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Coffee Connoisseur's Secrets

Coffee is far more than simply the brew that wakes people up in the morning. Coffee shops dot the city streets around the world with specialty coffee drinks drawing lines of customers. We will share the nuances of coffee from how to select the roast that suits your palate, to secret recipes of your favorite specialty drinks. We even have some marvelous recipes using coffee as a flavoring or spice to add a very special touch. If you love coffee, you will love these secrets. affiliate

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The Coffee Connoisseur's Secrets

Friday, December 09, 2005

Espresso Chocolate Torte

Java Queen's Espresso Chocolate Torte
Yield: 8-10 Servings
Difficulty: ** (Intermediate)
Preparation: 50 minutes, plus baking and chilling times

Chocolate Cake:
8 bars (1.5 ounces each) Godiva® Dark Chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup very hot espresso
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
6 eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Raspberry Coulis:
1 bag (12 ounces) frozen unsweetened raspberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon raspberry-flavored liqueur

1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Fresh raspberries for garnish

Make Cake:
1. Position rack in lower third of oven and preheat to 350ºF. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9- by 2 1/2-inch round springform pan. Line bottom of pan with a round of parchment or waxed paper and butter paper.

2. In food processor fitted with metal blade, place chocolate and sugar. Cover and process for 15-20 seconds, until finely ground.

3. With motor running, pour espresso through feed tube. Process for 10-15 seconds, until chocolate is completely melted. Using a spatula, scrape down sides of work bowl. Add butter and process for about 5 seconds or until incorporated. Add eggs and vanilla and process for about 5 seconds or until mixture is smooth and creamy. Scrape chocolate batter into prepared pan and smooth top with a rubber spatula.

4. Bake for 55 minutes, until edges of the cake are puffy and center is just set. Cool cake in pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or until ready to serve.

Make Coulis:
In medium saucepan, place frozen raspberries and sugar. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until sugar is completely dissolved and berries are soft. Do not let mixture boil. Strain raspberry mixture through a fine-meshed sieve into a bowl. Add liqueur, cover and refrigerate.

Decorate Chocolate Cake:
1. Run a thin-bladed knife around edge of cake to loosen it from sides of springform pan. Remove side of springform pan. Invert cake onto a serving plate. Peel off paper and refrigerate while preparing whipped cream.

2. In a large chilled bowl, beat cream with sugar and vanilla just until stiff peaks begin to form. Spread thin even layer of whipped cream over top of the chocolate cake. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a star tip (such as Ateco #6) with remaining whipped cream. Completely cover top of cake with whipped cream rosettes.

3. To serve, drizzle some raspberry coulis onto each dessert plate. With a sharp, thin-bladed knife, slice cake, wiping blade clean between each cut. Place slices on plates, and garnish with raspberries.

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Monday, December 05, 2005

Cappuccino Caramels Royale

Each butter, chewy bite of these caramels is accented with the warm flavor of coffee


64 1" pieces (approx 3lb)
1 cup Butter
2 1/4 cups Packed brown sugar
1 can Eagle Brand® Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 cup Light corn syrup
1 tbsp Instant coffee crystals
1 cup Chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)

144 1" pieces (approx 6 lbs)
2 cups Butter
4 1/2 cups Packed brown sugar
2 cans Eagle Brand® Sweetened Condensed Milk
2 cups Light corn syrup
2 tbsp Instant coffee crystals
2 cups Chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)

Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, extending paper over edges of pan.
In heavy 3-quart saucepan, melt 1 cup butter. Stir in brown sugar, Eagle Brand, corn syrup and coffee crystals. Clip candy thermometer to side of pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thermometer registers 248 degrees F (120C)(firm-ball stage*). Mixture should boil at moderate, steady rate over entire surface. Reaching firm-ball stage should take 15 to 20 minutes.
Remove from heat. Remove thermometer. Immediately stir in nuts if desired. Quickly pour into prepared pan, spreading evenly with spoon. Cool.
Cut into 1" squares.

To test for firm-ball stage, spoon a few drops of the hot caramel mixture into a cup of very cold (but not icy) water. Using your fingers, form the drops into a ball. Remove the ball from the water. If it is firm enough to hold its shape but quickly flattens at room temperature, it has reached firm-ball stage. If the mixture hasn't reached the correct stage, contuinue cooking and retesting, using fresh water and a clean spoon each time

Serve these delicious treats with your favorite cup of coffee.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Starbucks Coffee Introduces Christmas Blend

By A Staff Reporter

MUSCAT — Keeping the spirit of tradition, Starbucks Coffee has introduced the Starbucks classic Christmas blend for this season.

Starbucks Coffee Company has also brought its much-sought-after Toffee Nut Latte back once again this year for a limited period and adding to the selection is Chocolate Praline Mocha, which is also set to be popular this winter.

In a statement released here, Maan Kouly, senior operations manager, Starbucks Middle East, said: “Winter is a time to get warm and cozy and all our Starbucks Coffee stores are set to emanate such an atmosphere with hot coffees and food selections that compliment our beverages.”

Speaking further, Maan said: “We had introduced a special coffee selection for Ramadan recently and are now doing the same for Christmas. Each year, we carefully select the coffees, which complement the season. We listen to our customers and due to eager anticipation; we are offering the classic Christmas blend, the delicious Toffee Nut Latte and the delectable Chocolate Praline Mocha.”

Starbucks Christmas Coffee Blend is an exclusive annual blend that has become a highly anticipated holiday tradition. Blending the liveliness of Latin American coffees with mellow, smooth Indonesian coffee, results in an elegant and heavy bodied, refined flavour.

These rare, aged Indonesian beans are added for more depth and a hint of exotic spice creating the flavour with a holiday sparkle that has since been known as the flavour of this once-a-year celebration: Christmas Blend.

While the flavour profile remains the same each year, the recipe is modified to account for variations within the coffee origins themselves.

Complementing the seasonal array of coffees and beverages is Chocolate Praline Mocha with a tantalising flavour. With Starbucks Coffee's smooth signature espresso, creamy steamed milk, chocolate lightly sweetened with hazelnut syrup, topped with whipped cream and chocolate drizzle, Chocolate Praline Mocha is a must have for the chocoholics.

Customers at Starbucks will experience the warmth within the store ambience, which is such an essential part during time of the year when it’s all wintry outside.

The “third place” aspect of Starbucks creates an atmosphere filled with warm coffee beverages, the best selection of pastries and light savouries, as well as an intriguing assortment of seasonal merchandise including a wide selection of cheerful holiday mugs and tumblers to create a thoughtful gift for friends and family.

The winter selection from Starbucks is available at all the Starbucks Coffee stores for a limited period.

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