Creme Brulee Recipe

Friday, November 6th, 2015 by

Creme Brulee Splash

Creme brulee is very much a special occasion dessert. It’s pretty to look at, otherworldly to eat, and it’s really not all that difficult to make. If you’re intimidated by the kitchen torch thing, just buy one because they’re a lot of fun, and then read this great post on how to caramelize sugar responsibly. Homemade custard impresses the heck out of people and so do fire skills.

Sweet, vanilla-y and slightly smoky, our Creme Brulee has long been one of our most popular coffee flavors, and the dessert itself pairs well with coffee. Our shipping manager Lori recently whipped up a batch so good, we had to share her recipe:

Ingredients (for about six ramekins, 7 to 8 ounces each)

1 quart heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, scraped (substitute 1 tablespoon vanilla extract)
3/4 cups sugar
6 tablespoons superfine sugar
6 extra large egg yolks
2 quarts hot water

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Place the heavy cream, vanilla (the bean and the pulp or the extract if using) into a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, cover and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean.

Whisk together the sugar and the egg yolks until well blended. Add the cream to the mixture slowly, stirring continually. Pour into ramekins. Place the ramekins into a large cake pan or roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake just until the creme brulee is just set, approximately 40 to 45 minutes. Refrigerate the ramekins after cooling for at least 2 hours (and up to 3 days).

Before serving, allow the creme brulee to sit unrefrigerated for at least 30 minutes prior to browning. Sprinkle a tablespoon or so of superfine sugar evenly on each ramekin. Using a torch, melt the sugar and form a hard, caramelized top. Feel free to burn it a little if you like that, but work quickly to avoid overheating the custard. Let sit 5 minutes, then crack it and enjoy!

Creme Brulee Newsletter

 

Behind the Flavor: Black Forest Cake

Monday, June 22nd, 2015 by

Black Forest Splash

We unveiled a new flavor this month: Black Forest Cake, inspired by this delicious rustic version the traditional German dessert. While we feel Black Forest Cake coffee does the flavor justice, we did eat the cake pictured above in the name of research and feel slightly guilty that we didn’t share. So, here’s the recipe, adapted loosely from Butter and Brioche, baked by our shipping supervisor Lori.
While kirsch liqueur is traditionally used in the cherry topping, we skipped that step with store-bought cherry pie filling, but gave it a hillbilly twist, adding moonshine-soaked cherries on top. Consider it the rural New Jersey version.

Black Forest Cake Newsletter

Ingredients
For the cake (three layers):
  • 2-1/2 cups flour
  • 2/3 cup + 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs (room temperature)
  • 1-1/3 cup sour cream (room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup (one stick) butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup + 3 tbsp boiling water
For the frosting:
  • 17.5 oz mascarpone cheese
  • 6-8 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
  • 2/3 cup + 3 tablespoons cup heavy whipping cream
For the cherries:
Directions
Bake the cake:
  1. Heat an oven to 350 F. Grease and line three 7 inch cake pans.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, soda and salt. Stir to combine.
  3. Add the sugar, eggs, sour cream, butter and hot water. Stir gently until the batter is uniform and smooth.
  4. Divide between the three prepared cake pans.
  5. Bake for 25-30 minutes then let the cakes cool in their pans for 10 minutes before inverting onto a cooling rack. Let the cakes cool completely before leveling any domed tops and assembling.
Whip the cream:
  1. Beat the mascarpone and confectioners’ sugar until creamy. Add the cream and whip until thickened and spreadable, being carefully not to over whip and split the mixture.
Put it all together:
  1. Place the first cake layer on a serving platter. Spread a thick layer of the mascarpone cream frosting on-top. Place cherry topping over the frosting and gently press in to indent.
  2. Place the second cake layer over the first and repeat the layering process as before.
  3. Top with the third cake layer. Decorate with a generous amount of cherry filling, adding some moonshine cherries (recommended) to the mix. Refrigerator before serving.

Vietnamese Coffee Pops Recipe

Friday, June 19th, 2015 by

 

Coffee Pops

 

Combining rich coffee with sweetened condensed milk, Vietnamese iced coffee can quickly become a habit in the summer.  The traditional recipe uses a Vietnamese press, which brews a single serving of strong coffee into a glass containing sweetened condensed milk. Pour the mixture over ice and you’ve got something magical.

I’ve always thought this would be a fantastic ice cream flavor, but heat makes me lazy, and all that stirring sounds like hard labor. Popsicles to the rescue. Sweetened condensed milk is blended throughout the top and bottom layers of this recipe, so you get a nice mix of the coffee and sweet cream flavor at the top, finishing off with a little vanilla at the bottom.

What you’ll need

Popsicle molds for 12 pops

2 cups of cold dark coffee (we used our French Roast coffee, brewed in a French press and cooled)

1- 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1-1/2 cups heavy cream

Non-stick cooking spray (optional)

Directions

  • Whisk the cold coffee and 2/3 cup of sweetened condensed milk together in a bowl and pour the mixture into your molds until each is about 3/4 full.*
  • Freeze for 2 hours or until the mixture is slushy, but frozen enough to hold a popsicle stick. The harder first layer is, the better the separation will be. A slightly softer layer will create a swirl effect, which is just as delicious.
  • In the meantime, mix together 6 tablespoons of the sweetened condensed milk, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla and 1-1/2 cups of the heavy cream.
  • Fill the remaining space in the molds with the cream mixture (you may have a little left over, depending on the size of the mold).
  • Freeze until very solid. Sweetened condensed milk takes a while to harden. Let it sit overnight or longer.

* A word about popsicle molds: 

Having a stick come out in your hand while the rest of your frozen treat remains stuck in the mold is a frustration no one should have to suffer ever. I recommend silicone molds, but managed to have success with the  old-fashioned plastic kind by spraying a little non-stick cooking spray inside before adding the coffee/milk mixture.

If that idea grosses you out, you can also dip the frozen pops in a bowl of warm water for 30 seconds or longer before pulling the sticks gently. I recommend doing that anyway, spray or no spray. While they are an awkward shape to eat, Dixie cup pops might be the simplest method of all. Simply peel the paper off, no tugging (or heartbreak) required.

 

 

Behind the Mugshot: Meg

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014 by

If you don’t already know about #MugshotMonday, check out our post on the subject and follow us on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter for more behind the scenes photos, new products, and discounts on staff favorites. Last month Meg, our Tech Whisperer, was kind enough to share her sunny mug with us, and answer a few questions too.

Meg

A Tech Whiperer’s day starts early. How many cups of coffee do you typically have before noon and how do you drink it (hot/cold/cream/sugar, etc) ?

Most mornings, I have 2 cups of hot coffee. The first one of the day, I add 2 sugar packets and a little half-and-half, the second one usually with a flavored creamer. Caramel type creamers are my favorites, although we recently started getting White Chocolate Raspberry creamer in the office, and my-oh-my is that tasty! I only drink cold coffee when my mug has been sitting on my desk too long – not a big fan of intentionally cold (iced) coffee.

Your coupon code was LADYBASSIST20. Please explain.

In Real Life, I’m a professional musician. I play a variety of instruments, but bass is my passion. I play regularly with a jazz group that (other than me) is all guys, so I’ve become known as “the lady bassist.”

Do you have any additional secret talents you care to share with us?

Professionally, I play flute, piccolo, clarinet, alto & tenor sax, acoustic guitar and I’ve been known to dabble with oboe and baritone horn.

Cats or dogs and why?

Cats (I am owned by 2 orange boys, Bixby and Max) because they’re less needy than dogs. However, I do hope that Anthony, our Tea Expert, bequeaths to me his Jack Russell, Winston, should the need ever arise.

Please list 3 non-practical items you would bring if you were stranded on a deserted island.

Well, first of all, there had better be electricity on the island.
1. My favorite-of-all-time CD, Steal Away – Charlie Haden on bass, Hank Jones on piano. Listening to Charlie Haden’s bass playing feeds my soul.
2. My 5-string fretless Carvin bass and Roland amp. And that doesn’t count as 2 items because you can’t have one without the other!
3. Tap shoes – maybe that should’ve gone under the “secret talents” question?

 

Behind the Mugshot: Joel

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014 by

If you don’t already know about #MugshotMonday, check out our post on the subject and follow us on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter for more behind the scenes photos, new products, and discounts on staff favorites. Here’s a little more about Joel, our Label Master, reining chili cook-off King, and October mugshot star.

Joel

Would you care to share any of your previous career incarnations before becoming our label master?

Sure I’ll share. Going way, way back, while going to school, I was at Trenton Psychiatric Hospital, it’s where I met my lovely wife (uncomfortably long pause) we were both youth counselors working with adolescents in the SRE (Social Re-education) Program. While with SRE I also met someone who was starting a multi-media company that did training and advertising and was asked if I would be the art director for the company, later I became a co-owner. While with that company I became involved with a few video projects, fell in love with video and made a jump to NJN (New Jersey Network). I produced graphics for NJN News and documentaries, designed sets, motion graphics and supporting print designs. I both loved and hated the 27+ years at NJN.  I was in charge of producing the graphics for the daily nightly news program, and so, from 12:30 until the 5:30 deadline things could get extremely tense, but you felt totally connected and on your game to get the news on the air.  If you’ve ever watched “the Newsroom” on HBO, NJN News was like that but on a smaller scale.  Despite the tension and fast pace, I stayed at NJN until it was closed by the NJ State Government. I miss NJN and my friends from there very much.  I’ve worked at Big Boulder Ski Resort for a season, bar-tending at the main lodge and I was in charge of the cleanup crew.  For a while I ski instructed when most of the mountains’ ski school left in the middle of the season to go skiing in Colorado.  I’ve been a lab technician.  I’ve freelanced and consulted and done a few other things.  Now I have new friends here at CBD.  They’re all really nice people, very talented, easy to get along with, and they don’t seem to mind listening to me, yet.

You recently painted a life-sized ox sculpture as part of a benefit for the Hopewell Valley Arts Council. What else might your coworkers be surprised to learn about you?

That’s right, the ox was named “Daisy” after the Oxeye Daisy.  I painted a field of Oxeye Daisies all around the sculpture, treating the sculpture like a canvas.  The project took several months and on October 19th was sold for $3000 during an online auction.  The money went to the newly formed Hopewell Valley Arts Council. I love to paint, portraits and landscapes, and was instructed by the great american artist Mel Liepzig.  For years I enjoyed making stained glass and was once asked to restore a large window in a residence in Princeton.  I enjoy camping and was involved with the local Troop 44 in Pennington for 10 years, the last 3 as their Scout Master. I’ve skied for 40 years, but not much any more (my knees aren’t what they used to be) and a regret I have is that I never became a member of the ski patrol.  I do most of the construction and repair work around my small house in Pennington that I share with my wife and son, (my daughter lives on her own), and our two dogs, Morgan an australian border collie/shepherd mix and Kaylee a very large 4 year old golden retriever that thinks she is actually a much smaller dog that doesn’t want to grow up.  Besides the 2 Emmy Awards I was honored with while at NJN, my greatest honor was having a painting stolen from an art show.

When you don’t have oxen to paint, how do prefer to spend a day off?

Sleeping, if the dogs will let me, but then, I’m usually working around the house. In the summer time I’ll spend time in our pool but prefer the beach. Winter time it’s rides in the hills, if it’s snowing out then hot chocolate by the fire watching the snow come down, no sound, twilight is best. Painting, tinkering with an old tube radio I’m trying to restore, it’s a radio/phonograph floor console from the 40’s. Walking the dogs or taking them to the local dog park. Did I mention working around the house?

If you had an evil superpower what would it be?
 
I do actually have a superpower.  I wouldn’t call it EVIL unless you’re a member of a certain segment of the population. I am unbeatable at “Whack-A-Mole” the arcade game.  I can take a $1 investment and turn it into the biggest prize at the game. When my kids were small we would go over to Point Pleasant Beach Boardwalk, and there was a Whack-A-Mole game in one of the arcades, I never lost.  It got so bad for the gamesmen that they would cringe when they saw me coming.  I won’t say I was banned from playing–but–we had an understanding.  I just go into a “zone” and can sort of predict where the little critter is going to pop up. So, if you own a Whack-A-Mole arcade game I guess you could say I have an evil superpower.

You will be competing in our cut-throat chili cook-off for the first time this year. Do you consider yourself a foodie and if so, what is the best and/or weirdest thing you’ve eaten?

I’m not sure what a “foodie” is? I like to eat (just look at me), but I also like to cook. My wife hates and loves my ability to go through our house at the end of the week and make a decent meal with what is left around. Bits and pieces, half of this or that, whatever is left in the pantry.

I like good food, it doesn’t have to be fancy, fresh is best and simply prepared, few sauces, good vegetables and rice, I love rice. I once had a very fancy meal at a restaurant in Philly with friends, it included foi gras, everyone else was raving about it, I wasn’t impressed.

The best food I’ve had is my mom’s cooking, of course. She makes a fabulous tomato sauce, even though she’s Slovak and the best spanish chicken and rice, if I was going to have something before I left this earth, it would be her spanish chicken and rice. I’m also a texas wiener fanatic, the best I’ve ever had was at a place near Rutgers, called “Johnny’s Hotdogs” it’s not there anymore.

The weirdest thing I’ve eaten, salty sea snails in a strong garlic sauce, oh that’s right, escargot, and raw sea urchin, mild, but didn’t taste like chicken.