Coffee-infused dessert adds a shot of energy to the end of a meal

At some point in my life I’ve had to give up spices, sweets, carbs, red wine, nuts and, years ago, smoking. I’ve been able to deal with all of those sacrifices, but I know that relinquishing coffee would be insurmountable unhappiness. My coffee addiction started very early in life as my bubbe always shared her “no sugar or cream” thick black drink with me as she dunked and ate her beloved mandelbrot.

Physical addiction aside, I find coffee the most pleasurable beverage in the world. That first cup of steaming black coffee upon waking makes the responsibilities of a new day seem easier to navigate and the nocturnal monsters of my mind seem to vanish. Its seductive, distinctive aroma lures me out of bed and into a pleasant ambience.

Today, decaf coffee tastes every bit as good as its caffeine-loaded sister and can be a delicious way to end an evening meal without worrying about wakefulness. Try it with a piece of dark chocolate and I promise you will be a dessert-coffee convert.

Of course, coffee partners well with cookies, pies and cakes and if added to a dough, filling or batter, intensifies the sweet flavors with its mysterious taste. So for those of you who love a cup of coffee with your dessert, how about some coffee in your dessert? It doesn’t get much better than this.

Brunette Blondies

Makes 9 squares

1⁄2 cup butter or margarine, melted

3 Tbs. instant espresso powder

1 cup tightly packed dark brown sugar

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 tsp. vanilla

1 cup all-purpose flour

1⁄8 tsp. baking soda

1⁄2 tsp. baking powder

pinch of salt

1⁄2 cup coarsely chopped chocolate-covered coffee beans

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter and flour an 8-by-8 pan. Whisk together the melted butter, espresso powder and brown sugar in a bowl. Add the egg and vanilla extract and whisk. Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt, and mix it all together. Add the chocolate coffee beans.

Pour into the pan and spread evenly. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool. Cut into squares and serve.

“Cream in Your Coffee” Pie

Serves 10 to 12


20 Oreo cookies

5 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted


2 oz. unsweetened chocolate

1⁄2 cup sugar

1 Tbs. unsalted butter

2⁄3 cup evaporated milk

2 pints coffee ice cream, softened

1 cup heavy or whipping cream

2 Tbs. coffee liqueur

Crush Oreos in a food processor to a fine crumb consistency. Add melted butter and mix well. Press mixture into bottom of a 10-inch pie pan. Freeze.

Melt chocolate, sugar, butter and milk in the top of a double boiler. Cook over boiling water until sauce thickens slightly, stirring continuously. Cool.

Spread softened ice cream carefully onto crust. Return to freezer. Whip cream with liqueur until stiff, but not dry. Pour cooled chocolate sauce evenly over ice cream, then spread whipped cream topping over chocolate sauce. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze 4 hours or overnight. Remove pie from freezer 20 minutes before serving.

Louise Fiszer is a Palo Alto cooking teacher, author and the co-author of “Jewish Holiday Cooking.” Her columns alternate with those of Rebecca Ets-Hokin. Questions and recipe ideas can be sent to j. or to [email protected].