Black gold (+recipes)

By Amanda Laird

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The taste of coffee, one of our favourite brews, goes well in recipes for sweet treats.

Espresso shots. Photo / Thinkstock
Espresso shots. Photo / Thinkstock

The smell of coffee beans roasting is one of life's little pleasures - so much so that many of us can't imagine starting the day without a cup of the magic brew.

Despite misheld beliefs that it is addictive and its consumption should be kept to a minimum, recent research by the French National Health and Medical Research Institute confirms what many coffee drinkers have always known: drinking coffee in moderation has no affect on the brain involving addiction and dependency.

According to nutritionist Angela Berrill, coffee has high antioxidant activity. There are two types of antioxidants which come from the polyphenols present in the beans themselves, as well as from the melanoidins which naturally occur during the roasting process. She also reports coffee can help protect on liver cancer, dementia, Alzheimer's disease and Type 2 diabetes, and it increases energy and concentration - great stuff!

This would all mean nothing if it didn't taste good and that comes down to the quality and freshness of the beans, the science involved in roasting them to perfection, and the ability of the barista.

A few seconds of under- or over-roasting can make a huge difference to the flavour.The grind has to be right in order for the extraction time to be perfect. It is a labour of love which is instantly evident when taking that first sip of a well-made, satisfying cup.

The flavour of coffee works well with the sweet treats shown today: chocolate chip mocha biscuits dipped into melted chocolate, a parfait that can be frozen and served with espresso syrup and fresh raspberries, and small cakes made with ground almonds and coffee which make the perfect accompaniment to your mid-morning brew.

Chef's tip

Coffee parfait can be served chilled or frozen. Cool the syrup completely before pouring. It is preferable to grind beans just before using, whether for drinking or for recipes, to maximise the fresh flavour.

- NZ Herald

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