Coffee has long been considered the fuel that makes the world go round. Whether it's your morning staple or complement to the end of a meal, it's the drink that just makes so many areas of life better. But did you know that you can cook with coffee as well? For some coffee lovers the thought of cooking with coffee sounds like a match made in heaven. To others, it may not sound so appealing. Nonetheless, cooking with coffee is popular in desserts such as Tiramisu and is frequently added to chocolate recipes like brownies. But beyond the well-known ways that people cook with coffee, But these aren't the only ways to cook with coffee and many chefs are now being more creative with the use of the humble coffee bean.
Infuse the Oil
Cooking with coffee-flavored oil is one of the those prized culinary secrets used by professional chefs. Coffee-flavored oil permeates the entire meal with a subtle and yet undeniable hint of coffee. To create a subtly flavored sauce or dip, infuse coffee beans in gently heated vegetable oil and strain. The heat will allow some of the coffees' essential oils to infuse with the vegetable oil and you'll get the coffee flavoring without the bitterness. Use this to create a coffee mayonnaise which perfectly balances sweetcorn fritters. You can also infuse beans into butter to make a coffee flavored buttercream for cakes and desserts.
Rubs for meats
Coffee matches perfectly with red meats like beef or pork. It's not as popular to use on chicken but that's not say it can't be done. Make a rub using coffee grounds, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic and olive oil and marinate for several hours to get a real rich and smoky rub. This also works well with hamburgers to add extra flavor on the BBQ or you can mix coffee grounds with maple syrup and chili for a new twist on bacon. What's interesting about coffee-flavored rubs and sauces is that it's not so much the coffee flavor itself that dominates the taste. The magic happens when coffee interacts with the other existing flavors to produce something totally new and exciting.
Stocks and Gravies
Use up leftover French press coffee in stocks and gravies. This can add a depth of flavor you can't get with traditional stock. Freeze the coffee in ice cube trays and simply use as a stock cube. Last Thanksgiving I had the pleasure of trying coffee gravy and despite being a gravy and coffee lover, the thought didn't so that appetizing. However, I couldn't have been more wrong. The coffee flavor was the perfect accent to the deep rich gravy flavor. While I've only had coffee gravy once and it was prepared by an experienced cook, I can say that I'm a big fan.
Cooking with Coffee Roast Types
There are many other ways you can use coffee beans to enhance your cooking. The main rule is to use the beans' bitterness to balance and enhance the other ingredients in the dish. Think of it as adding coffee as an accent and not as the main flavor. To do this, you should match the main ingredient with the correct roast of bean. For example, light roast beans are best combined with sweet or chocolate flavored dishes as the bitterness won't overpower them. Dark roast beans are best combined with meats and stocks as the strong flavors can balance the bitterness.
- Illy Dark Roast – this is 100% Arabica which creates a more sophisticated flavor and works well for both French press and espresso based dishes.
- Koffee Kult Dark roast – this one is perfect for meat dishes as it is full bodied with a sweet finish to balance savory dishes.
As you can see from some of the ideas in this article, cooking with coffee opens the door to some very exciting culinary experiences. Hopefully this article has inspired the inner chef and coffee lover in you to try different recipes using coffee grounds. It's been said many times that “coffee makes everything better.” In the context of cooking with coffee, that couldn't be more true!