Category: coffee

Depression era hipster cake.

I’m all about old timey things. I always say I was born in the wrong era- I should’ve been born around 1900 so I could have been a “flapper.” I love everything about the 1920’s/1930’s and I am obsessed with vintage everything. I collect vintage Pyrex/Depression glass/jadeite and vintage cookbooks. And vintage canning jars.

I’m just an old soul.

Anyway, I saw this cake over at gbakes.com and I knew I had to make it. Women during the Great Depression (and during WWII) were the original hipster vegans. Just not by choice. They had Victory Gardens, used butter & eggs rarely. And meat? It was a treat. I myself haven’t made a “cake” in quite some time. So when it involved such little effort and no eggs/butter? Hey. I’m there.

Depression era hipster vegan cake.

The best thing about this, though, is that it’s relatively cheap. And you don’t have to go run out and make sure you have the ingredients. I mean, most people have all the ingredients on hand- whether you’re vegan or not. Vinegar? Everyone has it. Canola or vegetable oil? Same. And most folks have cocoa powder. Which, by the way, is definitely vegan, whether you choose to use Dutched or regular. I like Hershey’s Special Dark myself.

The finished product kind of looks like a composition book, doesn’t it? Haha. Also: darkest cake I’ve ever made. Yes, I used dark chocolate but still. This cake is so dark it’s black.

Depression era hipster vegan cake.

Continue reading

Hearty black pumpernickel bread for a freezing winter’s day.

It was so cold, that there was ice caked on the storm windows. It hadn’t snowed (although there was plenty of snow on the ground already), there was just ice. So cold that the heating system couldn’t keep up and the house temperature was about 10 degrees lower than what we set it on. In other words, IT SUCKS.

And here’s the deal: I know cold. I’ve gotten up and gone to school in knee socks and a skirt in cold weather (for 6 years). I’ve walked in cold weather (and in snow) with a portfolio and box of paints, from the train to school and back. I’ve dealt with it. I’ve waited in it. I’ve stood in it. I’ve shoveled snow in it. I know I live in NY and cold weather is part of the deal. But -8° is NOT normal NY weather. That’s some Minnesota/Wisconsin/ mid-western shit. So before anyone says, “OMG Northerner stop bitching, it gets cold up there” just remember that. This is abnormal. We haven’t had temps this low since 1994. Usually we have 30° temps, sometimes 20°, and occasionally- maybe a few days every winter- in the teens. But in the negatives? Uh, no. Understand? Good. Moving on…

Delicious pumpernickel bread.

Anyway Jay had to get up at 5:30 a.m. and be at work by 7, so I of course was awake early. No matter how quiet you are, you will always disturb your significant other when you wake up before them. So despite my efforts to go back to sleep in my warm, cozy bed piled with down comforters and Irish wool blankets with the blinds tightly shut, by 6:45 a.m. I was up, browsing Facebook on my phone, thinking about warming the place up. And by 7:30 I had opened the blinds to see… ice. Remember when I said that sometimes all I did was creep out of bed to bake (or eat) and then I crawled back in? Uh huh.

But I don’t give up easily and so I stayed in bed until almost 9, when I realized I was not falling back to sleep and it hadn’t gotten any warmer out. That’s when I decided to bake.

Baking is awesome in this weather because you can “preheat” your oven a long time in advance. Leave that shit on and have some coffee, watch TV, lazily make your way in to get the flour, the eggs, etc, etc. No rush. And because I have a gas oven, it gets so hot so quick it can warm pretty much the kitchen, dining room and living room (and some of the hallway) immediately. Which is a blessing now, in the summer it’s a different story.

Continue reading

Peanut butter affogato with dark chocolate covered espresso beans.

Even though it’s summer, it hasn’t been that warm, really. Not many days over 90° F, if any. Not that I’m complaining. Because it’s warm enough. And frankly, even being this cool it was too hot for ice cream, since every time I have it it starts to melt ASAP.

But it’s worth it. So I figured out the best way to have ice cream, and let it melt. As a matter of fact, it’s perfectly acceptable for it to melt: affogato.

Peanut butter affogato with dark chocolate covered espresso beans.

Continue reading

Homemade Irish cream, ’cause why not?

Homemade Irish cream liqueur!

There’s been a lot of baking going on around here lately. I think I’ve put more milage on my new oven in the last 2 months than Jay’s put on his 2 year old car. So I wanted to do something easy that didn’t require doing a load in the dishwasher. And I decided to try this homemade Irish cream. Yes, Irish cream. A staple of the after-dinner drink, collaborator in the infamous “Irish car bomb” shot, and all-around delicious beverage.

Irish cream is a cream liqueur based on Irish whiskeycream, and other ingredients such as coffee, which can be served on its own or used in mixed drinks or as part of a shot or a whole shot. Irish cream is very popular in the United KingdomCanada, and the United States.

It is usually served on the rocks as a moderately strong beverage on its own, but is often mixed stronger by adding more whiskey or sometimes bourbon, which complements the Irish Whiskey used in production. Coffee liqueur such as Kahlúa and many caramel liqueurs are also used. Baileys is a common addition to White Russians, due to its creamy flavour.

Some recipes for Irish cream liqueur have been published, which use various combinations of Irish whiskey, cream, coffee (sometimes, and usually optional), sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk. Many have significantly less alcohol by volume than the commercial brands.

– Wikipedia

At first, I was skeptical. Obviously, we all know that Bailey’s Irish cream (or Carolan’s, or Molly’s, etc, etc) is made with cream & whiskey. But I couldn’t really believe it was that simple to just make it at home. If it was true, why wouldn’t people do it more often?

I think the answer lies with the people who buy instant pudding mix & gray-colored supermarket pickles.

Don’t get me wrong: there’s always a bottle or two of Irish cream in my house. I will probably always buy it. But at least now I know I can make it myself! I’ll never, ever run out. Plus it just makes a great gift!

Continue reading

I didn’t know what to call these, so how about ‘peppery orange ginger muffins’?

After a while, coming up with names for things gets old. And tiresome. And when I’m doing 600 million other things (like for example: painting 5 rooms, 1 ceiling & a hallway, refinishing hardwoods, installing new light fixtures, getting new appliances, redoing my bathroom- there’s literally NO walls just studs & insulation, and of course on top of all that figuring out what’s going on for Thanksgiving) I can’t really focus well enough to come up with a name thats either a) clever or b) makes sense.

See, there’s been a lot of work going on at the house. There are a lot of people working very hard- myself included. I need to have snacks & goodies on hand to feed the troops… or else they might revolt. And the revolt might include not finishing my house! So I try to throw together things that are unique and not just your average snack repeated over & over. Being that it’s been so chilly & windy, I thought a warm, spicy, gingery muffin would work. Then I’d post the recipe if they came out good. Which they definitely did.

Peppery orange ginger muffins. Or spiced orange ginger muffins with black pepper. Whatever they are, they're amazing!

So I just gave up.

Peppery orange ginger muffins it is!

They’re like gingerbread cake, but with orange to sweeten it up a little more. There are so many flavors going on in these, you’d think they’d be “messy” tasting, but they’re not. They’re right on target.

Side note: they came out so delicate & perfectly rounded. Not big or obnoxious or overflowing out of the pans. I don’t know why that is, but they’re good. And I guess it really doesn’t matter. So I eat two instead of one. Big deal.

Ginger muffins with orange zest, candied ginger & black pepper.

Continue reading

Spice up your life!

In just a few short days, February will have arrived. The winter is far from over, of course, but with February comes the new onslaught of holidays: Valentines Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Passover, etc, etc, etc. Before you know it, websites & blogs will be proclaiming “SPRING!” while you look out your window & see 2 feet of snow or frost-covered cars.

Not me, however.

I am fully aware that there’s a lot of winter left to go, and that you need some warming up. As do I. So on this, my last post of January, I present you with the following: spice-infused milk.

It’s a goddamn revelation, I tell you. It’s the easiest thing in the world, and I’m sorry I never thought of it before. It’s genius. Leave it to Martha to come up with something so stupidly simple it makes you feel positively soft in the head for not thinking of it yourself. It’s basically the same concept behind flavored coffee creamers. Duuuuh.

Last week when I went to Mystic, CT, in a little shop called the Franklin General Store I found Dave’s Coffee Syrup. It’s basically an all-natural, preservative free version of Coffee Time syrup. The ingredients are simply cold brewed coffee & cane sugar; no high-fructose corn syrup or coffee flavor. It’s typically used to make “coffee milk”; a Rhode Island tradition, but there’s a tag on the label that encourages you to get creative with it. I bought the regular coffee syrup, Jay got the Madagascar vanilla coffee syrup. I decided that I wanted to use my infused milk with my new coffee syrup… and so I did. But first I tried it with a regular coffee.


SPICE-INFUSED MILK (via Martha Stewart Living, Dec. 2012)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • Spices of your choice; i.e. star anise, cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, freshly grated ginger, vanilla, cloves, etc (see below for recipe ideas)
  • 16-oz. jar for storage

Directions:

  1. Heat the milk in a medium saucepan with the spices you choose, stirring just once or twice. Heat JUST UNTIL STEAMING.
  2. Cover pan and let the spices steep in the milk for 1 hour.
  3. Strain and reheat if necessary, or refrigerate in a jar (up to 3 days). Reheat gently before serving.

There are tons of ideas & possibilities here, and not just for coffee! For example:

OATMEAL: Infuse 2 cups milk with 3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, 1 cinnamon stick or the pod & seeds of half a vanilla bean. Add to oatmeal.

SWEDISH COFFEE: Steep 18 lightly crushed cardamom pods in 2 cups whole milk, add to coffee. Alternately or in conjunction, you can use 1 cinnamon stick or freshly grated nutmeg.

MEXICAN HOT CHOCOLATE: For a spicy Mexican-inspired cocoa, infuse 2 cups whole milk with 1 or 2 dried chiles (smoky chipotles or anchos), 1 cinnamon stick and the pod & seeds of 1 vanilla bean. Mix with cocoa.

INDIAN: Use 10 cardamom pods, a teaspoon of fennel seeds, 1 star anise petal and 1 cinnamon stick. Use with coffee or cocoa. This is also good over muesli or with oatmeal.

GROWN UP MILK PUNCH: Mix milk with 2 tablespoons caramel, 3 teaspoons maple syrup, half a vanilla bean (scraped), 2 pinches ground cinnamon. Cook as directed, let cool. Once cooled, mix with 2 shots of brandy in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain before serving.

I made Swedish coffee milk, but I added half of a vanilla bean & a cinnamon stick to the cardamom. So maybe that wasn’t really a Swedish coffee, but I don’t care. It was delicious. I highly recommend it. Do whatever you want! Add whatever spices you like! Chiles, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, vanilla bean, Chinese 5-spice, etc. Go nuts.

And of course, what’s a Swedish coffee without a Swedish book?

DIY at it’s best: pumpkin spice latte’s at home.

;

My mom is one of those people for whom the arrival of the Pumpkin Spice Latte means autumn has officially started. Whether it’s the Starbucks version, Dunkin Donuts version, or in K-cup form… she’s a pumpkin coffee addict. So I was pretty psyched to see this on Pinterest. I pinned it just for her to see & make, but she recruited me to make it for her. Have I mentioned I’m a great daughter? Mind you, I don’t even particularly like pumpkin spice lattes myself. Yeah, I’ll maybe have one each season… but I’m by no means obsessed. I like my coffee straight, I’m not one for flavorings.

But if you too are one of those fanatical pumpkin latte people, I present to you something that quite possibly will save you a lot of money:

;

I think this is one of those “best hidden secrets on the web.” Because as many people there are who know about it, most of the people I know didn’t. But they should. ‘Cause it’s insanely easy to make and costs practically nothing. So thank you to Farmgirl Gourmet for her genius idea to create this! I never would’ve thought to put actual pumpkin in a latte- silly me. If you factor in the cost of all of this stuff, and divide it into how many lattes it’ll make, I guarantee you you’ll see a humongous savings, especially if you buy one every day.

Let’s break it down & see:

  1. 15 oz. can pureed pumpkin (Libby brand) – $1.79 – one can is enough for 7 1/2 batches – one batch costs roughly .25¢
  2. 1.12 oz. pumpkin pie spice (McCormick) – $5.99 – one container is enough for 13 1/2 batches – one batch costs roughly .44¢
  3. Quart of milk – $3.50 – one quart is enough for 2 batches – one batch costs $1.75
  4. 4 oz. pure vanilla extract (Rodelle) – $7.99 – one bottle is enough for 4 batches – one batch costs $1.99
  5. 4 lb. bag sugar (Domino) – $3.99 – one bag is enough for 74 batches – one batch costs .05¢

;

.25 + .44 + 1.75 + 1.99 + .05 = $4.48

;

Okay, so by that reasoning (and omitting the coffee price itself, because that’s too large of a range to even incorporate), each batch made at home (which makes anywhere from 2-4 lattes) costs $4.48. So each latte costs $2.24, or, if you’re more frugal with it and get 4 lattes out of each batch, $1.12. Now I’m bad at math, but if I did that correctly (and I hope I did, but I welcome any & all mathematical corrections) even factoring in the cost of coffee, you’re still way ahead of the game. WAY AHEAD. Even if you figure in the whipped cream you’re still good. And if you made your own pumpkin pie spice, it’d be even cheaper. Seriously! Look how much money that saves! And of course, all of that is assuming you use name brand products, and that you use each product just for the latte mix, which isn’t practical, because of course you’d be using at least the milk & sugar for other things, if not the vanilla too. Factor that in and you’re paying less because those are items you already have/use. So yup. Major savings, and major thanks to Farmgirl Gourmet for creating it …you can thank me for turning you on to it, too.

I mean… you’ll have all that pumpkin left over from the muffins, right? ‘Cause you bought those jumbo cans of it while it was on sale, right? Right. Although I’d never expect you to go shopping & not stop in to buy one at your favorite coffee shop. That’s just cruel.

PUMPKIN SPICE LATTE (directly from Farmgirl Gourmet)

Makes about 2 10-ounce lattes of pumpkin-y goodness

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 cups milk (any kind)
  • 4 tablespoons pumpkin puree (fresh or canned, doesn’t matter)
  • 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup) strong black coffee, hot
  • whipped cream for topping

Directions:

  1. Put the first 5 ingredients in a medium saucepan. Over medium-high heat, bring the mixture almost to a boil, stirring almost constantly to prevent scorching also while making sure all the powdery stuff and sugar is dissolved and not stuck to the bottom.
  2. Put the hot mixture in a blender, and mix until it’s frothy, 2 minutes. Pour into a mug, about halfway (depending on the size of the mug). Gently and slowly pour the coffee in down the side of the mug so you don’t ruin the “froth.”
  3. Top with whipped cream, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, and drink!

;

I poured it into jars for storage in the fridge. How long they’ll last I don’t know, because my mother is having hers every day (and she already went through the original 2 jars and is on the second batch). She just takes out the jar, gives it a little shake, then pours out the amount she wants to use into a saucepan. Then she heats it up (very quickly!) and uses it right away. I will also say this: if you aren’t normally into these, you might want to give the homemade version a try. It’s probably a lot healthier than the fancy coffee chain ones, and you can personalize it & play around with it to suit you.

For the uber pumpkin experience, I highly recommend enjoying one of your new DIY lattes with one of these bad boys. You’re welcome.

Credit: Etsy user ExLibrisJournals

;