Like Coffee For Chocolate…

Many contemporary chocolate dessert recipes recommend adding a bit of coffee to the recipe claiming it enhances the flavor of the cocoa or chocolate.  It is true.  But which kind to add was the dilemma I faced a couple months ago.  I had run out of the usual Italian espresso powder that I normally kept on hand, and not having time to run up to Claro’s Italian store (about a 30 minute drive from me), I shopped around my local markets and ended up with a freeze dried instant…not a great product.

In hindsight, what I should have done was brew a cup of espresso and add the actual coffee to my recipe.  The liquid would have blended in just fine.  And while my brownies came out beautifully and received raves from those consuming them; I was a little more critical and was put off a bit by the coffee flavor coming through.  The coffee flavor stood out too much for my taste…it’s supposed to “enhance” the chocolate, not overpower it.  So, I learned something. It DOES matter which coffee product I use in my chocolate recipes. It matters to me.

Since then, I have purchased King Arthur’s Espresso Powder and used it to make my decadent, dense, dark chocolate brownies for my writing buddy, Hilary’s, big birthday luncheon…the brownies were incredible (if I say so myself).  But Hilary did say so.  She has tested and made my brownie recipe dozens of times and she told me these were seriously the best ever.  I used really good butter in the recipe and really good chocolate and really good espresso powder…so they came out …guess ….  REALLY Good! 🙂

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King Arthur espresso powder

King Arthur espresso powder

Note this label making the point that a touch of espresso powder enhances chocolate’s flavor withOUT any coffee flavor of its own.  That was the problem with my substitute…it actually eeked out coffee flavor.

The aroma of King Arthur’s espresso powder was subtle and rich…the instant coffee granules was harsh and bitter – (three of us actually did a blind “smell” test and we were a bit stunned by the difference in the quality of the aroma)…it merely reinforced that ingredients do matter…but sometimes when in a pinch, you just do the best you can. I have now trashed the instant coffee….never to be used again in my brownie recipe..

My petite brownies were consumed with fervor and a few taken to go for the ride home.

Decadent Dark Chocolate Brownies

Decadent Dark Chocolate Brownies

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8 Comments

  1. Coffee and Chocolate, one of my favorite combinations! I don’t have your precision, Linda. But keep raising the bar. Diane

    • Thanks Diane…and yes…isn’t chocolate and coffee good together anytime….

  2. I’ll have to try the King Arthur’s brand the next time I run out of the one I bought at Claros. Where did you buy it?

    • Hi Jean. I either got the King Arthur at Surfas or Sur La Table. I love it but still am a fan of the Italian brands too. But as you know, King Arthur Flour brand is awesome. You can order online directly from them too.

      Sent from my iPhone

  3. Your brownies look incredible, I can almost smell and taste them from here! I’ve also had the experience of the quality of the ingredients used making a difference to the final product. You can tell sometimes when you eat out as well if the restaurant/tearoom has made their stuff on the cheap with inferior ingredients, or if they’ve gone for quality over economy. I know which I prefer, if given the choice!

    • Yes, I’d rather go out less often and have better experiences and more quality…I froze a couple of those brownies for me to have next week (I gave up nuts for lent and they have walnuts in them)…can’t wait 🙂

  4. I usually go ahead and brew some espresso but the King Arthur brand sounds great. Of course I would kill for a brownie just about now!!!!!

    • Funny that I didn’t think of just making an espresso that day…since we have that lovely little Nespresso sitting right on the counter. I had considered it some time back, yet wondered if the liquid espresso would add too much fluid to the recipe…guess it wouldn’t as it is only three tablespoons. In any case…I am in love with the King Arthur product! … Hang in there J. – only a few more days till you get to eat chocolate…. I gave up nuts…which was the nuttiest thing I’ve done in awhile since I am not eating any sugar or crackers either (what to crunch on?…celery is getting old)… I have three bags of nuts ready to open Sunday morning 🙂