He may have been poking fun at the overly complex ordering practices of his fellow Angelenos, but Steve Martin’s humorous cafe scene in LA Story is a (semi-)appropriate backdrop for our tip today: Brewing rich, delicious espresso with just a bit of a kick.
When we’re craving the taste of coffee but still need to get to bed before 2am, we meld together a blend of 1/2 Lavazza Super Crema and 1/2 Lavazza DEK espresso. Mixing the caffeinated with the decaffeinated takes things up a notch, but not the full whammy we usually find at the bottom of our cup. And while Lavazza’s DEK is some of the tastiest decaffeinated coffee out there, we love the added creamy dimension of the Super Crema.
OK, this recipe for Soft-Centered Chocolate Pudding with Espresso sounds ridiculously awesome and we’ll definitely have to try it very, very soon.
- 8 ounces dark (bittersweet) chocolate, such as Valrhona 65 percent, coarsely chopped or shaved
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, preferably at room temperature
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 cup hot espresso
- Heat 1 to 2 inches of water in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
- Combine the chocolate and butter in a metal bowl just big enough to fit over the saucepan without touching the water. Place the bowl over the saucepan; when the chocolate has softened, stir to incorporate it with the melted butter, then add the milk, cream and pepper to taste, mixing well.
- Pour into 4- to 6-ounce ramekins or coffee cups. Place in the freezer, spaced well apart. Check after 45 minutes to see whether the puddings are set. When their edges are firm (which can take from 45 to 90 minutes) but the puddings are still somewhat soft in the middle, they are ready for the next step or can be transferred to the
refrigerator to keep cold until just before serving.
- When ready to serve, dissolve the sugar in the hot espresso. Fill a (clean) turkey baster or large syringe with the hot liquid and inject it into the middle of each cold chocolate pudding, or make room with a spoon and pour the espresso in. Serve immediately.
Recovered from the holiday festivities? Much more chill than December’s counterparts, January’s get-togethers are all about relaxing — and what could be better than sipping a warmed mulled wine to get you in the mood?
We’ve spent hours over the stove top, concocting the perfectly mulled wine…a delicious endeavor that we thought might be short cut by the introduction of Monin’s Chai Tea Concentrate. Containing cloves, cinnamon and ginger — the hallmarks of mulling spices — this concentrate also kicks it up a bit with the addition of green tea extract and orange blossom. If mulled wine is up your alley, we think this is a delicious (and quick) twist on an old favorite!
- 1 bottle full bodied red wine (3.5 cups) — we chose Syrah
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons Monin Chai Tea Concentrate
- Optional: Cinnamon sticks (for garnish)
- In a non-reactive pot, combine wine and chai mixture
- Warm mixture until slightly too hot to the touch
- Serve in your favorite heat-proof glasses or mugs
- Garnish with a cinnamon stick
We love Monin’s Chai Tea concentrate — The deliciously spicy flavors of clove, green tea, cinnamon, ginger and orange blossom melding into a sweet and tangy brew. Not only is it delicious by itself, but it’s a great complement to other flavors — and Grandma’s Blueberry Delight Latte is a perfect example of how to use it to mix up your daily latte.
Combine espresso, Monin Chai, Monin Blueberry and steamed milk in mug.
Top with whipped cream. Dust with brown sugar and pie spice
These delectable delicacies are perfect for dinner party desserts or an afternoon snack — you’ll need to keep them refrigerated.
– For Cupcake Batter –
- 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup cocoa
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 large egg
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
– For Cream Cheese Filling –
- 8 oz. cream cheese
- 1 tablespoon finely ground espresso
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350F and place rack in the center of the oven.
- Line muffin tins with paper liners — muffins should be 2.5 inches in diameter, recipe calls for 20 muffins total.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the dry ingredients with an electric mixer on slow speed.
- Add the liquid ingredients and beat on medium speed until thoroughly mixed and smooth.
- Pour the batter equally into all 20 cupcakes.
- For the filling, put cream cheese, espresso, sugar, salt, egg and vanilla into a medium sized bowl and beat until smooth.
- Stir in mini chocolate chips.
- Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the cream cheese filling into the center of each cupcake.
- Bake the cupcakes for 20 – 25 minutes (monitor closely, they may bake more quickly depending on your oven), or until cupcakes spring back when lightly touched.
- Remove and let cupcakes cool in muffin pan for about 5 minutes, then carefully unmold to cool completely on a wire rack.
- Chow down!
Perk up your favorite cocktail with a little homemade coffee liqueur! Our favorite is a recipe from A.J. Rathbun (author of Luscious Liqueurs):
- 1/4 cup instant espresso powder
- 2 & 1/2 cups light brown sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup whole coffee beans of your choice
- 3 cups brandy
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Combine instant espresso powder, sugar and water in a medium-size saucepan over medium-high heat; stir occasionally until mixture is almost at a boil.
- Lower heat & keep it at a low simmer for 5 minutes.
- Turn off heat and let syrup cool completely in the pan.
- Put syrup, coffee beans and brandy in a glass container with a tight lid, stir well.
- Seal and place the container in a cool, dry spot away from sunlight.
- Let mixture sit for 2 weeks — swirling it occasionally.
- After 2 weeks, add vanilla, stir again and reseal. Let it sit again for 2 more weeks in a cool, dry spot away from sunlight.
- Carefully strain liqueur through a double layer of cheesecloth into a pitcher.
- Strain again through two new layers of cheesecloth into one large bottle or a number of smaller bottles — your preference.
Makes about 3 pints.
We just got in a batch of Kenneth Davids’ seminal coffee book, Coffee: A Guide to Buying, Brewing and Enjoying and we highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in an in-depth explanation of pretty much all there is to know about coffee.
Covering the entire lifecycle of your favorite bean, this book talks about history, agriculture, roasting, tasting, grinding, brewing and serving — a resource-rich compendium that will most certainly answer any coffee-related question you might have had.
Kenneth also authors the website Coffee Review, which provides detailed assessments of hundreds of different coffees from around the world. If you’re looking into trying out some new coffees, his website is definitely a place to start your research.
Custards are a great holiday season dessert, and here’s a delicious recipe for Espresso Flan that will put a little pep in your step. Enjoy!
- 6 large eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 11/3 cups white sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 11/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped of seeds
- 1 heaping teaspoon espresso coffee grounds
- 11/2 cups white sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- Whisk eggs and yolks together, add sugar, salt and cream. Mix well. Add vanilla seed and pulp and continue
whisking. Allow to rest 15 minutes so vanilla can infuse custard.
- In the meantime, heat a heavy-bottomed saucepan; add sugar and then water. Heat on high stirring constantly until sugar melts and caramel color develops. Be careful not to burn. Remove from heat and spoon 2 teaspoons each into 5, 6-inch diameter ramekins and allow to firm.
- Heat oven to 350 degrees.
- After custard has rested strain through a fine sieve to remove strands of egg white. Stir in espresso. Lightly brush sides of ramekins and the caramel with melted butter or coat with cooking spray.
- Fill ramekins about two-thirds full with custard and place in baking pan about the same height as the ramekins. Add tap water to the baking pan to the same level of the custard. Bake about 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from pan and cool to desired serving temperature.
- To serve: Run a knife around edge, place serving plate over ramekin and flip over. Scrape out any residual caramel and drizzle over flan.
This recipe for Espresso Marinated Flank Steak with Plantain Chutney, developed by Juan Montalvo, looks scrumptious and we can’t wait to try it!
2 pounds flank steak
1 cup espresso
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp. black peppercorn, crushed
Whisk espresso, vinegar, olive oil, honey, Worcestershire sauce, garlic
and peppercorn in bowl. Place flank steak in a resealable plastic bag
and pour marinade into bag. Remove all the air from bag and
refrigerate for minimum 1 hour.
Remove steak from marinade. Place steak on medium high heat grill
and cook for 4-5 minutes per side. Transfer steak to cutting board and
let rest for 5-10 minutes before cutting. Slice thinly across the grain.
3 ripe plantains (they should be yellow with black spots on the outside)
1 medium onion, diced
1 Jalapeno, seeded and minced
2 tbsp. honey
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 tbsp. olive oil
Spray baking dish with cooking spray. Peel plantain and place on
baking dish. Bake in a preheated 375F oven until well browned. Once
cooked, place plantain aside to cool. Cut plantain lengthwise and dice.
Pour olive oil into a medium heat sauce pan. Add onions and cook
until translucent. Add plantain, jalapeno, chicken stock, and honey,
salt and pepper to taste, cook for 5-10 minutes to warm all ingredients
together. Pour over the top of the sliced flank steak.
Makes 6 Servings