Can you cook with coffee?
Can you cook with coffee?

You certainly can – and you can create much, much more than a coffee cake. (Not that there’s anything wrong with coffee cake – coffee cake is good. Here’s a recipe for it: In fact, there are all sorts of cakes and cookies that are all the better for the inclusion of a strong cup of Joe. More on that later…

Coffee, sugar and molasses with a dash of chilli powder or paprika makes for a really good meat marinade. Bacon marinated in a bath of it – we mean ground beans, not liquid coffee – is all-the-richer for the coffee once cooked. You can also grind coffee beans with pepper corns, salt and a dried green herb of your choice and that’ll make a decent rub for a joint of beef.

Coffee really works well with beef – try a cup of it in your next chilli con carne – it’s flavour works very well in the long, slow cook. The same applies when you’re making a beef stew. Here’s a recipe for using coffee in soup: – we’ve not tried it, but do let us know if you do and you like it. You can also use a cup in a veggie chilli for added depth of flavour. 

As long as you have an imagination and know your way around a kitchen, you can get quite creative with coffee. Try substituting it for the liquid you’d normally use in your recipes. Bread, for example, can be made using coffee – perhaps try following a recipe first and then get more adventurous. This black bread one from Jamie Oliver is a corker:

One thing you’ve probably not thought of is this one:

Baked carrots on coffee


Do this:

  • Heat your skillet on the hob until it’s really hot
  • Throw in the coffee beans and turn off the heat
  • Swirl the beans round the pan for a couple of minutes until you see they’re getting a little oily
  • Toss the carrots in the oil, garlic, salt and pepper
  • Place the carrots in a single layer over the coffee beans and cover (with a lid or with foil)
  • Bake in a preheated very low oven (110 degrees or around ¼ gas mark) for around three hours – when your fork goes through them, they’re ready to eat. The carrots, that is – throw the beans away!

And then there are cakes and biscuits galore! Probably the most famous coffee cake is tiramisu which means a ‘pick-me-up’, probably due to the coffee. What’s nice is that you can change the flavour of the tiramisu, depending on the coffee you use. We like the toffee-apple-caramel flavour of ‘I ain’t afraid of no roast’ but experiment away and find your favourite. There’s something quite nice about having your own tiramisu, about it becoming something of a family legend. Choose your coffee wisely and you may well have it. 

Last but not least – just enjoy a cup of delicious coffee when you’re in the kitchen – whether you’re cooking or not. Cheers!

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