Category Archive: Coffee

The Secret to Making Great Iced Coffee at Home

It’s been painfully hot and humid here this week.  I have lived in New England for over a decade now, but I grew up in the Midwest.  In fact, I lived there for 30 years.  So believe me, I know all about hot and humid summer days.  The weather here has been a little too reminiscent for my taste.  I’m ready for this heat wave to break and for New England to return to a more pleasant number on the thermometer.

When it’s this hot, I try to avoid doing anything that is sure to raise the temperature in our farmhouse.  I do make one exception:  the coffee maker.  I can live with cold salad for dinner.  I can do laundry at midnight when the temperature has fallen a few degrees.  I cannot, under any circumstances live without coffee.

True, the coffee maker doesn’t generate too much heat.  On days as hot as we have been experiencing, I’m not in any rush to drink something hot either.  Luckily, I mastered the art of making iced coffee at home several years ago.

Making a great iced coffee is easy.  You don’t need special equipment and the technique is simple.  If you take your coffee black, then you only need to chill the hot coffee and serve over ice.  If, like me, you prefer your coffee regular with cream and sugar, then you might need a little trial and error to perfect the amount of sweetener and milk that is just to your liking.  Trust me; it’s not a bad way to spend a very hot day.

Iced Coffee
8 Tablespoons coffee (I prefer whole beans that are ground just before brewing)
3 cups (24 ounces) cold water
ice
granulated sugar (start with 1/2 cup and adjust to your liking)
milk/cream if desired

First, we’ll start with the coffee.  Because your iced coffee will be served over ice, the brewed coffee needs to be brewed with different proportions than your usual cup of hot morning Joe.  That’s the secret to making perfect iced coffee at home.

While it seems like a simple adjustment, it’s the difference between a delicious cup of iced coffee and one that is watered down and tasteless.  Typically, a full Tablespoon of coffee is used for every six ounces of water.  In this case, we’ll reduce the liquid by half in order to allow for the ice that will be added to the final cup.

By reducing the water, we’ll have removed three full cups of liquid from our coffee.  That will allow us to add back the three cups in the form of ice and milk or cream without diluting the coffee.

Using the guidelines above, brew your double strength coffee.  If you don’t use sugar or cream in your coffee, you can chill the brewed coffee in the refrigerator for later use or drink immediately poured over a glass of ice.

If you prefer coffee with sugar and cream, the sugar should be added while the coffee is still hot.  This will allow the sugar to fully dissolve before the coffee has been chilled.  Add the sugar to the hot coffee and stir until the sugar has dissolved completely.

At this point, the sweetened coffee can be stored in the refrigerator to be enjoyed later.  If you wish to enjoy it immediately, add a cup of ice to the hot coffee in order to cool it down quickly.  Stir the mixture in order to cool it slightly before pouring over a glass of ice, leaving room for milk or cream to be added.  Add milk or cream to the glass and stir to fully incorporate.

If you are making a batch of iced coffee for a group and want to allow guests to sweeten their own glass of coffee, my vanilla bean simple syrup is perfect for sweetening the chilled coffee.  It’s also a wonderful way to add vanilla flavor to your iced coffee or iced tea.


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Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2013/07/the-secret-to-great-iced-coffee-at-home/

Vanilla Bean Simple Syrup

This recipe is a staple in the 1840 Farm kitchen.  I always have it on hand in the refrigerator, waiting to be called into action.  With a small amount, I can add sweetness and incredible vanilla flavor to summer berries or cold drinks.

Vanilla Bean Simple Syrup is also my favorite way to sweeten cold drinks.  Using a simple syrup is the perfect way to sweeten and enhance iced coffee and iced tea in the summer without ending up with a pile of undissolved sugar in the bottom of your glass.

I like to use vanilla bean pods that have been used to make our homemade vanilla extract for this recipe.  After the pods have been used to make two batches of extract, they can be used to flavor this syrup or pastry creams and custards with excellent results.  I remove the pods from the cooled mixture but leave the vanilla bean specks in the syrup.  If you prefer a clear syrup, simply strain through a fine mesh strainer or piece of cheesecloth before storing it in the refrigerator.

Vanilla Bean Simple Syrup
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
1 vanilla bean pod, split
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Split the vanilla bean pod lengthwise using a sharp knife.  Using the dull edge of the knife, scrape along the length of the inside of the pod to remove the thousands of beans inside.  Transfer the beans and pods to a small pot with the sugar and water.  Place all ingredients in a small pot and stir to combine.

Place the pot over low heat and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally.  Simmer over low heat until the sugar has completely dissolved, approximately 5 minutes.  Remove the pot from the heat and allow the syrup to cool to room temperature.  Add the vanilla extract and stir to combine.

Pour the syrup through a fine mesh strainer if you would like it to be clear and free of vanilla beans specks.  The syrup can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one month.  I like to store mine in a clean, repurposed bottle with a pourer spout in the refrigerator.


To make sure that you don’t miss any of our original content or favorite recipes, DIY projects, and homesteading advice from around the web, subscribe to The 1840 Farm Community Newsletter. Visit our subscription form to become the newest member of The 1840 Farm Community.

Our newsletter isn’t the only way to follow what’s happening here at 1840 Farm.
You’re always welcome at 1840 Farm
and at The 1840 Farm Mercantile Shop on Etsy.
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We even created a new 1840 Farm Community Newsletter Pinterest board to catalog
our newsletter content so that you could easily pin your favorites to your own boards.

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Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2013/07/vanilla-bean-simple-syrup/

Michel Rostang’s Double Chocolate Mousse Cake

       

Welcome to the third French Friday of January 2011.  It has been a very good run for my family’s Bistro Night this past month.  We started off with Paris Mushroom Soup and then discovered the beauty that is Gnocchi a la Parisienne.  They were both sublime, decadent, and warming Winter dishes.  I told you it was a good run.

This  week, I find myself standing in our farmhouse kitchen preparing to make  Michel Rostang’s Double Chocolate Mousse Cake from Dorie Greenspan‘s Around my French Table.  After reading her recipe and instructions, I was ready to enjoy the rich chocolate mousse perched atop a bed of dense chocolate cake.  I was in.

I started to gather my ingredients and equipment.  The oven was preheating and I was starting to envision how great this cake was going to taste after dinner.  There was only one problem.  My two children were staring out the window at the latest Winter snowstorm.  They were starting to envision an afternoon of sledding.  I knew that I had to get this dessert started and get outside onto our snow pile which has become more of a snow mountain.  Chocolate mousse cake is tempting, but the green snow saucer waits for no one.

This recipe starts with coffee, so it had me at espresso.  Anything with coffee has my attention.  To be fair, the recipe states that either espresso or strong coffee can be used, but I took the opportunity to make two shots of espresso and finish off the portion that wasn’t needed for the cake.

Within the first few minutes, the kitchen was infused with the welcome aroma of coffee and chocolate.  In my opinion, there are few food marriages any sweeter than chocolate and coffee.  If done right, the resulting mixture is equal parts sweet and bold.  My nose was telling me that we were well on our way.  The eggs were incorporated and the egg whites were whipped to beautiful, satiny stiff peaks.  The mousse was complete and the first bake was in progress.  A short time later, we left the cake to cool on a wire rack while we headed outside.

After my time supervising the snow bunnies, I was back at my post to finish the mousse cake.  I spread the mousse onto its base and marveled at its beauty.  All that was left to do was to dust it with powdered sugar and put my fork to good use.   It would be tough duty, but I was pretty sure that I was up to the challenge.

The cake was a delicious treat on a snowy, Winter day.  It was dense and fudgy with just a hint of the coffee flavor.  It was, in case you were wondering, delicious with a great cup of coffee.  Too much coffee for you?  Not for me.  In my world, there can never be enough coffee.  I love great coffee and look for any excuse to drink it.  Michel Rostang’s Double Chocolate Mousse Cake seems like the perfect excuse to do so.

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2011/01/michel-rostangs-double-chocolate-mousse-cake/