National Coffee Day is today, so enjoy a cup with some special desserts!

What is going on this time of year in September? Kids are back in school, routines are in place so now what’s on the agenda. Why not some coffee! I think I have always had a fascination with coffee. As a child my grandmother would mix me up a little coffee with my warm milk and a hint of sugar. I was in awe of my grandfather as he dipped his toast in his morning coffee and always happy to sit around the dinner table when my parent’s friends came over after dinner for coffee and sweets. 
Staying at home to have coffee is always a pleasure, enjoying a cup in the morning to start your day or warming up from an afternoon chill. If you’re like my father, you just can’t head to bed without your shot of espresso. 
Coffee affects us all differently and we all enjoy different varieties of coffee. If you’re not at home you can step out to some awesome coffee shops who roast their own beans, whip up their own creations or stick with classics that many of us enjoy.
As much as I enjoy coffee, I think the special treats that get served with it hold a special place in my heart. Dipping a biscotti into my mom’s coffee was something that I loved and my children also decided that her coffee would be a good one to dip into. Now not only does dipping biscotti into my cup bring back those memories it takes me away for a time out. 

A slice of cake as part of a celebration always seems to taste better with a cup of coffee along side. Or maybe it’s that memory of enjoying the family around me with that cake and coffee. No matter how you enjoy coffee or what you have with it, memories may happen.
I was recently sent some espresso coffee beans from Second Cup to enjoy and that is what sparked my coffee interest further. Growing up watching many an espresso being made and enjoyed, I realized it is the backbone to so many coffees that other enjoy too. 
This graphic from Second Cup is a great information piece for those who may not have ventured out to try some different coffees but is also a wonderful way to become a coffee aficionado at home. Not only will you be able to make some of these great coffees at home you can bake up some special treats as well to share with family and friends.
The good part is that if you aren’t feeling up to making and baking, there will be a coffee shop on the corner to make something special for you to enjoy and create a memory for you in a different setting.

Chocolate Oatmeal Almond Cake

This cake is a bit of a spin on coffee cake. With an almost fudge like taste, the almond and oatmeal create a unique texture that marries well with a decadent sip of coffee. Served up with some ice or whipped cream would make this over the top. A drizzle of caramel or chocolate sauce will also certainly do. 

1 bag (250 g) 60% cocoa chocolate chips
1/2 cup (125 mL) butter
1/2 cup (125 mL) quick cooking oatmeal
6 eggs, separated
1/3 cup (75 mL) packed brown sugar
2 tsp (10 mL) vanilla extract
2/3 cup (150 mL) ground almonds
1/4 cup (50 mL) granulated sugar

Spray 9 inch (23 cm) bundt pan and sprinkle bottom with 1 tbsp (15 mL) of the oatmeal; set aside. 

In a saucepan,melt chocolate and butter over low heat. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Whisk in egg yolks, brown sugar and vanilla. Stir in remaining oatmeal and almonds.

In another bowl or mixer, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar and beat until firm peaks form. Fold one third of the egg whites into chocolate mixture to lighten. Fold in remaining egg whites until combined and smooth. Pour into prepared pan and smooth top. 

Bake in 350 F (180 C) oven for about 30 minutes or until cake tester inserted comes out clean. Let cool on cooling rack for about 15 minutes. Run knife around edge if necessary and turn out of pan onto a cake plate.

Makes 12 servings.

Tip: With this amount of eggs, the cake will deflate slightly once it’s out of the oven. This helps create it’s fudge like interior. If the cake over bakes it will become a bit dry. Wrap the cake well overnight and this will help the texture become moist.

If using a larger bundt pan, check the cake for doneness earlier and if using a smaller pan you may need to increase the cooking time. Always use a cake tester or skewer to check for cake doneness.

To intensify the almond flavour add 1/2 tsp (2 mL) almond extract to the batter.

If you use gluten free products at home, this cake will easily become gluten free for those who are intolerant to enjoy with their coffee too.

Hazelnut and Aniseed Biscotti

Biscotti are traditional Italian cookies made with little fat-only eggs to give them richness. Aniseed adds a distinct sweet licorice flavour and may not be a favourite for some. You can decrease the amount of aniseed by half.

1 cup plus 3 tbsp (295 mL) all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp (2 mL) baking soda
1/2 tsp (2 mL) aniseed, crushed
1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped hazelnuts or almonds
2 eggs
1/3 cup (75 mL) granulated sugar
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla
1 egg white, beaten
2 tsp (10 mL) coarse sugar

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and aniseed; stir in hazelnuts. 

In another bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar and vanilla; stir into flour mixture until soft sticky dough forms. 

With floured hands, transfer to a lightly floured surface and divide dough in half. On a large baking sheet lined with parchment, shape each dough half into 8 x 2 inch (20 x 5 cm) rectangles. Brush with egg white and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake in 350°F (180°C) oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until light golden on top. Remove from oven; let cool for about 20 minutes. Transfer to cutting board and cut diagonally into 1/2 inch (1 cm) thick slices. Reduce oven temperature to 300°F (140°C). 

Stand slices upright on baking sheet and return to oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until golden and dry. Let cool on rack

Makes about 2 dozen.

Freezer Friendly: Place in airtight container and freeze for up to 2 months or store at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

Here is the great information from Second Cup on how to make some of your favourite coffees at home to enjoy. Be sure to start with delicious roasted coffee beans for full flavour!


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