Now That's a Mouthful

Episode 68: Coffee. More than a great buzz.

Episode 68: Coffee. More than just a great buzz.

While coffee may not be the drink of choice for everyone, coffee has certainly earned its place in every kitchen. Whether you drink it black or mix it into cocktails, wrap it into your baked goods or use it in your barbecue rubs coffee can be so much more than just a great cup of joe that gets us through the day.


Coffee. Fresh-ground it's the scent of heaven.

Admit it.  There’s always some coffee left over – whether it’s in the bottom of the pot or an unfinished cup. And that got me thinking about all the terrific recipes that use coffee. We've forever known that adding in espresso granules with chocolate in baked goods really brings forward that chocolate flavor. But we can do so much more with that coffee.

Start with breakfast. Our recipe for the MAGICAL YOGURT BOWL turns the classic espresso-and-gelato dessert affogato, into a breakfast with a little extra go-go-go. It’s as simple as, well, making a simple syrup with some leftover coffee. Once you boil it down though, you’ve got a tasty little gift from the caffeine gods. Just add it to a bowl of plain or vanilla yogurt, dress that up with some orange segments and zest. A perfect holiday treat, especially with winter citrus coming into season. And speaking of yogurt, listen to EPISODE 63 CULTURED FOODS and learn more about gut-friendly foods. 

Add some chocolate covered espresso beans or cacao nibs, if that’s your thing – or just chop up some chocolate-ly protein bars, granola – and toss it into your yogurt. Pour that coffee syrup just on the surface, and you just took breakfast to a whole new level.

For any leftover syrup: well, that’s like a double shot of espresso. When you’re looking for that afternoon pick me up, stir it into your coffee, or dip you favorite cookie into it. Now that’s jet fuel!

Same idea only use beer!  Our BEER BROWNIES use an infused simple syrup that’s made from a coffee stout- a beer! The key is to use concentrate the flavor and then balance the bitterness with some sugar.

It’s like EATING your COFFEE!
EAT your coffee – as well as drink it!

TIRAMISU is a classic. That amazing combination of sweet Marsala wine, coffee and rum, all soaked through a cakey layer, and then layered between a creamy custard… just YUM!

Use that custard that you layer in the TIRAMISU, infuse it with coffee and turn that into a COFFEE PUDDING!  And that is just one step short of turning the custard into COFFEE ICE CREAM.  Don’t have an ice cream maker – we’ve got a great little NO CHURN COFFEE ICE CREAM RECIPE for you to try. And for that matter we’ve got a great VEGAN CHOCOLATE SORBET recipe that uses coffee to elevate the flavor of the chocolate.

Remember  that coffee – even espresso when brewed is generally too watery – or too watered down to use in your cooking. The key is to concentrate that flavor so it doesn’t leave your foods an insipid grey color and you don’t lose that intense rich aromatic coffee goodness in your food.

Cocktails – and we’re not talking espresso martinis. Try our GRAND PRIX COCKTAIL. Somehow mixing coffee, Campari, and grapefruit gives you a raspberry-filled chocolate truffle flavor. The drink is rosy-colored and absolutely perfect for holiday brunches. Make it by the pitcher and is equally fruity and bitter, tart and roasty – as in coffee.

There’s always coffee cake. There’s nothing more satisfying than a rich, dense cake literally melting in your mouth with that sip of coffee… or tea. And this is why that combination is so undeniably crave-worthy. Listen back to EPISODE 65 PUMPKIN SPICE. We talk about the warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, even vanilla beans – most of which are present in coffee cakes. So here’s the thing – those aromatics are grounded in the taste we call bitter; coffee – is also grounded in that bitter taste… ha ha …. Get it… grounded…, which is why the two are a match made in heaven. Try MAIDA HEATER’S BUDAPEST COFFEE CAKE that go rave reviews from our Home Cook’s community, or our CARDAMOM AND COFFEE CAKE. Or, if you just want plain chocolate-ly goodness why not a MISSISSIPPI MUD CAKE?

Chef Donna’s one thing to know from this blog-cast:  There's so much more to coffee than a great buzz. It’s a terrific ingredient. Its natural taste is grounded in bitter, which allows us to taste so much more flavor, especially when we turn it into an ingredient to add to things like breakfasts, desserts, and even cocktails. If you have an extra cup left over in the morning, or really anytime, just commit to the idea of putting that coffee aside and finding a recipe that creates the opportunity for you to change that leftover coffee into something more.

Just commit to the idea of trying this… and we’ll get you the rest of the way there with these great recipes to get you started.

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These RECIPES are referred to in this episode. You can find more information on our Cookbooks Page.