For the Love of Coffee
FOR THE LOVE OF COFFEE
There was a news flash this morning on the National News: it’s not only okay to drink coffee, it’s GOOD to have up to five cups a day. I was vindicated! Not only do I love my five cups of joe, I love the new café latte and café mocha yogurt flavors, mocha ice cream, Kahlua – I have a frosting recipe for brownies made with Kahlua that is to die for – and, did I mention, my scrumptious Crunchy Top Muffins made with coffee. (See the recipe below).
By three o’clock in the afternoon my get-up-and-go is fading. Mid-afternoon has always been a slow spot in my biorhythmic day. If my former boss had just let me take a twenty minute power nap after lunch, since the office coffee pot was empty by then, I would’ve been much more productive during the afternoon.
Now I’m lucky enough to be my own boss and I take a break somewhere between two and three o’clock in the afternoon, for an hour, snuggle up with my cat, read a book and have two cups of aromatic, delicious, rich coffee. I like a little flavor and add either a hazelnut or French vanilla blend to my regular Folger’s Columbian. That first sip is so….indescribably good.
Last summer, I discovered the bliss of an iced coffee, while sitting in a lawn chair on my deck in the shade. I had my own little slice of heaven right there in the backyard. What could be better than taking a half-hour to relax, feel the gentle breeze and enjoy a tall cool drink?
My friend Clark introduced me to a gadget called a French press. He grinds his own beans adds hot water and lets the brew process for ten minutes or so before pressing the water through the ground beans. He keeps the coffee hot in a carafe for a cup later in the day. My only problem with this is; it only makes two cups of coffee. So for me, there’d be no need for the carafe. Both cups would be gone before the coffee got cold.
While I applaud Clark for being a coffee connoisseur, I’m more bourgeois. I plug in my uncomplicated twelve cup coffee maker (seriously – it’s more like four or five full mugs, tops), line the basket with a filter and put in coffee someone else was paid to grind – this is good for the economy and job creation, right? Then I pour in the water and turn it on. Within minutes I’m sipping a fresh brewed cup of coffee. No fuss. No muss.
I’ve also found that a cup of rich dark coffee is a great reward for completing the chores of shopping and doing errands. I live thirty minutes from town so there is no running to the store for a couple of items. When I go shopping, it is an all afternoon affair with a minimum of six or seven stops with the last one being the worst of all; the grocery store.
If my route takes me downtown, I’ll stop at the coffee house. If it doesn’t, some very intelligent person, most likely a coffee drinker, came up with the wonderful idea of putting a Starbuck’s near the exit door of the grocery store. Now there is a person who understands marketing. A mocha latte does a lot to sooth my frayed nerves caused by four or more hours spent fighting crowds and traffic.
So, I’m happy that the experts have finally decided my coffee habit is a good one. I can’t help but smile as I pour another cup.
CRUNCHY TOP MUFFINS
1 1/3 cups flour 2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt 2 tablespoons instant coffee
½ cup warm milk ¼ cup butter
½ cup sugar 1 egg
½ teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons sugar ½ teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
DIRECTIONS: Muffins: Mix flour with baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Set aside. Warm milk in the microwave. Dissolve instant coffee in the milk and add vanilla. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add egg and blend well. Add flour mixture alternately with milk mixture, mixing well after each addition. Spoon batter into greased muffin tins. Topping: Combine sugar, cinnamon and walnuts. Sprinkle over the muffin batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes. Test for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of muffins. It will come out clean when muffins are done. Makes about 9 to 10 muffins.
This muffin recipe is from a Maxwell House Coffee cookbook that I’ve had for years. It includes recipes using coffee for main dishes, desserts and beverages. It goes to show that coffee is delicious in so many ways.