Help with coffee extract versus coffee reduction

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jasonr

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I have a recipe calling for coffee reduction, which the book defines as coffee produced at 5 times normal intensity, and then boiled to half. Unfortunately, I have no coffee maker, and no interest in making coffee. However, I do have coffee extract. My question is, how do I convert between the two? I have a suspicion that it would be appropriate to reduce the amount of coffee extract, but by how much? The recipe offers mocha paste as a substitute, (which is impossible to find anywhere) at 1/12 the quantity of coffee reduction. Is coffee extract comparable to mocha paste? What should I do? (I have already e-mailed the jerks at Flavorganics, the makers of my coffee extract, and they never bothered e-mailing me back)
 

PA Baker

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jasonr, how much reduction does your recipe call for? My concern in the possible substitution would be that if the recipe needs some liquid, using a small amount of the extract may not be sufficient moisture. How about making and reducing instant coffee or espresso?
 

marmalady

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Jason, coffee extract is already a 'reduced' concentrated flavor. How much of a coffee reduction does the recipe call for?

You could also buy some instant espresso, make it by the jar measurements, and then reduce that.
 

jasonr

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The recipe calls for 2 TBSP coffee reduction, or 1/2 tsp mocha paste. Clearly, the quantity of liquid is not significant here.

As for the instant coffee, I guess I could do that, even though the recipe specifically says not to. But since I was already willing to break the recipe by using coffee extract, it wouldn't make much sense to oppose using instant coffee. Coincidentally, I actually have some instant expresso coffee in my cupboard for some reason. However, it doesn't give any detailed instruction on how to make the coffee. What the heck does 1 teaspoon for each "demitasse" cup of water mean?! I am guessing this means 1 tsp for a half cup of water, but why not just say so? Also, how do I make coffee? I don't have a coffee machine; can I make coffee without one? Oh, and isn't Expresso already strong coffee? How do I know what the right proportion is compared to regular coffee?

Maybe I should just forget about the coffee, since I have already made the recipe successfully without it. Unless I can be exact in the ratios, I don't want to risk ruining an outstanding cookie recipe.
 

jasonr

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Correction: the recipe calls for coffee brewed at 10 times the normal strength. Also, it is emphatic about not using instant coffee. I don't think it would be wise to break the recipe. I would rather just omit the coffee altogether.
 

Audeo

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Jason, if you're called to reduce a 10X strength of coffee, omitting it is going to be removing one heck of a prominent flavor in whatever it is you're making.

I'd say to go to your nearest Starbucks and get a double-shot of espresso...and reduce that. It may not be 10X strength, but trust me, it's close.

I'm dying to know what you're making here!
 

jasonr

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They're called triple indulgence chocolate cookies, and they are easily the best cookies I have ever tasted, even without the coffee reduction. Every time I make them, people go nuts, and tell me the same, so I'm not exaggerating about this recipe.

The book I got it from (The Professional Pastry Chef by Bo Friberg) is a little nuts about quantities, (the recipe makes 80 cookies) so I usually scale things down to 1/4. Although the book tells you to use powdered sugar to prevent the dough from sticking when you shape the logs, I dislike the white blemishes this creates, so I prefer to roll the logs on plastic wrap, which guarantees a minimum of sticking, and makes it easier to wrap the logs prior to refrigeration. Sweet dark chocolate and true cake flour are difficult to find, so I substitute bittersweet chocolate and cake/pastry flour, respectively. The walnuts can be omitted to no ill-effect, depending on your preference.

This is my favorite cookie recipe, and if you dare sully it by using bad quality chocolate to make it (Baker's brand, for example) I'll know, and I will come to your home and administer a major ass whupping, until you learn :twisted:

1 Pound (455 g) sweet dark chocolate
6 Ounces (170 g) unsweetened chocolate
3 ounces (85 g) unsalted butter
5 eggs
14 ounces (400 g) granulated sugar
1/2 tsp (3 g) mocha paste or 2 TBSP (30 ml) coffee reduction
1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla extract
3 ounces (85 g) cake flour
2 tsp (8 g) baking powder
1 tsp (5 g) salt
8 ounces (225 g) dark chocolate chips
8 ounces (225 g) white chocolate, coarsely chopped
6 ounces (170 g) chopped walnuts

1. Chop the unsweetened and dark chocolate into small pieces and melt with the butter over simmering water.
2. Whip eggs and granulated sugar at high speed until light and fluffy. Blend in the mocha paste or coffee reduction and the vanilla. Fold the egg mixture into the melted chocolate.
3. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, chocolate chips, chopped white chocolate, and walnuts. Add to the chocolate and egg mixture and stir just until combined. Refrigerate the dough until it is firm enough to handle.
4. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces, approximately 1 pound 2 ounces (510 g) each. Roll each piece into a rope, 16 inches (40 cm) long, using powdered sugar on your work surface to prevent sticking. Refrigerate the ropes until they are firm.
5. Using a sharp serrated knife, cut each rope into 20 equal pieces. Place the cookies, cut-side down on sheet pans lined with baking paper or silpats.
6. Bake the cookies, double panned, at 375 degrees F (190 C) for about 10 to 12 minutes. The cookies should be baked just until the sides are barely firm, with the centres remaining soft and gooey.
 

jasonr

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I take it you've tried it before, heh. These cookies are my secret weapon; no one can resist their power...
 

marmalady

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Jason, looks like a great recipe - but one question - if these cookes are your 'secret weapon' - does that mean you've made them before? What have you used in the past?

Using instant espresso in recipes is done by many, many 'top' pastry chefs all over the world. It's easy, convenient, and gives you a real coffee 'pumch'. It's a totally 'valid' way to get intense coffee flavor into a recipe. The directions on your jar are correct; a demitasse cup is less than 1/2 cup, tho; I'm thinking maybe more 1/4 to 1/3 of a cup.
 

jasonr

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Apr 8, 2004
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Yes, I have made them many times, omitting the coffee reduction/mocha paste entirely.

It's not that I don't think the instant can work, it's just that I have no way to know what the correct amount to use is. "Demitasse" literally means half cup, but how am I to know what amount expresso to use in place of 10x regular coffee? In any case, the cookies are awesome without the coffee, so I guess it's no big deal if I never get to taste them with it.
 

marmalady

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Okay - I'm lousy at math, but see if this makes sense -

You're using 1/2 cup ad a 'demitasse' measurement; there are 8 tablespoons in 1/2 cup. You need 2 tablespoons of the 'reduction' for your recipe, right? So, make 1/2 cup of the espresso as the jar directions say, put it on the stove and reduce it to 2 tablespoons.

Does that make sense? :?
 

jasonr

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Apr 8, 2004
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Your theory only works if we assume that a mixture of 1x expresso reduced to 1/4 is equivalent in strength to a mixture of 10x regular, reduced by 1/2. Without knowing the relative strength of the expresso compared to the regular, this is a total shot in the dark; it might be too weak, or it might be overkill.
 

marmalady

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But you'll never know til you try, right? :LOL: Sorry, Jason, I'm just not that much of a chemist. When I'm hit with a quandry like this, I do one of two things - brain freeze, or - make the recipe one way - if I don't like it, I make notes and change it the next time I make it.
 
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