Coffee, one of the world’s favorite beverages, has a mysterious past…
Although coffee’s origin is still unclear it is known that the history of coffee begins at least as far back as the thirteenth century. Even though there is no direct evidence, it is believed that ancient Ethiopians might have first recognized the energizing effect of the coffee bean plant. But there are legends of how coffee was discovered. On account talks about the Yemenite Sufi mystic Ghothul Akbar Nooruddin who was traveling in Ethiopia. He observed birds of unusual vitality and , upon trying the berries that the birds had been eating, experienced the same vitality.
Another story talks about a goat-herd Kaldi, who noticed the energizing effects when his flock nibbled on the bright red berries of a certain bush. After chewing on the berries himself and becoming energized, he took them to a Muslim holy man in a nearby monastery. This holy man disapproved of them and threw them into the fire. When the beans began to roast an enticing aroma filled the room. The roasted beans were quickly raked from the embers, ground up, and dissolved in hot water. And like magic – the world’s first cup of Joe! But these are only legends.
In the Sufi monasteries of the Yemen in southern Arabia about the middle of the fifteenth century, can be found the earliest solid evidence of coffee drinking and knowledge of the coffee plant. It was in Yemen that coffee beans were first roasted and brewed as they are today. From there, coffee spread to Egypt and North Africa, and by the 16th century, it had reached the rest of the Middle East, Persia and Turkey. From the Muslim world, coffee drinking spread to Italy, then to the rest of Europe, and coffee plants were transported by the Dutch to the East Indies and to the Americas.
Ice cream is a great treat anytime – try this fun and easy recipe when you crave ice cream and chocolate with your coffee…
Chocolate Cupcake Ice Cream Sandwiches
6 purchased or homemade unfrosted chocolate cupcakes
2 to 3 cups chocolate chip or mocha ice cream
1 10-oz. jar maraschino cherries, drained and chopped (1/2 cup)
1/3 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1/3 cup seedless raspberry jam
1. Remove papers, if present, and slice cupcakes in half horizontally. Place cupcakes on a tray or baking sheet lined with waxed paper. Cover with waxed paper; freeze for 1 hour. Line another tray or shallow baking pan with waxed paper. Using a miniature ice cream scoop (#60, about 2 teaspoons), place 18 to 24 scoops of ice cream on prepared tray. Cover with waxed paper; freeze for 1 hour.
2. Meanwhile, in small bowl combine chopped cherries, pecans and jam.
3. For each serving, place cupcake bottom in a dessert dish. Top with 2 to 3 scoops of ice cream. Top with cherry mixture, cupcake top and remaining scoops of ice cream. Makes 6 servings.
Here’s a simple twist on a holiday treat that might just become a family tradition…
1/4 cup ground coffee, any variety
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 Tbsp. sugar
2-1/2 cups cold water
1 cup eggnog, warmed
1/2 cup thawed Cool Whip topping or whipped cream
Place coffee in filter in brew basket of coffee maker; sprinkle with nutmeg. Place sugar in empty pot of coffee maker. Add water to coffee maker; brew. When brewing is complete, stir in eggnog.
Pour into 4 cups; top with whipped topping. Enjoy!
For a cool coffee treat try this smoothie recipe….
1 cup fat-free milk
1 medium banana, peeled, cut into 1/2 –inch slices, and frozen
1 to 2 tablespoons sugar or honey
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons instant coffee crystals
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 cup small ice cubes or crushed ice
In a blender combine milk, banana, sugar, cocoa powder, coffee crystals, and vanilla. Cover and blend until smooth. Add ice cubes. Cover and blend until nearly smooth.
Makes 2 servings
Easy to make recipe – delicious with coffee anytime…
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup cooking oil
1-1/3 cups semisweet chocolate pieces
1 cup chopped cashews or hazelnuts
1/2 tsp shortening
Coarsely shopped cashews or hazelnuts (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease bottom and 1/2 inch up sides of an 8x4x2-inch loaf pan; set aside. In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in center of flour mixture; set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, beat egg with a fork; stir in milk and oil. Add egg misture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpu). Fold in 1 cup of the chocolate pieces and the 1 cup cashews.
3. Spoon batter into prepared pan; spread evenly. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
4. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack. Wrap and store overnight.
5. Before serving, in a small saucepan, combine remaining 1/3 cup chocolate pieces and the shortening. Heat and stir over low heat until milted and smoothe. Drizzle chocolate mixture over loaf. If desired, sprinkel addtional coarsely chopped cashews or hazelnuts on top. Let stand until chocolate is set.
Makes 1 loaf (14 servings)