Coffee and Desserts

Adding coffee to desserts enhances their flavors and offers an intriguing counterpoint to their sweetness. It also helps cleanse the palate between bites.

While there are many ways to pair sweets and coffee, a few basic guidelines can help you get started. One popular guideline is to match the richness of a dessert with a comparable level of intensity in the coffee.

Brown-Butter Pecan Pie With Rum and Espresso

Fragrant toasted pecans and bourbon make this pie a standout, with a hint of espresso to balance the sweetness. Tasters praised the crust (“crispy and buttery with a great snap”), the “perfectly set and not clumpy” filling, and the flavor of the nuts (but one person found it a little too nutty).

This version is different from traditional pecan pie in several ways: it’s parbaked in the oven for extra-crispiness; the pecans are lightly toasted in the same pan; and the custard is baked fairly briefly to barely set before being poured into the crust. This allows the pecans to rise to the top and gives the pie a beautiful finish.

To prepare the filling, melt the butter in a medium skillet over low heat, whisking until the foam subsides and brown specks form at the bottom of the pan. Transfer the butter to a large bowl, and whisk in sugar, corn syrup, vanilla, salt, bourbon, and espresso powder. In another bowl, whisk eggs and pour over the sugar mixture. Stir well to combine, then spread the pecans over the mixture.

Frozen Iced Coffee With Coffee Jelly

Coffee jelly (kohii zerii) is one of the most well-known Japanese desserts and can be found in convenience stores, supermarkets, and many upscale ‘Kisaten’ (Japanese-style tea rooms and coffee shops). Made by sweetening strong brewed coffee with a mixture of unflavored gelatin and sugar, it has become a summertime favorite in Japan as an alternative to iced coffee or even served with hot coffee.

The key to making a delicious coffee jelly is using a dark roasted high quality coffee with rich flavor and balance of aroma. Ideally, use a coffee with chocolate and nutty notes.

Once the gelatin has bloomed, heat the mixture over low heat and whisk until the sugar dissolves. Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the dissolved gelatin. Pour the mixture into a baking dish to cube later or into individual serving dishes and chill until set. When the jelly has set, cut it into 1/2-inch cubes and serve. Alternatively, use the cubes to make an iced coffee drink by blending it with a small can of chilled coffee and topped with whipped cream.

Tiramisu Bundt Cake

Tiramisu is a classic Italian dessert that combines ladyfingers, espresso and mascarpone. This bundt cake version combines the same flavors but without the alcohol.

This recipe is so easy to make and it’s sure to impress any guests at a brunch or coffee party. This cake is full of rich flavors, and a drizzle of chocolate ganache on top is the perfect finishing touch.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 12-cup bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray; then lightly flour the inside of the pan. In a large bowl, beat the cake mix, melted butter, instant coffee and baking powder on low speed until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla extract; then beat for another two minutes on medium speed.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto a rack to cool completely. Drizzle the ganache over the cooled cake and dust with cocoa powder before serving.

Pressure-Cooker Espresso and Toasted Almond Flan

Toasted almond flan is infused with espresso in this recipe from Modern Pressure Cooking: More Than 100 Incredible Recipes and Time-Saving Techniques to Master Your Pressure Cooker by Bren Herrera. The dessert is baked in a water bath to ensure that it turns out creamy and smooth, with the espresso adding subtle coffee notes in the custard and the caramel topping.

This simple, easy-to-make dessert is a perfect dessert for a special occasion. The flan tastes like a milky and sweet cheesecake, topped with toasted sugar caramel sauce. The flavors are enhanced with espresso, giving the flan a rich flavor that will keep you energized throughout the day.

Melt the butter in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat, then add the slivered almonds and salt and toast until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool. Stir the eggs, sweetened condensed milk, whole milk, 3/4 cup of the brewed espresso and the extracts. Pour into a 6- to 7-inch round ceramic or glass baking dish. Add the sugar and remaining tablespoon of brewed espresso and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Place the dish in a pressure cooker and cook at high pressure (10 to 12 PSI) for 16 minutes. Allow the pressure to naturally release, about 10 minutes, and then run a butter knife around the edge of the flan to loosen. Let cool and serve.

Espresso Chocolate Sablés

Coffee and chocolate are a match made in heaven. These sable cookies with pink peppercorns and sea salt are delicate in texture but with a deep chocolaty taste. And then, just when you think the roller coaster can’t get any better, the cookie bites you back with a hint of spice from the pink peppercorns and a little saltiness from the sea salt.

The dough for these cookies is based on a recipe for sables from the Queen of Cookies, Dorie Greenspan, with a few changes to give it more espresso flavor and a bit more structure. To do this, she adds a hard-boiled egg yolk to the butter mixture, which gives it a sandy texture.

She also mixes in some freshly ground coffee with the powdered sugar. This makes the cookies even richer and more intensely flavored, perfect for adults who prefer stronger tastes. The sables can be rolled into slices and baked right away or frozen, well wrapped, for up to two months. If you like, you can make the dough into ringed cookies and bake them in muffin tins for an extra-special treat.

Molasses Sandwich Cookies With Coffee Cream

Molasses adds a depth of flavor to these rich, sandwich cookies that pair perfectly with a glass of milk or cup of coffee. They’re also great iced, and they make for a fun treat during the holidays when served with a little icing and a sprinkle of sparkling sugar on top.

To make these cookies, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt; set aside. In a large bowl, beat sugar and butter until combined. Beat in egg, then molasses. Gradually add flour mixture; beat on low speed until a dough forms. Drop rounded measuring teaspoonfuls of dough onto two ungreased (or parchment-lined) baking sheets about 1 1/2 inches apart.

Bake the cookies until they are firm and light brown. Let cool on a rack. To assemble the sandwiches, spoon or pipe a generous dollop of filling on the underside of half of the cookies. Cover with a top cookie and press gently to seal. Dust with sanding sugar, if desired, and refrigerate until ready to serve. These cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week, but they are best when eaten within a day or two of being made.

Coffee Doughnuts With Coffee Glaze

These irresistible baked doughnuts are topped with a coffee glaze that’s perfect for perking up your morning or easing that midday slump! You’ll love the way the bold coffee and cocoa flavors pair together for an unforgettable breakfast or dessert.

In a large bowl, beat granulated sugar and butter on medium speed until smooth. Add eggs, milk, and vanilla; beat until smooth again. Whisk in flour, baking powder, bicarbonate soda, and salt until combined. Then stir in instant coffee and hot water until dissolved. Finally, fold in the melted chocolate until well combined.

In a small bowl, combine confectioners sugar, milk, and espresso powder; stir until smooth. Dip warm doughnuts into the glaze, turning to coat completely; place on a wire rack to set. If desired, drizzle with a little salted caramel sauce. Best if eaten the same day, but they’ll keep well in an airtight container for up to 5 days at room temperature (the longer they stay, the more the glaze will soak into the donuts). Serve with a cup of joe for the perfect breakfast or brunch.

Coffee Parfait With Dark Chocolate

This is a deliciously creamy, chocolaty parfait with a subtle hint of coffee – perfect for breakfast on the go or for an afternoon pick-me-up. It’s a great dessert to make ahead for a special occasion too as it keeps well in the freezer.

To make the base, combine the biscuit crumbs and instant coffee, then add the milk. Mix well and spread evenly on the base of a 28cm round serving dish or divide among individual parfait glasses.

For the coffee praline, heat the sugar and water together in a small saucepan over low-medium heat until the sugar begins to melt. Stop stirring once the mixture is a light amber colour and pour on to a shallow baking tray (or line one with cling film, as it won’t need to cook long). Leave until cool and hard.

In a mixer bowl, whisk the cream and powdered sugar until very stable whipped cream is formed. Stir a little of the whipped cream into the melted chocolate then fold the rest in. Spoon the chocolate cream over the meringue bases, scatter over a few spoonfuls of the coffee praline and garnish with cocoa nibs. Cover and chill until set, then serve.