Cooking with Kaylie: Caramel Apple Muffins

With autumn slowly creeping up on us, we’ve been a bit sluggish around the office. In my mind, there is really only one option to cure us of our fall funk: Eat as many seasonal foods as possible and stay in a food coma until spring rolls around again!

So, the first stop on our way to winter hibernation is the iconic caramel apple…in muffin form!Caramel Apple Muffin

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped apples
  • Monin Caramel Sauce

Directions

  • Stir flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg together.
  • Beat together butter butter, white sugar, brown sugar and eggs until smooth.
  • Mix in vanilla.
  • Stir in apples, then stir in the flour mixture.
  • Divide mixture between a greased, or lined, 12-cup muffin pan and bake in a 375 degree F oven for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  • Drizzle with caramel syrup immediately before serving.

The greatest thing about this recipe? It’s technically a muffin, so you can guiltlessly eat them for breakfast!

Brew Tip: Steaming on the Saeco Odea Giro sans Panarello

Added to the majority of smaller single boiler semi-automatic and superautomatic espresso machines on the market, a panarello has the benefit of incorporating both air and steam into the milk during the frothing process, enabling even the most green home barista to produce a nice, frothy milk for lattes and cappuccinos. And while it’s true that it does enhance a machine’s frothing functionality — especially when you’re working with a smaller boiler or a thermoblock — the ability to control the end product is very limited: If you’re not looking to produce a dry cappuccino, the foam can sometimes be a bit too, well, frothy.

For those that want to employ some actual stretching-the-milk skill to their drink creation on the Odea Giro, we thought we’d experiment with removing the panarello to see how well it works out. Sometimes, wands without the panarello end up being too short and, therefore, make the process even more difficult.

Watch as Gail demonstrates this simple mod and shows how well it performs in this demonstration video.

Homage to Brewing: Burgundian’s Coffee Beer Festival

Is it possible? Could two of my favorite beverages, coffee and beer, share the same glass at the same time, in the same reality? String theory aside, Burgudian’s Coffee Beer Fest last weekend accomplished this very feat, and Sam and I were fortunate enough to attend.

With over 20 coffee beers, 5 toddy cocktails and a caffeine-infused food menu to get through, we braced ourselves for the long haul — thankfully, doors opened at 10am.  Here’s a rundown of our favorites from the artfully constructed line-up:

Big Time’s Marzen Oktoberfest aged on Stumptown’s Ethiopia Mordecofe: This medium brown combo was light and refreshing, with hints of brown sugar and citrus notes — a solid standby throughout the afternoon.

Fremont Dark Star Imperial Oatmeal Stout aged on Tony’s Ganesha Espresso: The highest gravity mix at 8% ABV, this beer was big and balanced with a hint of sweetness. It highlighted the espresso’s depth and the stout’s molasses undertones.

Elysian’s Split Shot Coffee Milk Stout with Lighthouse Coffee:  Velvety, dark and mysterious, this stout was extremely smooth and mellow, reminiscent of Guinness.

Straight Bourbon Cold ToddyZoka cold toddy, bourbon, vanilla citrus bitters, orange zest. Smooth toddy spiked with citrus made this cocktail refreshing and dangerously sippable. I’m re-creating this next summer.

Bacon Dipped in Coffee-Infused Chocolate: Um, this kind of speaks for itself. Fan-freakin’-tastic!

It’s Friday, and I wish we could do it all over again tomorrow. Thank you to the Brouwer’s crew and Burgundian for orchestrating a killer event. We just hope that we won’t have to wait a full year to again witness another marriage of beans and hops.

Brewin’ with Brandi: Cafe Banana Split

Looking for a super simple sweet treat? This lovely recipe features a shot of espresso, a little sugar, a little cool frothed milk and some fun! Watch Brandi whip it up using Nespresso’s Gran Maestria capsule espresso machine and included Aero4 automatic frother.

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • Shot of espresso
  • Milk – cold or hot frothed
  • Tea biscuit
  • Banana, diced
  • Monin Caramel Sauce

Directions

Place brown sugar in the bottom of a demitasse. Add espresso and then pour frothed milk on top, leaving a bit of room at the top. Float the tea biscuit and diced banana on top of the milk, then drizzle with caramel sauce.

Selecting a Commercial-Grade Espresso Machine

You wake up one morning and think, I want to open up my own cafe! Or perhaps you’re already running a small business and you want to add espresso as a complementary service. Or you’re the operations manager at your company and you think espresso in the break room would be an awesome idea. But how do you choose from the plethora of machines available? Do you need a one group, two group — four group?! — machine? What do the terms ‘semi-automatic’, ‘automatic’ and ‘volumetric’ mean in terms of actual functionality and your business’ workflow?

In this overview, Gail walks us through a few things you should consider as you’re researching commercial espresso machines. She discusses how to plan for your busiest times, your budget, your workflow needs and — of course! — grinders! If you’re just getting started and don’t know where to start, this video primer is the place for you.

Crew Review: Cafelat Accessories

You know how deeply we love great design, so it’s no surprise that Cafelat’s series of accessories would woo us! In fact, while we’ve carried these for nearly two years now, they have been so popular it’s been almost impossible for us to film a review of the entire product line because they’ve been picked up so quickly by other ardent fans.

If you haven’t checked them out before, watch Gail walk us through their tampers, knock boxes, tamping mats and more. Who wouldn’t want this beautiful gear as a part of their home espresso setup? No one we want to know. (Okay, we’ll still know you even if you don’t dig ‘em.)

Crew Review: ADE Pocket Scale

Small things are wonderful. In fact, some of our favorite things in the world are tiny in scale and small in stature. Of course, we could be promoting this perspective because we’re goblin sized, but we also have another proof of concept — the tiny but wonderfully useful ADE pocket scale.

Watch as Gail demonstrates the features and functionality of this scale, perfect for measuring out small amounts of coffee for your portafilter basket.

 

Selecting a Tamper for your Portafilter

It’s not just about how sexy it looks on your countertop, baby. Well, okay, that’s definitely part of it, but you also need to make sure you’re choosing the tamper that will best fit your portafilter. In addition to basic diameter considerations, there are some models that feature filter baskets with shapes conducive to different styles of tampers.

Watch as Gail shows us portafilters for several different models and provides her recommendations on which tampers fit best.

Brewin’ with Brandi: Gingerbread Cream Cocoa

The leaves are changing, the air is getting a bit more crisp in the mornings and you might find yourself taking a long, serious look at that fleece in the closet. Like everything in life, the seasons must change, so why not welcome the arrival of autumn with a delicious beverage?

Brandi’s newest recipe uses the one-touch simplicity of the Breville Milk Cafe to do all the heavy lifting. Watch her whip up this lovely cocoa.

Ingredients

Directions

Combine syrup, sauce and milk in an automatic frother, then engage to combine them! Alternately, you could steam up or heat your milk separately, then stir sauce and syrup in afterward.