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Gourmet Living

A gourmet is a person who is knowledgeable in fine food and drink.

Featured Gourmet Recipes

Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans

Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans are great fun, as mid-day pick-me-ups or as a garnish on top of ice cream or some other dessert item. You can buy a pack at your local supermarket, and you'll get slightly oblong-shaped, smooth, dark, rich and glossy nuggets that both look and taste absolutely fabulous.

However, if you're a coffee buff like me, or just like cooking in general, try out this recipe. Your homemade stuff perhaps won't look as good as the supermarket variety, and won't be glossy, single nuggets in a shiny pack, but they'll sure taste as good. And on top of that you'll get the satisfaction of having made them yourself!

Get yourself some top-quality, preferably organic, coffee beans. Since these will be eaten whole in the form of chocolate covered espresso beans, it's preferable to use Arabica rather than Robusta. Arabica is less bitter, and contains considerably less caffeine. For hard-core coffee addicts, however, Arabica may not contain enough 'kick'. If the beans aren't already roasted, put them in the microwave and keep them there for about 15 minutes, at 400 Fahrenheit.

You can use commercially available thick double chocolate, or you can make your own. You'll need to roast cocoa berries, peel and mash them in a mortar till it's become a smooth paste. The rest depends on what kind of chocolate you want for covering your espresso beans. Some people prefer milk chocolate; in which case, you need to add milk to the dark and oily cocoa paste and also add sugar to taste. Boil the liquid till most of the moisture has evaporated, leaving the smooth, light brown texture of milk chocolate.

Adding other flavours is not recommended if you're going to use it for chocolate covered espresso beans, because it might jeopardise the pure coffee-and-cocoa flavour of the final product. Put the coffee beans on a baking sheet covered with wax paper, and pour molten chocolate over it. Ensure that the beans are laid out in a single layer, and not too far apart from each other. They should be fully covered all around with the chocolate.

After the beans have cooled down somewhat, put the whole sheet in a freezer. If you need glossier, individual beans, you need to use candy molds. Put individual beans in the moulds, and then pour the chocolate. The beans will be easier to pop out of their moulds if you mix a little peanut butter with the chocolate. This process is lengthier, but yields better-looking nuggets that are of more commercial value - that is, if you're thinking of selling chocolate covered espresso beans.

Copyright Randy Wilson, All Rights Reserved. Randy has more articles on coffee and coffee beans such as Coffee Enema and Coffee Makers.

Italian Biscotti

I'll bet that you never had biscotti as good as mine! Just kidding I know that you probably make a biscotti that is very good but I wish you would try this recipe and see what you think of it, this recipe is as good as they come. Now remember that all ingredients should be at room temperature.

6 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons anise seeds
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup melted butter (not hot)
3 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder

In a mixing bowl beat eggs and sugar add anise seeds, vanilla and butter. Mix well and then add the flour and baking powder and mix until well blended, it should be soft but not sticky. Remove dough from bowl and divide into two pieces, form each piece to look like large hot dogs, place on a pan lined with baking parchment and flatten to about one inch thick.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for approximately half an hour until golden brown.

Optional: Cut biscotti into pieces, place on a baking sheet and toast until golden brown. You can also add tiny pieces of walnuts to your biscotti if you so desire.

About the Author
Andrew Krause is a Chef and Pastry Chef for over 30 years, at persent I own a Gourmet Bakery called The Cheese Confectioner. You can visit my site at http://www.andies.cashhosters2.com


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