Posts Tagged 'coffee'

Pipe Dream #188: To Appreciate Only – Cinnamon Nutella Biscotti




recognize the full worth of

be grateful for (something)

nutella biscotti 1

There are a few things in life that I have learned to appreciate. For example, I didn’t used to appreciate dressing up for church. Stuffing my feet into those itchy, lacy socks and brushing out my baby snarls? No thanks. Now, it’s fun to have an excuse to dress up on the weekend.

nutella biscotti 6

I didn’t appreciate biscotti before I was addicted to coffee. They are the perfect combo. This isn’t to say that I would take some dried-out crackle cookie over a chewy gooey wonder like this. Or this. Those are more in the adore and cherish category.  Most days, I just appreciate biscotti.

nutella biscotti 4

I recognize the full worth of infusing a chocolate hazelnut cinnamon creation with espresso and then enjoying the contrasting textural change from crackly to melty-in-your-mouth-y that accompany such an event.

nutella biscotti 3

I hope you recognize this too, and make these biscotti immeds. Let me know if you decide to change up the flavors. I think orange zest would be amazing with this too.

nutella biscotti 2



Cinnamon Nutella Biscotti

Adapted from

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
heaping 1/2 cup Nutella
1/3 cup chocolate chips
1 teaspoon cinnamon
optional: more chocolate and coconut flakes for decoration
Preheat oven to 350°F. Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl.
In the electric bowl of a stand mixer, beat the eggs on medium-high speed until frothy. Add the sugar and continue beating on high for 2 minutes. Stir in the Nutella on low speed, then add the flour mixture to egg mixture and stir until well combined. Stir in chocolate chips and hazelnuts, if using.Divide the dough into 2 logs with well floured hands and arrange on a parchment lined baking sheet. Press logs into rectangles approximately 1/2 inch thick. The dough will be pretty wet as you do this, so just plop it on and arrange as best you can.Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes and remove from oven, turning the heat down to 300°F.Using a serrated knife, cut logs into 1/2-inch slices. Arrange the slices on their sides on the baking sheet and return to the oven. Bake for 10-12 minutes, then turn the slices over and bake for an additional 10-12 minutes, checking for doneness at 7 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool. If desired, melt some chocolate and drizzle it over the cooled biscotti. Alternately, you can dip the ends of the cookies in melted chocolate and then dip in coconut flakes. Store in an airtight container.

Pipe Dream #181: To Be Contradictory – Butter Pecan Shortbread

“Contradiction is not a sign of falsity, nor the lack of contradiction a sign of truth.”
Blaise Pascal

butter pecan 3

Shortbread is really simple and really versatile. It’s a three-man show: butter, flour and sugar, which means that the opportunity for jazzing it up is essentially endless. To this cast, I added toasted pecans and vanilla, which my cookbook assured me turned an average shortbread into “Butter Pecan Shortbread.”

butter pecan 6

butter pecan 5

While these didn’t exactly have the depth of flavor that butter pecan ice cream might have, they were still really excellent. They were everything your afternoon tea cookie should be: crispy, buttery and dainty. I was pleased that the final product was sturdy enough to dunk, but tender enough to crumble. Does that make sense? Might be a contradiction. But actually, sometimes this life holds contradictions.

My most recent contradiction was making plans for the weekend, and then secretly knowing in my heart that  I was going to ditch everyone and go window-shopping all by myself. I say “window-shopping” because it’s kind of hard for the contradiction of “being an intern” and “buying new things” to exist. I bought a floor-length velour skirt for 99 cents. Best day ever.

butter pecan 2

butter pecan 1

Slice. Chill. Bake. Cool.

As with other roll out-type cookies, the key to keeping those pretty edges is to chill the dough before you bake it.

butter pecan 4

Enjoy your tea-ful contradictions today.

Au revoir,


Butter Pecan Shortbread

Adapted from The Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook

1 1/4 cups flour

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

2 tablespoons finely chopped pecans

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Combine the flour and sugar. Using two knives, cut in the butter to the flour/sugar until the mixture resembles fine crumbs and starts to cling. Sprinkle in the pecans and vanilla, and knead until smooth, forming a ball.

Roll out the dough 1/4 inch thick and cut into desired shapes. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and bake for 10-15 minutes. Watch carefully while baking. When finished, edges should be light golden and the centers of the cookies should be set. Cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

If desired, drizzle with melted chocolate or browned butter glaze.

Random Texture FAIL – Mocha Velvet Cream Pots

pot de creme 1

With a name like ‘Mocha Velvet Cream Pots,’ you’d think this would be the best dessert ever. To parse, via Google dictionary:

Mocha – A drink or flavoring made with or in imitation of fine-quality coffee, typically with chocolate added.

Velvet – A closely woven fabric of silk, cotton, or nylon that has a thick short pile on one side. Alternately, soft downy skin that covers a deer’s antler while it is growing.

Cream – The thick white or pale yellow fatty liquid that rises to the top on raw milk, used in cooking.

Pot – A container, typically rounded and of metal, used for storage or cooking. Alternately, cannabis.

However, this was not the best dessert ever.

pot de creme 2

I failed this pretty bad, mostly because I used the wrong amount of egg yolks that had previously been frozen, that I then tried to thaw on the quick in the microwave and cooked them halfway. Which in turn curdled the “velvet” part of the cream pots. I knew I knew I knew that thawing the eggs in the microwave would be a PLC (poor life choice for those of you who aren’t my close friends), but I did it anyway. It was a #bakingsaturday, and I was crazy.

pot de creme 3

They might have been more aptly named Mocha Kelt Cream Pots or Mocha Mocha Velvet Ratiné Pots. P.s. I’ve learned so much about fabric today. They had a lovely flavor, but this recipe is all about texture, and the texture of these was nubby and chunky. Far from velvety. I tried to deal with this by adding a chocolate-covered coffee bean. Heh.

pot de creme 4

I was going to bring these to a dinner party, but declared them unfit. Stay tuned for what I actually brought, which was far better. Try this with real egg yolks. Try not splashing the chocolate up the sides of the dishes (see notes below). It sounds like the best thing ever, and you could probably do it right.

Tuning it up,


Mocha Velvet Cream Pots

Adapted from Greatest-Ever Chocolate Cookbook by Christines McFadden & France

1 tablespoon (15 mL) instant coffee crystals

2 cups (16 fl. ounces, 475 mL) milk

6 tablespoons (3 ounces, 75 grams) white sugar

8 ounces (225 grams) semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

2 teaspoons (10 mL) vanilla extract

2 tablespoons (30 mL) coffee liqueur or creme de cacao (I chucked in the creme de cacao in lieu of the coffee liqueur)

7 egg yolks

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (160 degress C).  Place eight ramekins (120 mL, 4 ounces, 1/2 cup) in a roasting pan or glass baking dish.

Put the coffee granules into a saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in the milk and sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, until the coffee and sugar have dissolved. Remove from the heat and add the chopped chocolate (or chips), stirring until melted and smooth. Stir in the vanilla and liqueur if using.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks to blend lightly. Slowly whisk in the chocolate until well-mixed, the strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a large pitcher or measuring cup. Pour this equally into the ramekins. I recommend placing the pan with the ramekins into the oven without pulling out the rack that the pan sits on, and pouring the mixture in. This way, the mixture won’t splash up the sides of the ramekins like mine did. Pour boiling water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins.

Bake for 30-35 minutes until the custard is just set and a knife inserted into the custard comes out clean. Remove from the roasting pan and cool. Once cool, cover and chill. Decorate with a chocolate covered coffee bean before serving. You could also sprinkle on some powdered sugar cocoa powder or whipped cream.

Pipe Dream #138: To C Things Clearly – CC CAKE

I just want to throw out a little PSA for you all: you can now access the pictures on the photos tab of my blog. I didn’t even realize it wasn’t linked correctly, so sorry about that. Not that you particularly are trying to access my photos, but just in case, I thought I’d letcha know. Now, on to more important matters. Like this cake. Ahem.

I have been waiting so long to share this cake with you. Given the serious backlog of recipes that I have yet to post, this cake has taken a while to make its way to the fore, but aren’t you so glad it finally did? It’s like, the prettiest thing I have made in the last six months.

But that is not even the best part. The best part is that this cake is my own! Technically, I was inspired by Caribou and my mum’s love of their Cafe Canela coffee drink that was out this spring, but it was my idea to turn it into a cake. And actually, that idea is not super brilliant or different given that I turn lots of things into cakes…

But still. This cake felt special and original and not just something I found on someone else’s food blog that is sweeter than mine so I decided to copy them.

‘Canela’ means ‘cinnamon’ in both Portuguese and Spanish. (I googled this, as I was part of the 20 percent of kids who didn’t take Spanish in high school. Would you even learn the word for cinnamon in high school Spanish?) The drink I based this recipe on was a combination of espresso, orange and cinnamon, so I tried to incorporate all of those elements into the cake.

The cake layers were vanilla. You can find my previous post on this fab vanilla cake here. You could use a box mix, though. No judgement from me. I filled the layers with espresso French cream, which was really a combination of whipped cream and espresso pastry cream. It was lighter than straight espresso cream, I thought, and added a nice moistness to the cake.

Then I frosted that stack of goodness with an espresso orange cinnamon swiss meringue buttercream. You would think that made for a lot of espresso, but the overall intensity was just right. It didn’t taste like you were drinking a coffee, but it did taste like coffee, if that makes sense. Ok.

In keeping with the theme, I candied some orange and lemon peel that I had cut into petal shapes. This was an extremely tedious job, so if you have to make this in a hurry, don’t believe that things will just “work out.” Oh no, cutting and candying citrus takes commitment. So you C, you might want to just fill in your cake with little starbursts of frosting, as I did. Somehow the overall shape of the design didn’t work out like it did in my head, but whatever. Next time.

Back in May, my family celebrated with a picnic on the river. We had to hike through the woods to find a secluded-enough spot. It was glorious. And my mum loved the cake. Happy Mother’s Day in October!



For the vanilla cake layers:

I used this recipe. Feel free to use whatever vanilla cake floats your boat.

For the French cream:

From joyofbaking

1 1/4 cups (300 ml) milk (no less than 2%)

3 large egg yolks

1/4 cup (100 grams) sugar

2 tablespoons (20 grams) flour

2 tablespoons (20 grams) cornstarch

2 tablespoons instant espresso

In a medium-sized bowl, mix the sugar and egg yolks together. Sift the flour and cornstarch together and then add to the egg mixture, mixing until smooth.

Bring the milk and espresso powder just to boiling (foamy). Remove from heat and add slowly to egg mixture, whisking constantly. You don’t want the thing to start curdling. You can always pour the cream through a strainer, though.  Pour the egg mixture into a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until boiling, whisking constantly. When it boils, whisk mixture constantly for another 30 – 60 seconds until it becomes thick. Pour into a clean bowl and cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a crust from forming. Cool to room temperature (I stuck mine in the fridge. The cream can be refrigerated up to three days.) Stir before using to get rid of any lumps.

Joyofbaking recommends folding in a 1/2 cup (120 ml) of whipped cream to every 1 cup of cooled pastry cream, but I think I did more of a 1:1 ratio. You can pick.

For the buttercream:

1 cup sugar
4 large egg whites
26 tablespoons butter, softened (3 sticks plus 2 tablespoons)

2 tablespoons instant coffee dissolved in 2 tablespoons hot water, cooled

zest of 1 orange

1 teaspoon+ cinnamon

Whisk egg whites and sugar together in a metal bowl over a pot of simmering water. Whisk occasionally until you can’t feel the sugar granules when you rub the mixture between your fingers.

Transfer mixture into the mixer and whip until it turns white and about doubles in size. It should also be completely cool. Add the coffee, cinnamon and orange zest to taste. Finally, add the butter a stick at a time and whip until the frosting comes together.

For the candied citrus:

I used this recipe. There are bunches you could try though. Be aware, candying the citrus peels for decoration will take significant time. You can do it though. I believe in your abilities on this issue.

To assemble:

Pipe a ring of buttercream around the edges of two of the cake layers. Fill first layer with French cream, and then add the second layer. Fill and add the third layer. Frost the whole thing with the remaining buttercream. You can save a little bit off to the side if you want to pipe some on as decoration. I had extra quick frosting lying around, so I just colored that and went at it.

Pipe Dream #122: To Doubly Appreciate Suggestion – Orange, Pine Nut And Dark Chocolate Biscotti

I made these as present for my dad. He is one of the only people in my life that will give me creative opinions on what I should bake beyond “I don’t know…something really tasty?” Which is one of the reasons that a lot of the posts on this site are dedicated to him. And besides, he is the only person in the house capable of managing the caloric intake of baked goods on a regular basis.

By the way, thanks to all of you in the comments section who give me pointers and recipe ideas and salutations. You are all really sweet, and you pretty much make my day err day. You should probably start giving me a little more “constructive” criticism. Keeps me humble. :]

Anyway, my dad told me that he had really been craving biscotti. I don’t really like biscotti as a rule (heaven knows I love an underbaked cookie), so I wasn’t too keen, but I decided to give it a shot. These are slightly adapted from a “traditional” Italian biscotti recipe I found on We can’t really be sure that this is the exact recipe Nonni uses, but it does incorporate some really classic Italian flavors. The dark chocolate was just for karma’s sake.

Biscotti are twice-baked cookies, meaning, uh, you have to bake them twice. Once as a cookie-loaf and once after you’ve cut them into strips. There are some interesting rules about the cooling process once the loaves come out of the oven, but I forget the reasoning behind them so just follow the recipe closely. It was good to me, and it will probably be good to you. Let me know in the comments if it is not.

Gittin’ me a coffee QUICK,


Orange, Pine Nut and Dark Chocolate Biscotti

Adapted from allrecipes

1/3 cup butter

3/4 cup white sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

2 teaspoons orange zest

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1/2 toasted almond pieces (or pine nuts, like I used)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease and flour a large baking sheet.
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, vanilla, almond extract, and zest. Combine flour, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt. Stir into the creamed mixture until just blended. Mix in almonds.

Divide dough into two pieces. Form into long flat loaves about 1/2 inch tall and 12 inches long. Place the loaves 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until a light golden brown. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes.
With a serrated knife, cut diagonally into slices about 1/2 inch thick. Lay the slices flat on the baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, turning over once. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Place chocolate chips into a small, microwave-safe bowl. Melt chocolate in the microwave, stirring every 20 to 30 seconds until smooth. Use a spatula to spread chocolate onto one side of each cookie. Let stand at room temperature until set. Store biscotti at room temperature in an airtight container.

Pipe Dream #108: To Declare War – Coffee Buttercream Meringues

I have this thing about meringues. It’s like a war. I love making them, because they are delicious and light, and you can sandwich them together with frosting, so they are basically just an excuse to eat frosting. But I also hate making them because one time in two, they don’t turn out. There are many reasons for the egg whites not whipping up properly, which you can read about here. Quick summary though: If your beater/bowl is dirty, it won’t work; if there is any water in the bowl, it won’t work; if there are any bits of eggshell in the whites, it won’t work; and if your egg whites aren’t room temperature, it won’t work.

And I sit here giving you all my reasons why meringues are so finnicky, but the underlying reason (and there usually are underlying character flaws for all of my baking mistakes) is that I am careless and impatient. I think to myself, “Oh, leaving the eggs out for 20 minutes beforehand is enough to bring them to room temperature, surely. And besides, Facebook calls I’m supposed to be applying for jobs right now. I’ll just start whipping the meringues now.” So I do, and the end result is that my eggs whites sit in a gloppy white puddle, with a bunch of undissolved sugar  at the bottom of the mixing bowl.

So I am declaring war on my character flaws (insofar as they affect my baking skills) and I will attempt to do right by meringues. I was patient with these, even going so far as to pipe them into puffs. Then I quick-baked them so they turned out hollow filled them with a coffee-flavored buttercream.

This buttercream recipe is one from my new favorite cookbook The Great British Bake Off’s “How To Bake: The Perfect Victoria Sponge and Other Baking Secrets.” I’ve never seen the show, which is probably good because I’d probably be addicted like I was to Alias in ’06 (unhealthy). I love love love the cookbook though because the recipes in it are so classically British, and it reminds me of my time over there. Anyway, the buttercream is made with egg yolks rather than egg whites, which made for a very smooth consistency. I had trouble with one batch splitting–be very careful not to overbeat it–but I’m still counting this as a win because I didn’t have any problems with the meringues themselves.

This means war,

Lauren 1     Meringues 0


2 egg whites, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup regular or superfine sugar

Preheat oven to 300°F.

Beat egg whites until foamy. Add salt, cream of tartar and vanilla, and beat mixture again until it holds soft peaks. Add the sugar, gradually, beating the batter until it is stiff. Spoon batter onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake for 25 minutes. Undersides of cookies should be golden or lightly tanned.

Coffee Buttercream

Adapted from The Great British Bake Off’s “How To Bake”

Makes enough to decorate 12 cupcakes or to fill and top a 20cm sponge cake pan

85 grams caster (superfine) sugar

2 large egg yolks

150 grams unsalted butter, very soft but not runny

1 teaspoon vanilla OR 75 grams dark chocolate, melted and cooled OR 1-2 tablespoons cold, very strong black coffee

a sugar thermometer or cooking thermometer

Put the sugar and four tablespoons water into a small heavy-based pan and heat gently, without boiling, until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil and boil until the temperature reaches 110 degrees C/225 degrees F on a sugar thermometer. This will take about five minutes. Don’t let the syrup caramelize.

Meanwhile, put the egg yolks into a heatproof bowl and mix briefly. Stand the bowl on a damp cloth to keep it from slipping. Pour the hot sugar syrup into the bowl in a thin, steady stream, whisking constantly with an electric mixer. Keep whisking until the mixture becomes very thick and mousse-like, pale in color and completely cold.

Gradually whisk in the soft butter followed by the vanilla, chocolate or coffee (to taste). Spoon or pipe the buttercream onto the cakes. In warm weather, chill the decorated cakes just until the icing is firm.

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