Coffee for Dinner: How to Use Coffee as a Culinary Ingredient

Coffee is a staple in the pantries of many. Whether you cold brew, French press, or drip brew your coffee, your using the bean to make a beverage. But have you ever used coffee as an ingredient in your cooking? The sweet, chocolate-y and sometimes smoky aromas in coffee really are a perfect compliment to many foods. You may be thinking desserts only, but you can take savory dishes to the next level by adding the depth of fresh coffee. Here are some easy ways to incorporate coffee into an appetizer, main course and dessert.

Appetizer: Coffee Caramelized Onions

Caramelized onions can go well in so many appetizers. Pile them on top of bread or crackers, or add to a cheese plate for a sweet element. You can use these onions on top of salads or as a condiment as well.
  1. Cut 2 large onions into ¼ inch slices. Add to a pan with 2 Tbsp of oil and 2 Tbsp of butter.
  2. Cook on medium heat until onions are golden brown and caramelized- about 20-30 minutes. Don’t stir too often as they will not brown.
  3. Add 2 Tbsp brown sugar, ¼ cup of brewed coffee, and a splash of balsamic vinegar to the pan with the onions.
  4. Stir and cook for 10 more minutes and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Main Course: Coffee Marinated Pork Chops

Adding coffee to marinades and rubs adds a depth of flavor that is unmatched. This recipe comes from our customer service ninja, Tiffany. She says “I’ve used Sweet Love and Wonderbrew for this recipe. I think the darker the roast, the smokier the taste.”
  1. Mix ¾ cup brewed coffee with 1 cup of brown sugar in a sauce pan. Add 2 Tbsp each of Worcestershire sauce and Italian seasonings plus 1 Tbsp each of smoked paprika and garlic. Add 1 tsp salt.
  2. Whisk mixture and heat to boiling and turn down to simmer. Cook about 5 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  3. Place 6 boneless pork chops in bowl and cover with marinade.
  4. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour
  5. Cook on grill at 300 about 2 min on each side to sear. Then move to indirect heat and cook about 7/10 min longer until internal temp is 145. Can also be baked at 350 for 12-15 min.

Dessert: Coffee Granita

This dessert uses just a few ingredients to make a fun and refreshing dessert. Serve with toppings like whipped cream, sweetened condensed milk, or fresh fruit! Brew a pot of extra strong coffee (a few extra scoops of grounds are perfect). Combine 2 cups of strong hot coffee with ½ cup of sugar, stirring until sugar is dissolved completely. Add a few teaspoons of vanilla extract (or any extract of your choosing) and pour liquid into a metal cake pan. Transfer this to the freezer. Every 30 minutes remove pan and scrape with fork to break up any ice crystals that form. Do this for 2 hours until you have a slushy coffee mixture. Transfer coffee slush to a bowl and continue to break up with a fork and mix until slightly smooth. Put mix back into the freezer for another 20-30 minutes. Scoop coffee granita into bowls or coffee mugs and add your favorite toppings.

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