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Awaken the Possibilities of Cooking with Coffee

Jane Louise's Sugar-Free Cappuccino

Coffee isn’t just for breakfast anymore! It seems like all the cooks are doing it these days, making the morning staple a big-time player in some unexpected dishes.

While once reserved as my morning eye-opener, I myself can often be spotted sipping away at a mug of steamy, fresh and “fancy” cappuccino as I plot my menus each afternoon. The credit goes to Jane Louise’s Sugar-Free Cappuccino recipe which has happily provided a face-lift to my daily cup o’ Joe. I now look forward to relaxing with this guilt-free treat any time of the day, and it’s just one of many flavor-packed concoctions that have been posted to the Club…all featuring a form of coffee as the secret ingredient!

There, the secret is out (thanks to my caffeine-fueled typing fingers). Clandestine coffee cookery be gone! Coffee is popping up in some unlikely places and producing some very surprising results.

One of my favorite coffee cameos shows up at the summer cookout. Adding instant coffee to your marinades boosts richness and adds a hint of nuttiness. Or try enhancing your favorite baked bean recipe like Danielle Lorton does with her Bourbon Baked Beans! Danielle, originally of Cowden, IL, uses molasses, strong brewed coffee, chili sauce, pineapple and other seemingly unrelated flavors to create a real barbecue showstopper.

“I know the ingredients may seem a little odd,” admits Danielle, “but these [beans] are sooo good.”

There are several pre-made canned beans on the market that boast homemade flavor, but as is often the case, I’ve yet to find anything that comes anywhere near the richness of Danielle’s coffee-infused homemade beans.

Other Recipe Club members have shared with me that the secret to their success cooking with coffee is to simply think of it as another spice. Whether using it in its brewed or ground form, treat it as you would any other spice: start with a small amount and then add more as you taste your way to the perfect balance of flavors for your palate.

Coffee tends to fit particularly well alongside other strong flavors… like ginger. Try Debi Newton’s Ginger Pancakes for a comforting breakfast with your morning coffee mixed right in the batter! The warmth of cinnamon, ginger and clove blend with the brewed coffee to make a rich batter that will warm your soul while filling your belly. Talk about getting your morning off to a good start!

“This is one fabulous pancake recipe.,” proclaims Debi of College Station, TX. “My family and I love to travel to [a restaurant in] Austin, TX to get these already made up when we can. But since we live far away, I was able to get the recipe from the restaurant .”

Ah, now that’s a serious coffee commitment… one that deserves a sweet reward. True to form, I’ve got the perfect mocha-tastic treat for the job! Sue Franco of Jellico, KY is the talk of her neighborhood – and mine! – with her Mocha Chocolate Cake recipe. With a supremely moist cake layer and to-die-for creamy frosting, this recipe may just become your new best friend.

Chocolate-lovers rejoice: you can now have your mocha and eat it too!