Category Archives: coffee

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cookie Squares

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cookie SquaresThe Autumnal Equinox may not technically be until tomorrow night, but it is now officially Fall in my kitchen and on this blog. Time for apples and warming spices and dark caramel and, of course, pumpkin!Pumpkin Spice Latte Cookie SquaresI’m starting off my Fall baking with these Pumpkin Spice Latte Cookie Squares. They’re made with the seasonal staple, pumpkin purée, along with my favorite pumpkin pie spice blend and a good hit of granulated espresso.Pumpkin Spice Latte Cookie SquaresThose ingredients, together with the usual suspects like all-purpose flour, butter, a touch of baking powder and a hint of vanilla, bake up into a thick, soft bar base.Pumpkin Spice Latte Cookie SquaresPumpkin Spice Latte Cookie SquaresThis portion of the process takes all of 35 minutes and smells so. freaking. good. that you might have a hard time letting them cool completely before tearing into them.Pumpkin Spice Latte Cookie SquaresPumpkin Spice Latte Cookie SquaresBut you should, because the next step is topping them with a thick layer of fluffy vanilla buttercream.Pumpkin Spice Latte Cookie SquaresPumpkin Spice Latte Cookie SquaresI think vanilla buttercream can enhance almost any dessert flavor combination, but it’s especially good here as a foil to the pumpkin spice and coffee flavors. I like to top these squares with sparkling sugar, too, for a little something extra.Pumpkin Spice Latte Cookie SquaresPumpkin Spice Latte Cookie SquaresThese bars slice like a dream—I love those clean edges! Pumpkin Spice Latte Cookie Squares are very visually appealing, making them perfect for any myriad of Fall occasions. Let’s start by celebrating that it’s Fall at all ❤ Pumpkin Spice Latte Cookie Squares

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cookie Squares
makes one 9-inch pan, about 16 bars

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 teaspoons espresso granules (I use Medaglia d’Oro)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg, room temperature
1/4 cup pure pumpkin purée (not pie filling)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Vanilla Buttercream:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 cups confectioner’s sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons heavy cream
sparkling sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9-inch square pan. Line with parchment, leaving overhand at the edges, and grease again. Set aside.

Make the cookie layer. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, pumpkin pie spice, espresso granules, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a medium-large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in granulated sugar and light brown sugar, followed by egg, pumpkin purée, and vanilla. Add dry ingredients in two installments, beating just until combined. Dough will be thick.

Spread dough into prepared pan with a silicone spatula. Bake 20-22 minutes, or until no longer wet-looking. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean. Let cookie layer cool completely in the pan on a rack. Do not remove bars from pan.

Make vanilla buttercream. In a medium mixing bowl, beat butter until light and fluffy, about two minutes. Beat in confectioner’s sugar in two installments, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Beat in salt, followed by vanilla and heavy cream.

Use an offset icing knife to frost bars. Sprinkle with sparkling sugar, if desired. Freeze pan for 10 minutes to make bars easier to slice cleanly.

Use overhang to carefully lift bars onto a cutting board. Gently peel back edges of the parchment. Use a large, sharp chef’s knife to slice into 16 bars, wiping the knife clean between cuts.

Serve squares. Store leftovers in an airtight container with wax paper between layers. They will keep at room temperature for up to two days or in the refrigerator for up to five.Pumpkin Spice Latte Cookie SquaresPumpkin Spice Latte Cookie Squares

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Coffee Glazed Chocolate Cake Doughnuts

Coffee Glazed Chocolate Cake DoughnutsThey say that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert in something. I don’t know how many hours I’ve spent baking over the last four years, but I can tell you that it’s a lot. I’m definitely not an expert yet, but at this point, I can look at cookie dough or cake batter and know if it’s going to bake properly or not. If I am out of an ingredient, I can almost always make substitutions with stuff I have on hand and get a good result. I’m not trying to brag–I’m just saying that experience has taught me a few things.

Want to know one field in which I am decidedly not an expert? Doughnut-making. Oh my goodness. Last year, I posted some Glazed Cream Cheese Cake Doughnuts. They were my first foray into fried dough (except for a time in college where I tried to make doughnuts from prepackaged red velvet cake mix–don’t do that). It took me two batches to get them right. I thought I had this doughnut business nailed.

Oh, how wrong I was.

Coffee Glazed Chocolate Cake DoughnutsWhile my oven was down a couple of weeks ago, I started thinking of recipes I could make without it. My stove still worked, so doughnuts seemed like a good option. I looked at my previous doughnuts, researched chocolate cake doughnuts on the internet, wrote a recipe, and got to work.

Coffee Glazed Chocolate Cake DoughnutsThe first batch, made with Dutch process cocoa powder, had a good chocolate flavor, but was very dry. For the second batch, I replaced some of the flour with cornstarch and added nutmeg for that “doughnut shop” flavor. Also, I had run out of Dutch process cocoa, so used natural unsweetened. The batch was less dry, but tasted mostly like nutmeg and not at all like chocolate. I knew I had to use Dutch process cocoa in all future attempts, but couldn’t figure out why it was all so dry, so I hung up my frying spider for a few days.

Wednesday afternoon, it hit me: I had been using butter as the fat in my doughnuts. Butter is 84% fat and 15% water. Water evaporates. Cocoa powder dries things out by nature. If I wanted an edible doughnut, I’d have to use oil in the dough, just like I use oil in my chocolate cake recipe. I came home from work, put together a soft dough with oil and buttermilk and refrigerated it overnight. Thursday morning, I rolled and cut the dough into doughnuts, heated some shortening (it leaves less of an aftertaste than canola oil), and got to frying. I finished them off with a dip in a coffee glaze.

Coffee Glazed Chocolate Cake DoughnutsCoffee Glazed Chocolate Cake DoughnutsI may not ever become an expert at making doughnuts, but with this recipe in my back pocket I’m okay with that. The doughnuts themselves have a moderate chocolate flavor that might not be anything special with a plain glaze, but paired with this coffee glaze, they’re really delicious. Chocolate and coffee are a dream team, bringing out the best in each other. Plus, nothing goes with a doughnut quite like coffee.

Making homemade doughnuts may seem like a daunting task (and to some degree, it is), but they’re a fun treat to make every once in a while. It’s like having a breakfast time party trick. Sure, you could make French toast or pancakes or scones this weekend, but maybe you should change it up and make Coffee Glazed Chocolate Cake Doughnuts instead. And then invite me over. I’ll bring the coffee.Coffee Glazed Chocolate Cake Doughnuts

Coffee Glazed Chocolate Cake Doughnuts
Glaze adapted from Handle the Heat
makes about 2 dozen small doughnuts and doughnut holes

Chocolate Cake Doughnuts:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
3/4 cup Dutch process cocoa powder (not natural unsweetened)
pinch of ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
3 tablespoons neutral-flavored oil
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs + 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
1/3 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1 quart (4 cups) vegetable shortening (or neutral-flavored oil), for frying

Coffee Glaze:
1 pound confectioner’s sugar
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2 teaspoons light corn syrup (or brown rice syrup)
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 fl oz strong hot coffee (I used decaf)

Whisk together flour, cornstarch, nutmeg, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.

In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk together oil and sugar until sandy. Add eggs and egg yolk one by one, whisking after each addition. Stir in vanilla and buttermilk. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold in the dry ingredients until a sticky dough forms. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill at least an hour (or overnight).

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set two cooling racks over wax paper.

On a heavily floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll dough to 1/2-inch thickness. Use a doughnut cutter or graduated cookie cutters to cut doughnuts. Re-roll as necessary. Lay cut doughnuts and doughnut holes on prepared baking sheet.

Place vegetable shortening in a large heavy pot. Heat shortening until it reaches 350F. Add cut doughnuts in batches of three or four. Let fry about 1.5-2 minutes per side. Remove cooked doughnuts to prepared racks. Continue frying until all doughnuts and doughnut holes have been cooked.

Make the glaze. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together confectioner’s sugar and salt. Add corn syrup, vanilla, and coffee, and continue whisking until smooth. Dip doughnuts and doughnut holes one at a time before placing back on the cooling racks. Let glaze set for twenty minutes before enjoying. Doughnuts are best eaten the day they are made.

Coffee Glazed Chocolate Cake Doughnuts

Mason Jar Cold Brew Coffee

 Every night, before I go to bed, I make coffee. No, not to enjoy right then–it’s for the next morning.

I don’t have any sort of fancy pot that has a timer, and woodland creatures don’t come all the way to Brooklyn to click any buttons. No, all I need is a mason jar, some cheesecloth, and a functional refrigerator to have my coffee ready to go the minute I wake up! 

Have you ever had cold brew coffee? I love it. The rich flavor and lack of acidity are absolutely divine on any summer day. A few years ago, I got really into making my own cold brew, but I hated pushing it through cheesecloth and a fine-mesh sieve to remove the grounds (and still finding some in my glass anyway). And all the methods I had seen at the time involved making enough for an army. I am one woman with eight pounds of butter and four dozen eggs in my fridge at all times–I don’t need two gallons of coffee in there too.

For the last several years, I have resorted to purchasing iced coffee twice a day (which adds up quickly) or making a warm pot of coffee and then letting it come to room temperature before pouring it over ice. The coffee itself was fine, but I longed for the deeper flavor of cold brew…sans annoying straining step and insane quantity. 

A few weeks ago, one of my favorite bloggers, Julie van Rosendaal, wrote a Facebook post about making cold brew in a mason jar…and all my wildest iced coffee dreams came true. I tried her method that night, and when I went to pour my coffee the next morning, I fell in love. 

The coffee is rich and smooth, absolutely perfect with a little cashew milk (my latest obsession). Her method makes just enough for one morning, so there isn’t any week-old coffee taking up space in the fridge, and the coffee is strained directly from jar-to-glass through a few layers of cheesecloth, so you won’t find any grounds in your glass.

The method is so easy that I’ve made cold brew everyday since! Here’s how I make Mason Jar Cold Brew Coffee:  

 I put freshly-ground coffee and water into a quart mason jar, screw on the lid, and shake it up to get everything distributed. I put it in the fridge, and then go straight to bed. 

The grounds steep in the water overnight, and I wake up to a ready-made jar of coffee. 

  All I have to do is exchange the lid for cheesecloth, and pour it into my favorite glass. I used a funnel here since the mouth of my glass is small enough that coffee might go everywhere but where I want it to! 

I add a splash of cashew milk, stir it up, and enjoy the start of the day.

So, take a little time tonight to make some coffee. You can thank me tomorrow. 

 Mason Jar Cold Brew Coffee
from Julie van Rosendaal
makes 3 cups

2/3 cup ground coffee
3 cups water

Special Equipment:
1 quart mason jar with lid and screw band
cheesecloth (I use one 8×5-inch piece folded in half)

For Serving:
milk of choice
cream
water

Pour ground coffee into the bottom of a quart mason jar. Fill with three cups of water. Put on the lid and screw band and shake to distribute coffee grounds. Refrigerate for 8-12 hours.

Remove lid and screw band. Coffee will have risen to the top of the jar and look muddy. Stir with a table knife or long spoon. Place four layers of cheesecloth over the top of the jar, making sure that there are no open gaps at the edges. Screw on screw band.

Fill a glass with ice cubes. Pour coffee through the cheesecloth into the glass until it is 2/3 full. Fill the glass the rest of the way with milk or cream, or water for black cold brew. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.

No-Churn Cookies & Coffee Ice Cream

 It was hot in Brooklyn this past weekend! Being from Texas, I’m conditioned to think that 90 degree days between May and September are borderline-comfortable, but with the humidity here, they’re absolutely brutal. And with that, I suppose that I’m officially a New Yorker now.

I’ve been keeping cool, thanks to my trusty air conditioning unit and a more-than-reasonable amount of homemade ice cream. As you might have noticed, I’ve gotten really into making ice cream lately. This is my third ice cream recipe since February, and not one of them requires a bulky machine or a frozen insert. No, this ice cream comes together with just a few ingredients, two bowls, an electric mixer, and a silicone spatula. With minimal effort (and eight hours of freezing), you’re rewarded with a seriously delicious way to cool down this summer. 

So far, I’ve posted recipes for Mint Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and Banana Pudding ice creams made with a vanilla base, but I went for something different today: a smooth coffee ice cream base filled with crushed Oreos. This No-Churn Cookies & Coffee Ice Cream is the perfect combination of two of my favorite flavors! It has a rich coffee flavor and tons of texture from the crushed cookies. 

So, how did I get all sorts of coffee goodness into the ice cream? Well, it was an adventure. I started with briefly simmering heavy cream with whole coffee beans, cooling it down, and trying to whip it–the keyword being “trying.” It resulted in a gluey, unusable mess. The second try wasn’t much better. I tried steeping barely warmed heavy cream with ground coffee before chilling and whipping, but the flavored cream didn’t whip up to much and made for a small amount of overwhelmingly bitter ice cream. 

As they say, the third time’s the charm. I repeated the process from the second attempt, but when it came time to whip, I added 1 1/2 cups of plain heavy cream to the steeped cream. This evened out the overwhelming flavor of the previous batch and, when combined with the crushed Oreos, resulted in eight cups of frozen cookie and coffee magic.

Oh, is this ice cream good. The base is smooth and creamy with just the right amount of coffee flavor, and the cookies soften slightly and give the ice cream a ton of texture. I don’t know about you, but I plan to keep this No-Churn Cookies & Coffee Ice Cream on-hand all summer long 😊 

 No-Churn Cookies & Coffee Ice Cream
makes about 8 cups

1 cup coarsely ground coffee beans (I used decaf)
3 1/2 cups heavy cream, divided
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
18 Oreos, crushed

Combine ground coffee and 2 cups of heavy cream in a small saucepan. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, just until bubbles start to form at the edges of the pan. Remove pan from heat, cover, and allow to steep for one hour.

Line a fine sieve with four layers of cheesecloth. Set sieve over a small mixing bowl. Pour cream-ground coffee through the line sieve. Dispose of ground coffee. Chill steeped cream until cold.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together sweetened condensed milk and vanilla. Set aside.

Combine steeped cream and 1 1/2 cups heavy cream in a separate large mixing bowl. Use an electric mixer to whip until stiff peaks form. Using a silicone spatula or wooden spoon, fold whipped cream into sweetened condensed milk mixture. Gently fold in crushed Oreos.

Transfer mixture to a 9×5″ loaf pan or other 8-cup vessel. Press plastic wrap onto the top of the ice cream mixture to keep ice crystals from forming. Cover with aluminum foil. Freeze for at least 8 hours before serving.

Ice cream will keep in the freezer for up to two weeks.