I've been going through my pantry this month replacing old spices and refilling almost-empty jars. This past weekend, I came across my trusty green-top bottle of espresso powder and realized it's been far too long since it's been cracked open in the kitchen.
If you're not familiar with espresso powder (or instant espresso), it's actually super concentrated coffee granules that quickly dissolve in liquid. So it's not just ground coffee beans: a common misconception. Used to make espresso, it can yield a relatively weak cup of joe, so why have it around at all?
Truth be told, most bakers I know keep espresso powder in stock as seriously as they do most spices. It amps up the rich, chocolate flavor of many desserts including cakes, brownies and cookies. You can use just a little (less than a teaspoon) to draw out the natural flavors of chocolate desserts or you can go heavier (more than a teaspoon) to achieve a coffee or mocha flavor.
Want to try your hand at using espresso powder in the kitchen? Here are a few of our favorites recipes from the Kitchn archives, spanning from a morning cereal to an evening treat:
Megan is a freelance writer and recipe developer. Her cookbook, Whole-Grain Mornings, will be available in bookstores nationwide Dec/2013. Megan also owns the Seattle-based artisan cereal company, Marge Granola.
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