Monday, December 29, 2008

Choconegro Delicioso

How come it doesn't surprise me that the only way to get me blogging again is to put me in my kitchen coming up with new cocktail recipes? The creative juices are flowing and while I still have some more fun ideas to come up with, my first attempt for the TuttiFoodie and Scharffen Berger recipe contest was a pretty good one if I may say so myself. I was in "Mexico" mode, so 4 Copas Organic Tequila was my libation of choice (stay tuned for the ones I'm working on with Square One Organic Vodka. They are still infusing!) and I had to find a way to use some of the fantastic dark chocolates from Scharffen Berger. So I submitted the Choconegro Delicioso. The inspiration came from 3 hot coffee drinks that I like from different eras - Cafe de Olla (mexican coffee steeped with spices), Irish Coffee, and the now ubiquitous Starbucks Caramel Mocha, which I have indulged in only a few times but found to be very comforting on a rainy day. This version is served cold, in a tall narrow tube glass or champagne flute. Not so sweet that it tastes like dessert, but sweet enough to maybe play a dual role as an iced coffee and a sweet treat!

The "secret ingredient" for this recipe that adds an extra "yum" factor, is whole coriander seeds infused into both the coffee-chocolate liquid and the caramel whipped cream.

6 tbsp ground coffee, medium roast and preferably Mexican/Latin American origin
5 c. water
1 large stick of Mexican canela (cinnamon) or 2 small sticks
¼ tsp. anise seed
2 oz. Scharffen Berger Semi-Sweet 62% dark chocolate plus extra for garnish
2 tbsp. coriander seeds
6 tbsp. piloncillo (Mexican brown sugar)*
1 ½ c. heavy whipping cream
10 oz. 4 Copas Organic Reposado tequila or other reposado tequila (1 oz. per cocktail)

In a standard drip coffee maker, put cinnamon stick, 1 tbsp. of the coriander, anise seed, 2 oz. chocolate and 3 tbsp. of the piloncillo into the bottom of the coffee pot. Make coffee using 6 tbsp. of ground coffee and 4 cups of water (reserving extra 1 c. of water for other use). Let coffee remain on heating unit for 30 minutes to infuse the spices into the coffee. After coffee has infused for 30 minutes, using a very fine mesh strainer, strain coffee-chocolate liquid into a medium bowl. Cool to room temperate.

While coffee is infusing, prepare Coriander-Caramel whipped cream. Put 1 c. water and 1 tbsp. of coriander seeds into small saucepan. Boil on high until liquid is reduced to ¼ cup. Add 3 tbsp piloncillo and cook for two more minutes until sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and using a fine mesh strainer, strain liquid into small bowl. Discard coriander seeds. Cool to room temperate. In a medium sized metal bowl, whip whipping cream until it barely forms soft peaks. Add cooled coriander caramel and stir (not whip) until integrated. It should be thick but able to be poured. If not, add some liquid whipping cream to thin it out. Pour into small pitcher.. Refrigerate until use.

To make cocktail, using a 3 piece shaker, add 3 oz. coffee-chocolate-spice mixture and 1 oz. tequila to shaker. Fill with ice. Shake for 10 seconds. Strain into tall tube or flute glass. Using a barspoon or teaspoon, invert the spoon and slowly pour about 1 ½ oz. cream over the back of the spoon so that it slowly layers onto coffee mixture (like an Irish Coffee) without mixing. Using a microplane or fine grater, shave some more Scharffen Berger chocolate onto cream as garnish. Serve immediately.

Recipe makes approximately 10 servings.

*Can be sourced at Latin markets or may substitute with light brown sugar