Coffee, Coffee, Coffee

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Use Spice instead of Sugar 0

Using spice in your coffee instead of sugar is a great way to cut down on sweets and lose a few more pounds. And best of all, using spice in your coffee instead of sugar lets you create exciting new flavors that would never have been possible otherwise.  Using spice in your coffee instead of sugar isn’t as hard to do as it sounds. While you may be addicted to that sugary substance, using spice in your coffee instead of sugar can make you forget all about your habit.

  • Alex Nikitin

Unusual Uses for Coffee 0

Unusual uses for coffee can be found all through your house, though most uses are for your leftover grounds rather than the actual coffee. With so many ways to use leftover coffee in drinks, cooking and baking, there usually isn't too much extra coffee sitting around the house.  But the grounds on the other hand, tend to get tossed out which means you are missing some great opportunities to use them because there are plenty of unusual uses for coffee grounds. 

Uses for Coffee Grounds

The most popular use for coffee grounds is out in the garden. They are great ingredients for your compost bin, and you can even toss in the paper filter too. If you don't have a bin, you can mix a little bit of old grounds right into the soil around your plants.  Ants and other insects will also stay away from the pungent coffee grounds, so you can spread them out in your yard or deck to keep the pests away.

Do you have any dark wood furniture, with a few unsightly scratches? Wet a tablespoon or so of used grounds, and rub the paste into any scratches. The coffee will stain the exposed wood, darkening it and making it a lot less noticeable. With a little flour and water, you can even used grounds to make kid-safe playdough that looks an awful lot like dirt. Specific recipes and instructions can be found on the Internet.  If you have lots of uses for your coffee grounds, but not enough grounds, you can always ask as your local coffee shop to see if they give away theirs. Many Starbucks outlets save their grounds, so all you need to do is ask.

  • Alex Nikitin

The Perfect Travel Mug 0

The perfect travel mug is an absolute necessity for anyone who brews coffee at home but has to take it with them when they go.  Any kind of mug or cup with a lid can work, but if you want your coffee to stay hot while in transit, you're better off getting a thermal mug of some kind.  Most of the good-quality thermal mugs are basically like a small thermos and have a vacuum space between the inside space and the outer surface of the mug. Sort of like a mug within a mug, with space in between. That space is a vacuum in good mugs but can be just air in cheaper ones. The purpose is to prevent the conduction of heat from your precious hot coffee and the outside world.

Another feature you want to look for in the perfect travel mug is a good snug lid. There is no sense holding the heat around the sides if you are going to let it all out through the top. The lid should be fairly heavy, and if there is an opening to drink through, that should have a lid or covering of its own. Not only will a tight-fitting lid keep in the heat, it will also keep in the coffee if it gets bumped around. Definitely important when driving.  Some travel mugs have handles and some do not. It's really a matter of preference whether that's important to you. If you are just carrying the coffee from one place to another, the handle is pretty irrelevant. If you do drink it while you're in transit, then you may want the handle. Generally, these mugs don't get very hot on the outside so you shouldn't need to worry about a handle to protect your hands.

  • Alex Nikitin

Making Coffee Ice Cream 0

Making coffee ice cream is actually pretty simple, though these recipes will require a ice cream maker which may or may not already be part of your kitchen inventory. 

Classic Coffee Ice Cream Recipe

This is a rich and simple ice cream that is coffee-flavored but also with a hint of sweet vanilla.

  • 3 cups light cream
  • 1 3/4 cups white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup cold coffee
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • First you need to heat the light cream with the sugar, until almost boiling. Keep stirring until all the sugar has dissolved in the cream. Set up a double boiler, and in the top portion combine the sweetened cream and the lightly beaten eggs. Stir thoroughly and cook over hot water until the mixture gets thick.
  • Take the whole thing off the heat, and chill thoroughly. Fold in coffee, whipping cream, and vanilla extract. Once combined, use this in your ice cream maker and follow the machines instructions.
  • Coffee Ice Cream using Whole Beans

    This recipe for making coffee ice cream is a bit more involved as it uses whole roasted beans, but the strong coffee flavor is worth it.

  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 3/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups whole roasted coffee beans
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp fine ground coffee
  • Combine milk, sugar, beans and 1/2 cup of cream in a saucepan and heat through until almost boiling, but don't let it reach a boil. Remove the pot from the heat,  cover and let it sit at room temperature to steep for an hour.
  • After that, put the rest of the cream in a medium sized mixing bowl that is sitting in ice (use a larger bowl for the ice). Set that aside for the moment.
  • Reheat the coffee bean mixture until is it hot again, and slowly whisk it into the egg yolks. Whisk constantly so the eggs don't cook. Once everything is combined, pour it all back into the saucepan.
  • Keep heating until the mixture starts to get thick (scrape off the bottom as you stir). After about 10 minutes of cooking, pour it all through a strainer into the chilled cream you set aside earlier. Stir the beans around in the strainer to make sure all the liquid has drained out. Discard the cooked beans, and add the vanilla and fine ground coffee to the cream.
  • Chill the custard until thoroughly cold, then turn it into coffee ice cream with your ice cream maker.
  • Most vanilla ice cream recipes can be adapted for making coffee ice cream, by adding a half to a full cup of coffee to the recipe. This does sometimes change the freezing time since it adds more liquid, so prepare to experiment a little bit. Using espresso instead of coffee can help remedy that problem.

    Otherwise, just stick to recipes that already call for coffee. Oh, and don't forget that these recipes will mean there is caffeine in the finished ice cream so you may want to use decaf if that's a problem.

    • Alex Nikitin