheese and sweetened whipped cream, topped off with shaved chocolate.  If you have never had it, then I suggest you try this lightened up version for a treat that still delivers the flavor of the original without all the fat and calories.

Tiramisu, an elegant dessert.

Tiramisu, an elegant dessert.

The classic recipe packs a wallop;  a day’s worth of fat and almost 600 calories.  Mascarpone is Italy’s version of a dessert butter;  delicious to be sure, but you don’t need so much to make a dessert which is still rich tasting.  To lighten it , this recipe subs in 1/3 less fat cream cheese, with still a bit of mascarpone for richness, and mixes it into a lightly sweetened egg custard.  Egg whites are whipped, then folded into the custard, eliminating the need for whipped cream.  Crisp lady-fingers get dipped into Kahlua-spiked coffee and are then layered with the creamy custard-like filling.  A dusting of bittersweet chocolate adds one more layer of flavor for an indulgent treat that will truly be a pick-me-up, for that’s what “tiramisu” means.

Two layers of sweet, creamy indulgence.

Two layers of sweet, creamy indulgence.

We were guests at my  sister-in-law’s home for Easter dinner, and this is what I brought for dessert.  Everyone thought it was divine.  I needn’t have  worried that they would detect it wasn’t the original version. It disappeared so fast no one even questioned it.

TIRAMISU

SERVINGS:    10

INGREDIENTS

Ladyfingers, 2 kinds of cheese, Kahlua, and eggs.

Ladyfingers, 2 kinds of cheese, Kahlua, and eggs.

  • 1  1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup ground dark roast coffee
  • 1/2 cup sugar, divided
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 2 Tablespoons Kahlua  (coffee-flavored liqueur), divided
  • 5 large egg whites
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 8  ounces 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened
  • 2  ounces mascarpone cheese, softened
  • 24 crisp savoiardi ladyfingers  ( 1  [ 7oz.] pkg.)
  • 3/4  ounce bittersweet chocolate, finely grated

1.  Bring 1  1/2 cups water to a boil, and remove from heat.  Add coffee; cover and let stand for 10 minutes.  Strain through a cheesecloth-lined sieve into a medium bowl; discard grounds.  Cover and refrigerate until needed.  I brewed extra coffee in the morning, then into 1 1/2 cups coffee I added 1 Tablespoon espresso  powder; heated up the mixture to dissolve the espresso, then chilled it.

Espresso mixed with brewed coffee for a strong coffee flavor.

Espresso mixed with brewed coffee for a strong coffee flavor.

2.  Combine  1/4 cup sugar, egg yolks, and 1 Tablespoon Kahlua in the top of a double boiler, stirring well with a whisk.  Cook over simmering water, whisking constantly, until thick and candy thermometer registers 160* (about 9 minutes).  Remove from heat; refrigerate 10 minutes.

Cooking the egg yolks with sugar and Kaluha.

Cooking the egg yolks with sugar and Kaluha.

3.  Place egg whites in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until medium peaks form.  Combine the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons water in a small saucepan, and bring to a boil.   Cook, without stirring, until the candy thermometer registers 250*.  With mixer at low speed,  carefully pour hot syrup over egg whites.  Gradually increase speed to high; beat for 2 minutes or until stiff peaks form  (do not over mix )

4.  Combine egg yolk mixture, cream cheese, and mascarpone cheese in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth.

Egg yolk mixture beaten with cream cheese and mascarpone.

Egg yolk mixture beaten with cream cheese and mascarpone.

Gently stir one-fourth of egg white mixture into cream cheese mixture;  gently fold remaining egg white mixture into cream cheese mixture.

Fold egg whites into egg/ cheese mixture.

Fold egg whites into egg/ cheese mixture.

5.  Add remaining 1 Tablespoon Kahlua to coffee.  Quickly dip 12 ladyfingers into coffee mixture; arrange in the bottom of an 11 x 7-inch baking dish.  Note:  I used an 8″ x 12″ pan and 15 ladyfingers, without changing anything else, and there was enough coffee and custard to cover adequately.

Ladyfingers dipped and placed into bottom of baking dish.

Ladyfingers dipped and placed into bottom of baking dish.

Spread half of cream cheese mixture over ladyfingers.

Spread with half the cream cheese mixture.

Spread with half the cream cheese mixture.

Sprinkle with half of the chocolate.

Sprinkle with half the chocolate.

Sprinkle with half the chocolate.

Repeat procedure with the remaining ladyfingers, coffee mixture, and cream cheese mixture .  Sprinkle with remaining chocolate.  Cover and chill at least 2 hours.

This makes a full pan.

This makes a full pan.

Cut into squares and remove with a spatula.

Cut into squares and remove with a spatula.

Try it.  I'm sure you will love it!

Try it. I’m sure you will love it!

SOURCE:  Cooking Light

Pumpkin Spice Latte

Pumpkin Spice Latte

Are you a Starbucks person?  Is that your first stop every morning for a grande, a latte, machiatto, or whatever?   Not me.  No, I prefer to brew my favorite blend at home.  However, at this time of year they feature a flavored coffee that I particularly like because it contains, you guessed it, pumpkin!

Pumpkin Spice Latte:  hot, spicy, so good;  but I’m concerned about the amount of sweetener in it, and after I’ve downed about half the cup, I begin to think it’s just too over-the-top spicy.  So to remedy the situation I experimented with making it at home and I think I’ve come up with an acceptable alternative.  In my version, the sugar is on a sliding scale, so you can adjust to your sweetness level, and although the flavors of pumpkin and spice are there, they are not overpowering.  With this recipe I can make a special cup whenever I want it, and not have to wait for it to be “in season”.

Another reason to like this recipe:  it uses up small amounts of pumpkin from another recipe. Don’t you just hate it when you’re left with a 1/4 cup of this or that?  Now what am I supposed to do with this?  In most cases it gets lost somewhere in the refrigerator, until the day comes when I find it and then MUST throw it out.  EEEEEUWH!     The pumpkin in this case was the perfect amount left over from when I made the Pumpkin Doughnuts.

PUMPKIN SPICE LATTE

YIELD:  2 servings

  • 2 cups milk, or half and half
  • 2 Tablespoons pumpkin puree
  • 1 – 3 Tablespoons sugar (to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice mix
  • 1 cup strong, hot coffee
  • whipped cream

1.  Into a medium saucepan put the milk, pumpkin and sugar.  Heat over medium heat until hot, but do not boil.

2.  Remove from heat and add vanilla, pumpkin spice and coffee.

3.  Pour into two large mugs, and garnish with whipped cream, and an extra pinch of pie spice.  Add a cinnamon stick if you wish.

This tastes like “the real thing”!

Pumpkin Spice Latte

SOURCE:  adapted from “Almost Real”,  the Food Network