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Archive for September, 2011

Cocoa-Espresso Waffles

NOTE:  Using whole-grain flour really packs in the fiber, but you can make them with plain flour too.

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups whole grain flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup 1% milk
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons espresso powder
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/8 tablespoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons mini chocolate chips (optional)
  • maple syrup
Directions:
1.  Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl until combined. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the milk, sugar, espresso powder, and oil. Whisk the ingredients together until blended.
2.  Preheat a waffle iron for 4 minutes, or according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Meanwhile, beat the egg whites and salt with an electric mixer at high speed just until they form soft peaks. Fold the whites into the chocolate batter in 3 additions, folding in the chocolate chips with the last addition of whites. Fold just until the mixture is combined.
3.  Coat the heated waffle grids with cooking spray right before using. Add enough batter to almost cover the waffle grids (3/4 cup) and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Repeat with the remaining batter.
4.  Serve with warmed maple syrup.

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The family Coat of Arms outside the current deli

Dallmayr is a German coffee producer in business for decades.  The company history includes operating and showcasing an “electric coffee roaster” in its original store back in the 1930’s.  One of their most popular blends, Prodomo, is a quality blend of coffee varieties.

Dallmayr packages their coffees in a vacuum-packed foil package to keep the coffee fresh.  The Prodomo coffee itself is nicely brown and has a wonderful and robust aroma.  Made in a drip coffee maker, the brew is dark, with a slightly fruity aroma.  A taste without creamer or sugar has an initial bitterness that immediately becomes smooth and gentle.  With sugar and milk, it is the mildest coffee you may ever taste.  In fact, the coffee is specially processed in order to remove any bitterness yet still keep the flavor of a fine European coffee.

We carry Prodomo in ground, whole bean, pods and in latched tins quite suitable for gift-giving.  This mild coffee can be drunk anytime you want a mild and satisfying coffee.

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Carte Noire is a French-based coffee company producing several varieties of coffee blends.  The company uses Arabica beans to create coffees with flavor and aroma a notch (or two) above your standard coffee.  (I love their tagline:  A coffee named desire.)

For this review, I tried Carte Noire Ground Coffee.  I love the packaging – the black package highlighted with white and gold coloring really does appear luxurious.  When I opened the package, the coffee aroma was strong and a bit smoky, so much so that I expected to see a dark ground coffee.  Instead, it is a medium color, but definitely has an aroma that suggests it will be full of flavor.

The grind is medium, making it good for the French Press or a single-cup machine where you can use your own coffee.  I made the coffee in my drip coffeemaker.  Inhaling the fresh brew, again, it had the qualities of a dark roast:  rich and aromatic with an underlying sweetness.  The flavor took me by surprise, though, because of its toasty essence and its slightly bitter finish.  The balance of flavor with the full-bodied taste made it completely enjoyable!  It seemed that this combination made it a very smooth, drinkable coffee.  In fact, it seems perfect for after dinner or to complement a decadent dessert.

We carry Carte Noire in ground, whole bean and instant, along with coffee pods and decaffeinated versions.

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The gold stick

I should start this review with a disclaimer:  I do not drink instant coffee.  I have never found one that was even close to drinkable.  So why am I reviewing Douwe Egberts Pure Gold Instant?

Well, for one, I trust Douwe Egberts to make good coffee.  I believe that they would not make an instant coffee if it did not meet their exacting standards, so I already expect more from this coffee.  Secondly, Pure Gold Instant consistently gets good reviews online so I wanted to see for myself.  Lastly, I would love to find a convenient way to enjoy good coffee without having access to ground coffee.

I certainly love the individual sticks in which the coffee is available.  They alone are convenient, small enough to carry in my computer bag or purse and easy to open (even has an arrow pointing me in the direction and location to tear).  Plus, the individual sticks help keep the contents fresh for much longer than regular ground coffee.  I also like the coloring of the packaging; the gold does suggest this isn’t your grandmother’s instant.

Please allow me a short digression about the types of instant coffee.  There are 3:

  1. Freeze-dried (Exactly what it sounds like)
  2. Agglomerated (Sprayed, dried, then partially hydrogenated to produce larger granules)
  3. Spray-dried (Sprayed, dried quickly to produce a fine coffee particle)

I poured the stick’s contents into a mug, then added almost boiling water.  The coffee appeared as gold-colored chunky granules (agglomerated, as you may have guessed), which dissolved instantly in the hot water.  Pure Gold is a medium coffee, and while I did find the flavor to be mild, it unfortunately was not as full-bodied as I would like.  The aroma, though, was strong and robust with all the nuances of brewed Douwe Egberts coffee.  Thirty seconds and you are ready to go, start to finish.

I tried it without any cream or sugar initially, then added my standard amount of cream and sugar.  Just black, the brew had a strong flavor, with a slight bitterness, and a pleasant and real aroma.  The finish was was clean too.  Once I added the cream and sugar, though, I would not be able to tell the difference between brewed coffee and this instant.

In thinking about this review, I wondered why I would drink instant when I have wonderful ground coffees all around me.  Immediately, I thought of several places where I would drink this instant:  Traveling; hiking or camping; offices that use sub-standard coffee in the coffee maker and when visiting my mother-in-law, who does not own a coffee maker.  (She is British, so only tea on the menu there.)

Is this instant as delicious as fresh-brewed coffee?  No, of course not.  Would I drink this coffee?  Yes, I will!  In fact, I am putting a few sticks in my purse right now, a couple in my computer bag and adding it to my list of items I to pack when I travel.  I like the aroma, I love the convenience and, let’s face it, I like Douwe Egberts.

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If you love baked beans, you have to try this!

Ingredients:
1/4 cup strong coffee
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1-1/2 Tablespoons butter
1 Tablespoon molasses
2 teaspoons powdered dry mustard
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 ounce brandy
1 large can (about 14 ounces) red kidney beans, drained
1 large can (about 14 ounces) pinto beans, drained
1 sweet onion, sliced thin

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 F.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine coffee, cider vinegar, butter, molasses, dry mustard, garlic, salt, liquid smoke, pepper, thyme, and rosemary. Bring to a slow boil and gently simmer sauce for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in brandy.
  3. Mix drained beans in a glass casserole dish and top with sauce. Stir to combine. Top with sliced onions. Bake uncovered for 1 hour.

    Yield: 8 servings

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In the next few days, we will be publishing reviews of a few of our coffees. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, we just posted a recipe for Brandied Coffee Baked Beans (yum – brandy, coffee and beans – a bunch of favorites!). As always, let us know about your experience trying any of our posted recipes!

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