Over the weekend we made several of our favourite coffee-infused recipes, resulting into a serious coffee overdose and sleepless Sunday night. Tired as we were the next day, we were very happy with the results, including a moist, dense and buttery coffee marble pound cake, and twist to a Mexican classic - coffee chicken mole, as well as the classic Italian dessert Tiramisu.
Despite the aroma that even kids would be drawn to ( attributable to the caffeine perhaps?) coffee is naturally bitter on its own - I have known no one who would scream ' sooo good...' on his / her first taste of coffee. But this acquired taste, once accustomed to, become one of those daily routine that a lot of us cannot 'give up'.
Coffee chicken mole
Mole poblano is a typical dish in central / southern Mexico such as Puebla and Oaxaca. When we were living in Mexico, we ate chicken mole at least once a week and more often when we were spending time in the mountains! In addition to the instant warmth provided by the combination of chili and chocolate in the sauce, we like adding shots of coffee to give this dish lots of flavour, depth and complexity without being over-powering. Don't worry if the sauce doesn't darken immediately after the coffee and chocolate are added, the transformation will come towards the last 20 minutes or so of cooking! Recipe below is simplified (typical number of ingredients averaging above 20!) but flavour is by no mean compromised! Serve with plenty of rice.
Recipe below serves 2 (but easily scalable - simply multiple based on the number of people)
1 Chipotle chilli
1/4 - 1/2 tsp chilli flakes, to taste
1 tsp tomato paste
1 tsp vinegar
1 Tbsp sunflower oil
3 - 4 bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed
1 onion, chopped
1 large garlic clove, chopped
Salt, to taste
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp raspberry jam
1 Tbsp smooth peanut butter (or substitute with ground peanuts or almond)
200g chopped tomatoes (fresh or can)
2 shots espresso
15g good quality dark chocolate, broken into pieces
Salt, to taste
Plenty of steamed white rice
2 large dollops of sour cream
A small handful of fresh parsley, chopped
2 wedges of lime
1. Soak chipotle chilli in hot water for 15 - 20 minutes. When ready, reserve the soaking water and set aside. Remove the stem and seeds and finely chop the chipotle chilli. Set aside until required.
2. Mix 1/4 - 1/2 tsp chilli flakes, 1 tsp tomato paste and 1 tsp vinegar to make a chilli paste. Set aside until required.
3. Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a saucepan over high heat. Season chicken thighs with salt, to taste. When hot, brown chicken thoroughly. Remove the chicken and set aside.
4. In the same pan, reduce the heat to medium heat. Cook onion and garlic for about 5 minutes until softened. Add cumin and cinnamon and cook for 1 - 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add raspberry jam, peanut butter. Stir to mix well and cook for another 2 - 3 minutes before adding chopped tomatoes, chopped chipotle chilli, chilli paste (from step 2), 2 shots of espresso and 4 - 5 tbsp of the reserved chipotli chilli soaking water (or just water). Add salt, to taste and return the chicken. Cover and cook over low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. Add dark chocolate and cook covered for a further 20 - 25 minutes and stir occasionally. If it dries out too much, add a splash of water and stir occasionally to avoid burning.
6. Divide the mole between two plates/ bowls of hot steamed rice. Top with sour cream, parsley and serve with wedges of lime.
Coffee marble pound cake
This is a classic recipe given a caffeinated kick! Even non-coffee drinkers will love the aroma and taste of this buttery coffee cake! Adjust the amount of espresso shots, to taste (no less than 2 shots as you won't taste much of it but no more than 4 shots as it will become overpowering).
3 espresso shots
2 Tbsp honey
225g butter, at room temperature
180g caster sugar
4 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
250g plain flour
1. Heat oven to 180C. Lightly grease a loaf tin.
2. Prepare espresso shots. Add 2 tbsp honey to the coffee and mix well. Set aside to let cool until required.
3. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition and before next addition.
4. Tip half of the mixture into another mixing bowl. In one of the mixing bowl, add cooled (to room temperature) espresso shots and half of the required salt. Mix well before adding flour. Mix well but do not over beat. Set aside.
5. In the other half of the batter, add vanilla extract and the remaining salt. Mix well before adding flour. Mix well but do not over beat.
6. Add large spoonful of vanilla and coffee batter into the greased baking tin alternatively. To create marble effect, run and twist a blunt round tip table knife through the batter with a 'swirling motion'.
7. Bake in the hot oven for about 50 minutes or until thoroughly cooked through without over-drying the cake. Skewer inserted into the centre of the cake should come out clean. Transfer to cooling rack to cool.
8. Serve with (more) coffee and/or tea and whipped cream if desire.
We love this Italian classic for birthday celebrations! Many find it difficult to make, but it's actually rather easy, the trick is to be patient - (1) the mascarpone should be whip to the right thickness / consistency, and (2) be quick with the coffee dipping of the spongy biscuits. We have opt for the coffee liqueur Kahlua, over the more typically used marsala wine and grand marnier for an extra intense coffee flavor in the sponge biscuits. We also have avoided double cream, which in our view is too heavy for this ‘pick me up’ dessert!
3 eggs, separated
100g caster sugar
100ml strong black coffee, cooled
2 Tbsp Kahlua
300g lady finger biscuits (Savoiardi / Boudoir)
30g Chocolate shavings
1. Whisk together three egg yolks and sugar, until the mixture is pale and has doubled in size. In a separate bowl, whisk 2 egg whites until stiff and set aside.
2. Add mascarpone gradually into the egg yolk/sugar mixture, whisking at the same time to avoid lumps. Fold egg whites into the mascarpone mixture, avoid stirring, to retain the air beaten into the egg whites. Fold until just combined.
3. Set the table up in the following order:
A shallow dish with coffee and kahlua mixed together
4. Dip savoiardi biscuits into the liquid one by one for approximately 10 seconds, to ensure the biscuits acquire both the taste and colour of coffee, and arrange them so that they cover the bottom of the serving dish. Avoid over-soaking as the biscuits will fall apart.
5. Spread half of the mascarpone mixture on top, and sprinkle a layer of cocoa powder.
6. Repeat step 4 and 5.
7. Cover the dish and refrigerate overnight. Sprinkle with chocolate shavings before serving.