When looking for something 'different' to serve for dessert, I tend to go for something coffee-based. After all, it's a versatile ingredient and one that's found in every kitchen.
Instant coffee can do in most cases and is used for creating rich pastes that can be added to icings, cake batters or cookies. But ground coffee is better, especially if you're creating a sauce.
Whole coffee beans have the maximum flavour. So, for best results, roast the beans in an oven for a few minutes.
Instant coffee powder and instant espresso are a must in every kitchen as they add flavour immediately without needing any roasting or grinding. You can mix a little powder into a pastry cream while it's warm to give a coffee flavour to any dessert.
Coffee liqueurs are another great option. You can jazz up a simple dessert with Kahl'a and Tia Maria. Because the alcohol-based flavours diminish when cooked, you should add liqueurs to desserts only after they're cooked.
Coffee works well with chocolate, caramel and also acidic flavours like orange and lemon. It also tastes great with desserts like custards, ice cream, light mousses, as well as with a shot of spirits like armagnac and vodka.
If you want to change a recipe by adding coffee, the trick is to do it without adding any additional liquid. Try infusing cream or milk with whole beans or ground coffee before straining; use a tiny shot of strong espresso; or make a paste with a teaspoon of instant coffee and a little water. Coffee for flavouring should be at least twice as strong as coffee you would drink.
Ingredients: 2 cups flour; 3/4 tsp baking powder; 1/4 tsp salt; 1/4 tsp baking soda; 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar; 11/2 tbs finely-ground coffee beans; 8 tbs cold butter, cubed; 1/3 cup cream; 1 tsp vanilla essence; 1/3 cup cold double-strength coffee; 1 tsp packed light brown sugar; 1 tsp sugar
Method: Heat oven to 350'F. Mix flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, 2/3 cup brown sugar and coffee beans. Add butter and mix on low speed with a whisk until the pieces of butter are the size of marbles. Add cream, vanilla and cold espresso and continue mixing until the dough comes together. Pat dough onto an ungreased baking sheet into a round about 6 inches in diameter. Mix 1 tsp brown sugar with white sugar, and sprinkle the mix on the round lightly. Cut it into 8 triangles. Bake until firm but springy for about 40-50 mins. Remove from oven and cool. Cut into wedges along the lines.