Cooking With Coffee: 10 Unique Recipes

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Next time you purchase coffee beans, think outside the pot — there are many tasty recipes you can make. Cooking with coffee takes many forms, from using strong brew to integrating the beans into the dishes or cooking methods. Even people who don't like drinking coffee can still enjoy cooking with it. The rich, varied tastes you can get from beans of different origins make coffee a flavorful addition to your kitchen cupboard. Try these recipe ideas to get started on cooking with coffee.

Can You Cook With Coffee?

Yes, you can make recipes for every meal of the day with coffee. And, not all coffee recipes are sweet drinks. Coffee beans have a naturally bold, bitter flavor that enhances the richness of red meats and pork. When cooking with coffee, most recipes call for strongly brewed coffee. Use twice as much grounds to brew the double-strength coffee for recipes, and unless the instructions specify hot coffee, allow the brew to cool to room temperature before using it in your dishes.

Because both plain and flavored coffees are available, which do you choose for recipes? The answer is up to you, but you should stick with unflavored coffees for savory dishes. Dessert recipes with coffee have more flexibility in the variety you use. Flavored grounds that enhance the existing seasonings in the dish are ideal. Of course, if using flavored coffees, choose a matching taste profile to the dish you are preparing.

For example, select our Creamy Buttery Caramel when you're making desserts for added sweetness in the recipe. If you want to use a coffee for making an entrée or savory side, opt for the taste you prefer. A bold French roast will give beef a deep, rich flavor. Or, select a lighter medium roast for all-purpose uses. Here are 10 examples of meals, snacks and treats you can make using coffee grounds.

1. Coffee Butter

If you never thought you could make homemade butter, think again. Not only is butter simple to whip up with a food processor, making it from scratch gives you control over the ingredients. Make it with organic cream or use flavored coffee grounds to change the final product to fit your tastes and lifestyle.

Compound butter is a straightforward condiment to make, and this coffee butter recipe proves that. Because the flavor comes directly from the coffee and uses the butter as a carrier, adapting the coffee to your tastes is simple. Try different flavored coffees in the recipe with added sugar for sweet uses. You could use the sweetened coffee butter as a breakfast condiment. Try spreading it on toast, topping bagels, flavoring pancakes or stirring a spoonful into oatmeal. You'll get your morning coffee and breakfast in the same dish.

Unlike other compound butter recipes that start with unsalted butter, this one uses heavy cream to create homemade butter with finely ground coffee in it. If you don't have the time or equipment for making homemade butter, though, feel free to adapt the recipe by mixing finely ground coffee into unsalted butter and adding sugar and salt to taste. Starting with unsalted butter makes it easier to adjust the recipe to a sweet or savory flavor depending on your preferences.

The same butter recipe also adapts easily to savory dishes by using an unflavored coffee and omitting the butter. Use the coffee compound butter on sweet potatoes or carrots to make eating your vegetables easier. The boldness of the coffee also pairs well with beef. If you enjoy butter with your steak, try coffee butter for even more flavor.

The uses for coffee butter are as varied as those for plain butter. Make homemade butter and experiment with it to discover your family's favorite uses for it.

2. Coffee Jelly

Don't confuse coffee jelly with a jam-like condiment for spreading on bagels. Coffee jelly is a well-known dessert in Japan. This dessert gives you a treat with a jiggly texture and a bold coffee flavor — imagine the texture of Jell-O with the flavor of your favorite coffee.

While some recipes offer only instructions for the jelly, you can get creative with how you serve this dish. Whipped cream, though a common topping for the jelly, is not the only option you have. One recipe tops the coffee jelly with vanilla whipped cream and chocolate-coffee slush.

Regardless of the recipe you choose, making coffee jelly requires just a handful of steps, plus the time needed to chill it. Both methods use gelatin to set the dish and sugar to sweeten the treat — adjust the amount of sugar you use to your taste. For an even sweeter treat, pour sweetened condensed milk over the dessert instead of whipped cream.

Whether you want to up your coffee drink game or need inspiration for a unique dessert, try coffee jelly with your favorite coffee blend.

3. Coffee and Cola Jerky

When you need a pick-me-up for a long road trip or a campout, few snacks provide the portability and protein of jerky. Dried lean meat fits into a diverse number of diet plans, from low-carb to low-fat and many in between. But if you're tired of the same teriyaki and peppered jerky, try this sweet and spicy recipe that infuses the jerky with two caffeine sources, coffee and cola.

The sweetness comes from the cola, which cooks down with the coffee to a syrupy coating for the jerky. The spicy heat comes from sambal oelek, which is a thick chile paste from Indonesia. Other Asian flavors in this jerky come from fish sauce, soy sauce and star anise. Strongly brewed coffee increases the richness of the beef.

If you cannot find this paste in the international section of your supermarket, substitute hot sauce or crushed red peppers. Hot sauces have a thinner consistency. To avoid watering down the recipe and imparting a vinegary taste, cut the amount of sambal oelek in half and use that measure for the hot sauce. When using dried red peppers, substitute 1/4 teaspoon of peppers for each teaspoon of chile paste. Be sure to take a taste as you add the peppers — they have a hotter flavor than the chile paste.

Like other jerky recipes, this dish will last for up to six weeks when refrigerated. However, the flavors make this such an addictive treat that it likely won't be in your kitchen for long!

4. Coffee-Braised Roast Beef

The secret ingredient to bold, darkly colored gravies is strongly brewed coffee. This recipe for coffee-braised roast beef marinates the roast in coffee. After cooking, you use the drippings to make a rich, coffee-infused gravy for serving atop the roast and mashed potatoes.

Because many of the ingredients in this recipe are similar to those in most roast beef dishes, adding coffee will not dramatically change your family's favorite dinner too much. In fact, you may appreciate the extra flavor the coffee imparts. The amount of coffee only complements the characteristics of the beef rather than overtaking them.

To round out the meal, enjoy this roast with mashed potatoes and another vegetable. If you want to boost the amount of coffee in your dinner, serve carrots baked on coffee beans as another side dish for this roast.

5. Carrots Baked on Coffee Beans

Baking carrots slowly releases the natural sugars in these vegetables, making them more appealing to all palates. While many people know about slowly cooking carrots, few have done it over coffee beans.

Yes, you can use whole coffee beans as a cooking surface. Just as salmon cooked on a cedar plank develops a distinctive taste from the wood, carrots cooked atop coffee beans absorb a hint of coffee. Even avowed coffee haters will still like this simple dish of tender carrots.

This carrot dish requires long, slow cooking over low heat, making it an ideal accompaniment to other slow-cooked dishes, like coffee-braised roast beef. Tender, tasty carrots with just a hint of coffee flavor will reward you for your patience.

Because these carrots cook over such a low heat, you don't need to watch them while they bake. Like slow-cooker dishes, this baked carrot recipe is one you can put in the oven and forget about it until the timer goes off in two to three hours.

Sadly, you must discard the coffee beans after baking with them because they will have given off their oils to flavor the carrots. You will want to use a highly flavorful coffee for this recipe. The more flavorful the coffee, the more taste it will deliver to the carrots. The recipe suggests using decaf medium-roast beans, but your favorite unflavored coffee beans will work as long as they're whole beans.

6. Molasses and Currant Chutney

Think of chutney as a spiced, whole-fruit version of preserves. Instead of just tasting sweet like a jam or jelly, chutney mixes dried fruits with highly flavorful spices, both sweet and savory, to create a topping unlike any other.

This recipe for molasses and currant chutney uses the dark sweetness of the currants, raisins, molasses and brown sugar and foils them against the richness of strong coffee. In addition to the sweeteners, peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon, allspice and ginger enhance the spicy flavor.

Try this chutney as a topping for scones or banana bread. Think of this sweet and spicy chutney as an alternative to more mundane berry preserves. Unlike other types of preserves, you don't have to wait for the fruit to be in season. Raisins and currants are dried and always available. If you like spiced cider or spice cake, you will love this chutney.

7. Country Ham and Red Eye Gravy Danish

The comforting Southern dish of ham and red-eye gravy combines with the portability of breakfast danishes for an on-the-go meal for busy mornings or an unexpected treat for a weekend brunch. The classic flavors of salty ham and sharp cheese in this recipe make it right for everyone in the family.

Many people have a devotion to the rustic, eye-opening red-eye gravy because its bold flavors can cut through the saltiness of the ham. However, some people may find it too acidic or potent. This recipe solves the problem many people have with traditional red-eye gravy made only with coffee and ham drippings. To round out the taste and mellow the coffee flavor, add cream to the gravy, as instructed. You may also try a pinch of sugar to counter the coffee's bitterness.

Though this recipe might seem fancy, it uses a shortcut of refrigerated crescent dough to make the pastry portion. The other ingredients will likely already be in your kitchen. In fact, this recipe is great for using leftovers, as extra ham and leftover coffee contribute the most flavor to this recipe. Because you don't need a lot of either ingredient, using leftovers from your kitchen makes sense. Doing so reduces waste without your family resorting to eating the same dinner three nights in a row.

8. Pizzettes

If you like rich, fudgy brownies, drop what you're doing and make these pizzettes. They cook in under 10 minutes and have a rich, chocolatey glaze. Dark chocolate lovers will have found their perfect cookies in these pizzettes. Those who appreciate the dark bitterness of coffee will also enjoy this dessert.

These cookies are not only about richness. Two types of citrus zest brighten the taste of these treats to expand the flavor notes from only mocha. While one recipe calls for finely chopped almonds, another version of the same cookies allows for walnuts as a substitute. To enhance the nuttiness, you may want to use a nutty flavored coffee. Choose this option to slightly temper the strength of the coffee and dark chocolate combination.

Unlike cakey brownies or cookies, these treats have a moist, fudgy center. To retain that moisture, the dough must have a sticky consistency. When forming the cookies, this stickiness becomes an obstacle. Before cutting, chill the dough for several hours or until firm enough to cut. Use a very sharp knife or pizza cutter to successfully cut through the sticky dough. Wet the knife to help it glide smoothly when cutting. Alternatively, shape the dough into walnut-sized balls before baking.

If you prefer a less sweet treat, skip the glaze on top or add edible decorations to make these cookies even more special. For such an occasion, top the glazed cookies with sprinkles to match the event.

9. Slow-Smoked Turkey With Cane Syrup Coffee Glaze

Too often, people wait until Thanksgiving to roast a whole turkey, but this lean meat can be a part of any meal at any time. In fact, because this turkey cooks on a grill, you may want to make it during the summer when the weather allows for outdoor cooking. 

With the help of a grill and brine, the turkey finishes in three hours. If you find standard brines too bland and want to have a flavorful centerpiece for your next large gathering, make this coffee-glazed turkey. Feel free to use a charcoal or gas grill. However, for safety sake, always cook outside on the grill.

The coffee glaze contributes one note to the symphony of flavors in the turkey. Cooking the turkey over hickory chips gives it a smoky taste you cannot achieve from baking in the oven. Coffee also appears as a star in the brine the turkey soaks in before cooking. Brines are heavily flavored liquids used to deliver moisture and taste to the meat in them. This recipe uses a cider vinegar-based brine with salt, pepper, coffee, thyme, onions and sugar.

With so many flavors in the brine, expect this turkey to have a complex flavor profile. The thyme gives the bird a familiar herbal scent. Pepper contributes spice, coffee delivers bitterness and the sugar and cider vinegar make the finished turkey slightly sweet without becoming cloying.

10. Chocolate Doughnuts With Coffee Glaze

What pairs better with doughnuts than coffee? If you prepare a batch of chocolate doughnuts with a coffee glaze, you will get your two favorite breakfast treats in one snack. Though coffee creates the main flavor of the coating, it also is a part of the doughnut mixture. Whatever coffee you use will have a double impact on the taste of these desserts. Carefully choose the blend to use. While a plain coffee fulfills the recipe's requirements, if you have leftover hazelnut-flavored coffee, that will boost the topping of crushed nuts.

Like any doughnut, the ones from this recipe allow for quick customization by changing the type of nuts on top. The instructions allow you to increase the amount of coffee used for the glaze to adjust to achieve the right texture. For extra chocolate flavor, mix cocoa powder into the glaze for a mocha topping. Alternatively, use chocolate chips or sprinkles for covering the doughnuts.

Homemade doughnuts are a great idea for an activity the morning after a sleepover or for a casual party. After baking, let each person top their doughnut as desired with nuts, glaze, chocolate chips, sprinkles or prepared cake frosting. The options are endless for this favorite treat. The only problem you may encounter with this recipe is not letting yourself eat the doughnuts until the glaze has set for at least 30 minutes. They're worth the wait, though. Be sure to serve plenty of hot coffee with these doughnuts to best enjoy them.

Coffee Ideas Outside the Cup

Don't keep your coffee grounds in a cupboard to only use with a brewer. With so many recipe options available, it's time to let your coffee become a star ingredient in your kitchen. Think of coffee the way you do unsweetened chocolate — both contribute bitterness and richness to a dish. Their similar flavor profiles are why coffee and chocolate pair well with each other. Use this information to expand your recipe repertoire for cooking with coffee.

In chocolate-based dishes such as brownies or cake, replace some of the liquid with coffee or add cooled coffee to the liquid for the frosting. As with the red-eye gravy and roast beef, adding coffee to the meat marinade will make the dish richer and meatier.

Make several coffee-containing recipes and serve them at a bean-themed dinner party. Or, have a potluck with the provision that all dishes contain coffee in some form. You can get inspiration for more ways to use coffee in cooking from your friends and neighbors who bring food to the event.

The Best Recipes With Coffee Start With the Best Beans

Great recipes start with superb ingredients. This adage also applies when you cook with coffee. Get the successful, flavorful results from your food recipes that include coffee by starting with good grounds. Choose a coffee you enjoy drinking to ensure you get your preferred taste in your dishes.

At Barnie’s Coffee & Tea Co., we care about coffee as much about coffee as you do. That's why we bring a variety of flavorful selections to you through our online store, making it easier than ever to get the unique taste of our blends in your home. Whether you want to drink it or cook with it, our coffees will satisfy your cravings. Explore the many flavored coffee blends and single-origin beans we offer. Our selection changes regularly as seasonal varieties rotate. Tasting and cooking with a range of coffee flavors will expand your culinary horizons as you learn about new tastes for your morning brew.

photo source: Bon Appétit

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