Candied Espresso Pecans

Coffee NutsI don’t know about you, but I always like to have a crunchy snack on hand… something a little savoury, a little salty and a little sweet. These candied espresso pecans fit the bill! Relatively low in fat and sugar, these caffeine packed nuts will help you power through the afternoon slump. If you don’t have instant espresso powder, you can substitute by using 50% more dark roast instant coffee. Just note that it will have a slightly harsher more acidic taste than the espresso powder, but it might just be okay considering the sugar and cinnamon in the recipe. This recipe will make about 4 cups of candied nuts.

Ingredients:

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
⅔ cup sugar
2 tablespoons finely ground espresso coffee beans
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1 large egg white
4 cups pecan halves

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325°F. Spray large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. Whisk the sugar, ground espresso beans, espresso powder, cinnamon and salt together in small bowl. Whisk egg white in large bowl until frothy. Add pecans and toss to coat. Sprinkle the pecans with espresso mixture and toss to coat.

Spread coated pecans on prepared sheet in single layer. Bake 5 minutes. Slide spatula under the nuts to loosen them from baking sheet and stir, rearranging in single layer. Bake until the pecans are dry to touch, about 5 minutes longer. Loosen pecans from the sheet again, and then rest to cool on the sheet.

These candied pecans can be made 2 weeks ahead and stored in airtight container at room temperature.

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Guatemalan Coffee Brownies with Walnuts

Coffee BrowniesCoffee and chocolate are definitely a no brainer! I mean, just think about Caffé Mochas! The rich, slightly acidic coffee plays well with the sweet hit of cocoa and sugar. For brownies, a full-bodied coffee from Indonesia or Guatemala would pair beautifully with dark chocolate brownies. These brownies call on cocoa, walnuts and ginger, used as a garnish to compliment a full flavoured Guatemalan coffee bean, like an Antigua Coffee would work great! This recipe will make 15 brownies.

Ingredients:

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
2 cups sugar
1 cup minus 1 tablespoon (2 sticks minus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons finely ground Antigua coffee beans
½ teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
¾ cup walnut pieces
1 cup bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon freshly brewed Antigua coffee
30 thin strips crystallized ginger

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 13x9x2-inch metal pan with nonstick spray. Combine sugar, butter, cocoa, ground coffee, and salt in large metal bowl. Place bowl over saucepan of simmering water and whisk until butter melts and ingredients are blended (texture will be grainy). Remove bowl from over water; cool mixture to lukewarm if necessary. Whisk in eggs and vanilla. Sift flour over and fold in. Mix in walnuts.

Spread batter in prepared pan. Bake brownies until tester inserted into centre comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool brownies in pan.

Place chocolate chips in small bowl. Bring brewed coffee to simmer in small saucepan; pour over chips and stir until melted and smooth. Let ganache stand until cool and beginning to thicken, about 1 hour; spread evenly over brownies. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; let stand at room temperature.) Cut brownies into 15 squares. Top each with 2 ginger strips.