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11 Clever Ways To Cook With Coffee

Dinner is... brewed? Everyone's favorite morning beverage enhances the flavor of many culinary dishes—from Red Eye Gravy to dry rubs. See the list!

Everyone’s favorite morning brew enhances the flavor of many culinary dishes — some that may just surprise you! Try these 11 ways to incorporate coffee into your cooking.

11 Ways To Cook With Coffee

1. Coffee Yogurt

A cup of coffee yogurt could very well be your new favorite breakfast item. Making your own specialty version is easy. Just stir one tablespoon of instant coffee granules into one cup of vanilla Greek yogurt. Sweeten to taste, and enjoy!

2. Fajitas

Do you like a little gravy with your beef fajitas? Try this: Pan fry beef strips and vegetables in olive oil. Season to taste. Add a splash of lime juice, and a splash of left-over brewed coffee. Thicken with cornstarch or arrowroot powder, and serve.

3. Red Eye Gravy

You can make a delicious Red Eye gravy just like Grandma’s.  Add a little olive oil to a cast-iron skillet, and fry ham steak or pork chops until browned on both sides. Transfer meat to a plate. Pour 1/4 cup of black coffee into the skillet. Scrape the skillet with a wooden spoon to deglaze the pan while cooking over medium heat. Add a teaspoon of flour or cornstarch to ½ cup of beef broth, water, or milk, and stir until thoroughly combined. Pour liquid into the skillet with the coffee, and stir constantly over medium heat, until the gravy slightly thickens. Season to taste, and serve hot over meat or mashed potatoes.

4. Fudge Pops

Two tablespoons of brewed coffee (at room temperature or chilled) heightens the fudgy goodness of these healthy, frozen treats. Get the recipe here.

5. Coffee Ice Cream

Transform ordinary vanilla ice cream into a frozen treat packed with more rich coffee flavor than store-bought. Fold 2 to 3 tablespoons of instant coffee granules into one-quart of vanilla ice. Stir until well blended.  For an ice cream pie, add to graham cracker pie crust, drizzle with chocolate syrup, and freeze.

6. Chocolate Cake and Chocolate Frosting

Kladdkaka. Traditional Swedish moist chocolate cake on old rustic wooden table decorated dry twigs, pine cones and birch bark. Fika. Hygge

To ramp up the flavor of a basic chocolate cake, beat 2 teaspoons of instant coffee granules into the cake batter. Enrich homemade chocolate frosting by mixing one teaspoon of instant coffee granules into the icing ingredients. You may want to slightly increase the amount of sweetener too.

7. Brownies

Transform a batch of ordinary brownies into a mocha delight. Mix ¼ c. instant coffee granules, and an extra ½ cup sugar into brownie batter and bake.

8. Dry Coffee Spice Rub

Use this spice rub to add a savory-sweet depth to your favorite red meats just before grilling, baking, or pan-frying: Combine two tablespoons flaky sea salt, one tablespoon fresh ground coffee, one tablespoon smoked paprika, and 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar or coconut palm sugar. Rub spice mixture on pork loin, chops, roasts, or burgers before cooking. Store extra mixture in an airtight container.

9. Brisket or Roast

Cooking a beef brisket or roast in the oven or crockpot? Add one cup of brewed coffee, desired seasonings, and cook on low for six hours. The coffee enriches the flavor and makes a delicious gravy.

10. Coffee Liqueur

With half-a-pot of your favorite coffee, you can create your own luscious version of Kahlua. Stir 2 ¼ cups of light brown sugar into 6 cups of freshly brewed, hot coffee until the sugar dissolves. Let the mixture cool. Then, stir in 2 cups of vodka, 2 tablespoons of spiced rum, and 4 tablespoons of vanilla extract. Great in desserts like cheesecake, tiramisu, or over a cup of coffee ice cream.

11. Fresh Brewed … Chili!

Deepen the flavor of your next pot of chili with one-cup of strong brewed coffee. And while you’re at it, toss in a bottle of beer too. Watch this video for the recipe.

Deborah Tukua is a natural living, healthy lifestyle writer and author of 7 non-fiction books, including Naturally Sweet Blender Treats. She has been a writer for the Farmers' Almanac since 2004. Her article on herbal baths appears in the 2021 Farmers' Almanac.

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