Both coffee and tea pair very well with freshly baked, homemade muffins, but they don’t usually make their way into the muffins themselves. Coffee cake and coffee cake muffins, for instance, are not coffee flavored – they are just meant to pair with coffee. Coffee and tea can both be fantastic flavors for baked goods, muffins included, and you’ll get plenty of tea in these Chai Tea Muffins with Chai Streusel.
The muffins are made with strong chai tea, which gives them a black tea and spice flavor. I recommend brewing double or triple strenght chai tea for this recipe so that you get as much tea flavor as possible. That being said, the muffins are also packed with chai spices, like cinnamon, allspice, ginger and cardamom to ensure that you get a well-rounded chai flavor in every bite. They’re moist, tender and topped off with a spiced streusel topping that adds a nice buttery crunch, as well as a little extra spice.
As you might expect, these pair extremely well with a cup of hot chai tea or with a chai tea latte, but they also pair well with a regular cup of coffee.
A tiramisu is a popular Italian dessert made with ladyfingers soaked in espresso and layered together with rich cream. It’s known as a “pick me up” because of all the coffee that is used in the recipe, though it never hurts to get a little bit more coffee into the picture. I recently picked up a container of Breyer’s Tiramisu Gelato, which is new flavor from the ice cream maker. It definitely captures that coffee and cream tiramisu flavor, but it also has pieces of ladyfingers in it to give it a little texture and to really tie it in with traditional tiramisu. I decided that this gelato was a great candidate for one of my favorite coffee desserts, the affogato.
I simply placed a scoop of the gelato into a small dish, dusted it with cocoa powder and poured a shot of hot espresso over the top. I added the cocoa powder because tiramisus are traditionally finished with a dusting of cocoa powder, and you’ll get a nice chocolate aroma when you pour the espresso over it. When I took a taste, I still got the cream flavor from the ice cream, but the coffee stood out even more. Those pieces of ladyfingers also kept their texture while soaking up espresso and melted ice cream, for a dessert that tasted rich and like it took a lot more time to make than it really did!
You can get a similar effect by using half a scoop of vanilla ice cream or gelato and half a scoop of coffee if you don’t have or can’t find the tiramisu gelato, though that is the way to go if you have it in your local market. I highly recommend picking up some ladyfingers to serve alongside your affogato, since extra ladyfingers are perfect for soaking up the affogato as it melts.
The Starbucks Caramel Macchiato is a drink made with espresso, milk, vanilla and caramel – all flavors that I am a big fan of. The drink comes layered, so you have to give it a little bit of a stir to combine all the elements. Starbucks also makes a refrigerated version of this drink in their Starbucks Discoveries line – and I was surprised to find that it tasted a lot like the in-store version of the drink when I tasted it! This bottled drink also made me wonder what else I could do with it – and before long I was experimenting with recipes.
This Caramel Macchiato Panna Cotta is made using Starbucks Disoveries Caramel Macchiato as its base. The creamy drink mix lends its espresso, vanilla and caramel notes to this classic dessert. A panna cotta is a classic dessert that has a custard-like texture but is held together using a small amount of gelatin. They’re known for being light and silky – and they’re a lot easier to make than four star restaurants would have you believe. This is especially true if you’re already starting with a flavorful base, as I did here.
An affogato is an Italian dessert where a fresh shot of espresso is poured over a small scoop of ice cream. It’s a perfect melding of hot and cold for a coffee-lover. I usually make these with vanilla ice cream or gelato because vanilla and coffee is always a winning combination in my book. That said, you can really use any kind of ice cream that you think will work well with your shot. I would stay away from ice cream with big chunks in it (such as chunks of cookie dough), but other than that, there are many options.
This Double Coffee Affogato is for coffee lovers. It starts with coffee ice cream and is topped with espresso. You can buy the coffee ice cream – mocha would be a good choice, too – or use homemade. I opted to use my homemade Cafe Latte Ice Cream, increasing the coffee to two tablespoons for a stronger flavor. If you are using store-bought ice cream, pick a high quality brand like Haagen Dazs (they make my favorite coffee ice cream).