Cold Brew Coffee 101 (Series!)

Happy July! In addition to my usual series for National Ice Cream Month, I am also bringing to you a simple series on cold brew coffee: how to make it and ways to use it. The recipes will be quick but I hope they will become staples in your future! Check back each Wednesday for a quick coffee endeavor, and follow up on Friday with the latest ice cream adventure. Hope you enjoy!

About two years ago I discovered the glorious world of cold brew coffee. Admittedly, I took forever to board the train for this latest fad largely because I don’t drink a ton of iced coffee and even to this day I always see cold brew served cold, especially in restaurants. If you, too, have been skeptical on the awesomeness of this adventure, I am here to entice you into joining. It feels a bit silly posting something so easy as a 4-part series, but hopefully what I’ve learned along the way makes it that much easier for you to get started.

Cold Brew Coffee 101 {{Baking Bytes}}

For years I have rarely consumed more than one cup of coffee per day, possibly two on some truly exhausting occasions. Since M is not a coffee fan, making standard drip coffee for one started to feel inefficient and wasteful. Resigning to try this fancy shmancy cold brew thing, I gave it a shot.

As it turned out, I *loved* that coffee. No bitterness, extremely smooth, and with the discovery that I could make a super strong concentrate and combine it with boiling water for my usual hot morning beverage, I finally boarded the cold brew coffee train. However, the process was messy, time-consuming, and honestly just kind of exhausting. Coffee filters were too small to use in the quantities I was making, and straining the ground afterwards through paper towels and coffee filters was tedious and slow and not something I wanted to do every couple of weeks.

Cold Brew Coffee 101 {{Baking Bytes}}

After trying a mesh filter for my pitchers with mediocre results1 (it didn’t have great circulation, and I still had to strain out the silty texture), I discovered my new best friend: the CoffeeSock. With stellar reviews and a pretty inexpensive price, I quickly ordered one to try out. Nearly two years later, it’s still a perfect fit.

Easy, reusable, perfectly strained, and consistently delicious results make this one of the best things I’ve ever bought. It takes only a few minutes active time to set a batch brewing, and even less to finish the process a few days later. I love that there’s no disposable waste and that it doesn’t allow a strange texture to seep through the cloth. And, of course, it makes great tasting coffee.

Cold Brew Coffee 101 {{Baking Bytes}}

If you’re interested in cold brew I highly recommend this product, and for ease of pouring later these silicon jar lids are fantastic. They make it way easier to pour out of the large jar and keep everything nice and fresh for as long as it lasts in your fridge. For me, this size batch typically lasts about 3 weeks so I can vouch for freshness for at least that long.

Cold Brew Coffee 101 {{Baking Bytes}}

Using cold brew is pretty straightforward but just for fun I’m going to split my favorites out into their own posts. Get a batch brewing in your fridge then check back next Wednesday for my most-used “recipe”!

PS – I don’t get anything if you purchase those products; I just really love them!

Cold Brew Coffee 101

Makes about 1.5 quarts

Ingredients

6 oz ground coffee (about 2 cups, regular drip grind or slight coarser)
Cold water

Suggested Equipment

2-quart CoffeeSock Kit
Brew Armor lid

Directions

  1. Drape a CoffeeSock over the edge of your Mason jar and fill with 6 oz of ground coffee.
  2. Slowly stream cold water through the grounds until the jar is full. Do not try to do this quickly, just let it slowly soak through the coffee.
  3. Tie off the CoffeeSock (or cheesecloth) so the grounds stay contained, then put the lid on the Mason jar.
  4. Place in the fridge for 2-4 days, I like to put a sticky note with the date I started brewing onto the jar. Occasionally flip the jar upside down to better circulate the water inside.
  5. When coffee has reached your desired strength (I usually do around 3 days, sometimes as many as 5 depending on how full life is at the moment), remove the CoffeeSock from the jar and squeeze to get as much of that extra strength coffee back into your jar as you can.
  6. Discard grounds into the trash (or your garden), thoroughly rinse the cloth, and hang to dry.
  7. Return coffee to fridge until ready to enjoy. Recommend a Brew Armor lid or similar for easy pouring!

Notes

Works great for sun tea though!

Bulletproof Coffee (Pods)

One of the biggest struggles of long distance running is nutrition. It’s a constant experiment to see what works best for your body. Running on an empty stomach vs with a light snack; fueling mid-run; post-workout energy boosts; all a matter of preference and can vary by day and type of run.

Running

For me, I can run on an empty stomach (minus coffee…I do love coffee) if it’s a shortish morning run and I don’t have a lot of time to kill between waking up and starting to run. Contrastingly, on half marathon race days I need to eat a pretty full meal to keep me satiated but not overstuffed, and even then I often need 100-200 calories during the race. As I become a stronger and faster runner I find I need less to keep me going, but it’s still something I play with a lot during training runs or the “off”-season.

Once per week I run up a set of hills near the office. The usual route is only 4.3 miles (unless I add onto it to align with a training plan) but if I push myself it’s a pretty challenging 40+ minutes. I’ve discovered I *can* run the course without eating but it’s a better workout if I have a little something. I’ve tried a number of the standard suggestions (a piece of toast; banana and peanut butter; etc) but they all made me feel a bit heavy and I never felt like I found *the* item that works the best for me. Enter: bulletproof coffee.

Bulletproof Coffee {[Baking Bytes}}

Although I don’t subscribe to any specific diet, I often read about them out of curiosity or to see if there are any pieces I want to pull into my own life. Bulletproof coffee comes from the Bulletproof Diet, which is a high-fat and low-carb situation. I was not inclined to take up the diet itself, but after reading about the coffee and people who had tried it, it intrigued me as maybe a good pre-run snack.

Since I always drink coffee before running anyway, this kills two birds with one stone by getting my calories and my coffee all in one. Since it’s liquid, it doesn’t make my stomach feel heavy, and the ~200 calories is a good amount of energy for me. Coffee blended with butter and coconut oil sounds, frankly, pretty terrible, but surprisingly it tastes more like a really creamy and mild latte than actual butter and oil.

Bulletproof Coffee {[Baking Bytes}}

Using a blender is key here, whisking or stirring by hand won’t work to properly blend everything together. I like to use slightly stronger coffee than normal, and add a dash (heap) of cinnamon because I love cinnamon. It also fits nicely into my Mindful Eating challenge, as it’s something that not only I enjoy drinking, but it makes me feel solid for running.

For me this would never be a regular breakfast substitute, and I eat another smallish breakfast after I run (toast or oatmeal with peanut butter and banana, usually), but it works great for an early morning pre-workout energy boost. I found I preferred slightly less than a 1:1 ratio of oil to butter, so definitely play with the ratios a little. Feel free to make your pods smaller if you typically drink less coffee in the morning, or just don’t need quite that many calories to fuel your early morning activities.

Bulletproof Coffee {[Baking Bytes}}

If you’re an AM exerciser looking for a lighter way to rev up your cardio sessions, and you like coffee, I highly recommend you give bulletproof coffee a try. I like to make the pods ahead of time so there’s no measuring required the morning of running, but until you figure out your perfect ratio you can always make them individually – just make sure your coconut oil and butter are chilled and solid before blending.

Bulletproof Coffee Pods
Makes 8 pods

Ingredients

1/2 cup unsalted butter
7-8 Tbsp coconut oil

Directions

  1. Melt butter and coconut oil in a microwave safe container and stir to combine.
  2. Divide between 8 wells of a silicon tray or ice-cube tray.
  3. Freeze until firm (or overnight), then remove pods from tray. Store in the freezer until ready to use (or in the fridge if you’ll use them fairly quickly.)

Notes

I preferred it with 7 Tbsp of coconut oil for a slightly richer taste, so feel free to play with the ratios a little.

Bulletproof Coffee 
Makes 1 serving

Ingredients

10-12 oz hot coffee
1 bulletproof pod (above)

dash of cinnamon, nutmeg, etc (optional)

Directions

  1. Optionally, add a dash of spice to a mug.
  2. Add coffee and bulletproof pod to a blender, and blend until extra frothy (about 15 seconds).
  3. Pour blended coffee carefully into mug to stir in the cinnamon, then enjoy immediately.

Coffee Fudge Ripple Ice Cream {National Ice Cream Month}

[Welcome! In case you missed it, this month is National Ice Cream month. Each Wednesday I am sharing a new ice cream recipe for the entire month of July. If you missed the first three recipes, they can be found herehere, and here.]

If you’re not a coffee drinker, you probably just want to skip this one. But if you do like coffee, then boy do I have the recipe for you.

Coffee ice cream is actually something I’ve been ruminating on for quite a while, but wasn’t quite ready to take the plunge. I am not fond of the way instant coffee tastes and I wasn’t thrilled at the idea of buying yet another extract. Obviously the ground coffee I already buy was the answer, but it seemed like a more intimidating adventure than I was prepared for so I put it off for several months. However, the heat wave we had in June reminded me of iced coffee, which reminded me of coffee ice cream, which inspired me to peruse Pinterest for methods.

Coffee Fudge Ripple Ice Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

While instant coffee was by far the most common, I immediately wrote off any recipes that employed it. I saw several that brewed coffee milk as the first step, which seemed promising, so I decided to give it ago. Since I typically use half and half in my recipes, that’s what I tried first. Unfortunately it was too thick for the coffee to brew well, and was nearly impossible to squeeze out of the grounds without breaking the coffee filters.

Coffee Fudge Ripple Ice Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

Take 2: Whole milk. This worked fabulously and was surprisingly easy. One of my batches I accidentally left brewing closer to an hour. This made it incredibly strong but since I like strong flavors, I was thrilled with this outcome. Feel free to taste test yours at the 30-minute mark and maybe leave it in a little longer if it tastes too weak to you. Bear in mind, however, that it’ll taste somewhat stronger once it’s in ice cream form. This seems counter-intuitive but it’s the experience I had so I thought I would pass on the knowledge.

Coffee Fudge Ripple Ice Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

By itself, this recipe tastes like an extra creamy, rather sweeter latte. Very smooth and absolutely fabulous on its own, but for visual interest and to go a bit more the mocha route, I added a small chocolate ripple to my batches. This is absolutely not necessary but it is extremely delicious, so I included the recipe and method for this below. Long-time readers will recognize it from last year’s Peanut Butter Fudge Ripple recipe. Add more or less chocolate to suit your preferences, or just make the recipe to use as a topping on the fly.

Coffee Fudge Ripple Ice Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

As a note, I found this recipe froze harder due to its lower fat and sugar than my usual concoction. To combat this, I added a little Kahlúa to my recipe. This is 100% optional but makes the ice cream much easier to dish straight out of the freezer as well as kicking up the coffee flavor a notch. You could also use vodka if you don’t want any added flavor, or basically any alcohol or liqueur of your choice. Baileys or vanilla would be a great addition if you want to switch up the experience a bit.

Chocolate-covered espresso beans make for a lovely, crunchy topping, as well as giving people a hint to the flavor they’re about to enjoy.

Coffee Fudge Ripple Ice Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

If for some reason you’re not a coffee fan but have still made it this far into the post, make sure you check back next week for a totally different taste experience.

Coffee Ice Cream 

Makes ~6 cups

Ingredients

1 cup whole milk (not half and half; 2% is okay if you must)
1/2 cup ground coffee

3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup egg substitute
1-2 Tbsp alcohol, optional

Directions

  1. Place coffee in a sealed coffee filter, cheesecloth, etc. so the grounds don’t get in your ice cream. I used a clip to keep a regular coffee filter closed around the grounds, using one filter per 1/4 cup of coffee.
  2. In a small saucepan, heat milk on medium until it just starts to boil, then remove from heat. Place coffee (in filter!) in the milk and allow to steep for about at least 30 minutes. Remove coffee (and any escaped grounds), squeezing grounds gently to release the most flavorful milk.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients with coffee milk until completely combined.
  4. Cover bowl and chill in the refrigerator at least 8 hours, or overnight.
  5. Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s directions, then place in a freezer-safe bowl to freeze for an additional three hours, or overnight. Or follow fudge ripple ice cream recipe below.
  6. Top with chocolate-covered espresso beans for some extra flair and a little crunch.

Notes

1 You could use decaf if you’re concerned about the caffeine at night, I used it in my second batch and it was just great. Regardless of caffeine content, pick a coffee you like to drink since the flavor is very prominent.

I found that with the reduced fat and sugar from my usual recipe the ice cream froze a lot harder. The easiest way to fix this is to add alcohol, so that’s what I did. I used 2 Tbsp of Kahlúa which not only kicked up the coffee flavor an extra notch, but made it possible to dish the ice cream straight out of the freezer. If you’re using straight alcohol (e.g. vodka) 1 Tbsp is probably enough, if you’re using a liqueur (e.g. Kahlúa, Baileys) then the full two is probably better. Or, add up to 1/4 cup if you want the added flavoring to shine through.

Fudge Ripple

Borrowed from Brown Eyed Baker
Makes 1+ cups1

Ingredients

½ cup sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup
½ cup water
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder2

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together all ingredients except vanilla. Cook over medium heat, whisking often, until the sauce comes to a low boil.
  2. Continue cooking for another minute, whisking almost continuously.
  3. Remove sauce from the heat, stir in the vanilla, and let cool in the pot for several minutes.
  4. Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before using in ice cream.

Notes

The quantity varies depending on cooking time, in my experience. I used about 1/2 cup in my ice cream and put the rest in the fridge to use later. You can also freeze it but you may need to take it out for a bit before it becomes pourable.

The original recipe calls for Dutch-processed cocoa powder but I just used Hershey’s because that’s what I always have on hand. I used one tablespoon dark cocoa powder and the rest regular.

Fudge Ripple Ice Cream

Ingredients

1 recipe ice cream of choice, chilled but not churned
1 recipe of fudge ripple (above), chilled

Directions

  1. If you haven’t already, place a freezer-safe bowl in the freezer.
  2. Freeze ice cream according to your ice cream maker’s directions.
  3. Remove bowl from freezer, and drizzle some chocolate sauce on the bottom.
  4. Gently spread about one cup of ice cream into the bowl, and top with another drizzle of chocolate sauce. Avoid stirring or the ice cream will look muddy. Repeat with remaining ice cream (you may have sauce leftover), finishing with a sauce drizzle on top. Pro tip: end with just a small drizzle on top or it could mix together once the lid is on.
  5. Return bowl to freezer for about 3 hours, or until ice cream is firm.