While you can make use of your good, old coffee machine to brew fresh granules for this sensational summer drink, I tried to adapt it for those who do not have or cannot be bothered with filtered coffee. For those purists who swear by the genuine stuff, go straight to the unaltered recipe on Epicurious.com. Those who are not so squeamish over instant coffee, grab your jar of regular Nescafe and start by making the coffee jelly which is the magic ingredient in this drink. I would suggest that you go for a stronger dose than you are used to as the freezing process will, to some extent, numb the intensity of the coffee flavour that comes through. Chill for a couple of hours, then stretch yourself under a beach umbrella and sip lazily through a bubble straw [ideally with a view on the beach] on a scorching summer day.

FROZEN ICED COFFEE + COFFEE JELLY

Ingredients:

For the Coffee Jelly

1 tablespoon agar agar

4 teaspoons instant coffee

2 tablespoons caster sugar

2 cups cold water

For the Whipped Cream

3/4 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon caster sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Frozen Iced Coffee

1 tablespoon instant coffee

1 1/2 cups cold whole milk

1 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder

2 tablespoons golden syrup

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Method:

  • Dissolve agar agar in 3 tablespoons cool water in a small bowl. Let stand till bloomed, about 2 minutes.
  • Meanwhile combine cold coffee and sugar in a large container. Gently stir agar agar mixture into coffee.

  • Do not stir too vigorously else air bubbles will appear. Chill the mixture until it is firm for about 2 hours.
  • Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed or whisk, whip cream in a large bowl till soft peaks form.

  • Add sugar and vanilla and whip to medium peaks. Chill whipped cream while preparing the iced coffee.
  • For the iced coffee, blend coffee, cocoa, milk, syrup, vanilla, and 3 cups ice into a blender until smooth.

  • To assemble, cut coffee jelly into 3/4″ cubes and fill serving glasses with 1/2 cup cubed coffee jelly each.
  • Spoon 3 tablespoons of whipped cream over each and spread it around to create a solid layer of cream.

  • Divide frozen iced coffee (about 1 cup each) among glasses and carefully pour on top of the cream layer.
  • Top glasses with more whipped cream and serve immediately with bubble tea straws. Makes 4 servings.

Frozen Iced Coffee

The aftermath of Valentine’s day is that you will probably end up with more chocolate than you can possibly eat even if you plan to go on an all-chocolate diet. While I still have my stash of Christmas chocolates (along with an enormous jar of Nutella spread) preciously stowed in a cool, dark corner of my kitchen cupboard, I have been at a loss of think of a recipe that might tempt me to get them out of their hiding place… until I discovered these Chocotella cupcakes.

In fact the original recipe, from Taste.com.au, has each cupcake frosted with a swirl of Nutella, whipped cream and a Ferrero Rocher elegantly balanced on top. I, however, was intent on using my mini muffin pan to make smaller cakes and had to dismiss the idea of having a Ferrero Rocher perched on top of something this small, which would surely make it look ridiculously out of proportion. For my next batch of Choctella cupcakes, I plan to include a Nutella centre inside and dunk the Nutella topped cakes in hazelnut praline and christened them as Fererro Rocher cupcakes.

CHOCTELLA CUPCAKES

Ingredients:

70g brown sugar, firmly packed

50g butter, room temperature

40g dark chocolate, chopped

60ml (1/4 cup) cold water

1 egg, room temperature

75g (1/2 cup) self-raising flour

25g (1/6 cup) plain flour

1 tablespoon cocoa powder

120g (3/8 cup) Nutella

Whipped cream, to serve

Chocolate flakes or sprinkles

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 180C/ 160C fan forced. Lightly grease and line a mini muffin pan with paper cases.

  • Place sugar, butter, chocolate and water in large saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook for 3 minutes.

  • Stir until melted and smooth. Set it aside to cool. Add the egg to the chocolate mixture and whisk well.

  • Sift flours and cocoa over egg mixture. Gently fold in until just combined. Divide mixture among pans.

  • Bake the cakes for 12 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of a cupcake comes out clean.

  • Transfer cupcakes to wire rack to cool completely before frosting. Spread cupcakes with 1tsp Nutella.

  • Top cupcakes with a dollop of whipped cream and chocolate flakes or sprinkles. Makes 12 cupcakes.

Chocolate + Nutella

Instead of the clichéd chocolate desserts, get creative this year for Valentine’s day and think out of the box. Impress the man of your life with more than gifts and flowers by cooking for him instead of booking a table for two in some damn expensive restaurant. If you dnt feel like messing your kitchen for dinner, keep the surprise for the following morning with these absolutely divine cinnamon rolls bursting with colour and flavour.

Stuffed with fresh juicy strawberries and smothered in cream cheese icing, these yeasted sweet buns, from Tatyana’s Everyday Food, can be assembled on the eve, defrosted and baked in the morning as you lay the table for breakfast and he gets ready for work. I think it should work just as well for guys who want to win over their lady love with their kitchen skills on V-day.

STRAWBERRY CINNAMON ROLLS

Ingredients:

For the Yeast Dough

1 cup warm milk

2 1/2 teaspoons dry yeast

1/2 cup white granulated sugar

2 large eggs, room temperature

1/3 cup butter, melted

1 teaspoon kitchen salt

4 cups all-purpose flour

For the Strawberry Filling

1 cup brown sugar

2 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/3 cup butter, softened

3 cups chopped strawberries

3 to 4 tablespoons flour

3/4 cup heavy cream

For the Cream Cheese Icing

8 oz. cream cheese

1/4 cup cold heavy cream

1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch of kitchen salt

Method:

  • For dough, combine the warm milk and sugar in a large bowl, then sprinkle the dry yeast over the top.

  • Allow the yeast to proof for about 5 minutes then whisk until smooth. Add the melted butter and eggs.

  • Add the salt and whisk it again. Begin adding the flour, whisking at first, then switch over to a spatula.

  • Once dough comes together, turn out onto a well floured surface. Knead for few minutes until smooth.

  • Set the dough in a warm corner of your kitchen area to proof until it is doubled in size for about 1 hour.

  • After proofing, turn it out on a floured work surface. Using a rolling pin, roll out into a large rectangle.

  • It should be about 13 x 20-inches. Spread softened butter over it, making sure to spread to every edge.

  • In small bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Sprinkle the mixture over the butter.

  • Make sure to spread to every edge. Top with strawberries and sprinkle with a few tablespoons of flour.

  • Starting at one edge, gently roll the dough into a Swiss-roll like log, ending with the seam facing down.

  • Using a sharp knife, divide the log into 12 equal pieces. Spray a glass baking dish with non-stick spray.

  • Transfer the rolls into the prepared pan. Cover the pan with a towel and allow the rolls to proof again.

  • Proof the rolls for about 30 to 45 minutes till they double in size. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350F.

  • Bake proofed rolls in preheated oven for 10 minutes. At the 10 minute mark, remove rolls from oven.

  • Pour over heavy cream. Return the rolls to the oven and continue baking for about 20 to 25 minutes.

  • Remove from oven when rolls are golden brown. Transfer them to a rack so that they cool completely.

  • Meanwhile, prepare icing. Whisk together cream cheese, cream, sugar, vanilla and salt until smooth.

  • For thinner icing, add more heavy cream. Spread icing over hot cinnamon rolls. Makes 12 large rolls.

Strawberry Cinnamon Rolls

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PrerrnaMirchi
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