Coffee, a Flavor-Deepening Mystery Ingredient

A bit of coffee enhances everything from brownies to barbecue sauce, say Chowhounds. The foods you spike with a bit of liquid or instant coffee don't read as coffee-flavored, but the coffee adds depth and balance.

Just a bit of coffee deepens chocolate, caramel, and toffee flavors in baked goods and candies. In brownies and cakes, coffee can replace some of the liquid called for, or just add some instant espresso powder to the dry ingredients. (Hounds favor Medaglia d'Oro instant espresso.)

Many include coffee in barbecue sauce, and also use ground coffee in spice rubs for pork. Coffee is added to braising liquid for beef and lamb, to beef stew, and to chili. scunge uses it on baked smoked ham, with molasses and cayenne, and bushwickgirl uses it as part of the liquid in baked beans. "It adds another layer of flavor, a slightly bitter/smoky complexity," says nomadchowwoman.

Discuss: What Are Your Baking and Cooking Uses for Coffee?

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