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Coffee - Book Review

Scrumptious Drinks and Treats

by Betty Rosbottom

(Chronicle Books, 2007)

Coffee: Scrumptious Drinks and Treats by Betty Rosbottom

Betty Rosbottom’s Coffee: Scrumptious Drinks and Treats is a delightful read for any coffee aficionado. The book begins by providing the reader with general information and tips about coffee beans, coffee equipment, and the drink itself. Following the introduction, Rosbottom splits the book into two sections: beverages and treats. The standard types of coffee beverages such as Cappuccinos and Caffe Macchiatos are included as expected, and Rosbottom additionally inserts exotic drinks like Holiday Spiced Coffee with Brandied Whipped Cream, New Orleans Café Brulot, and Espresso Martinis. Similarly, the “Treats” section includes recipes for the usual cookies and biscotti, along with recipes for desserts like Walnut Orange Cake with Orange-Cream Cheese Frosting. She adds a twist on an old favorite with a recipe for Individual Tiramisus, perfect to accompany a single cup of coffee.

Whether the reader is thinking about planning a sit-down party for ten, a romantic date for two, or a chat with good friends, Rosbottom’s recipes and concoctions will help formulate beverage and treat ideas for any event.  It may have been useful for the reader to have accompanying food pairing options or suggested menus, but the lack of menu pairings allows enthusiastic baristas more room to experiment.

Reviewed by Tashiya Gunesekera


Holiday Spiced Coffee with Brandied Whipped Cream

Stirring fragrant spices — cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg — into ground coffee before brewing it produces an enticing beverage with an alluring aroma and a seductive flavor. Dollops of brandy-scented whipped cream mounded atop cups of this spiced brew make a decadent garnish. Add a minute sprinkling of ground spices if you wish! Although this special coffee is good any day of the year, I love to serve it during the holiday as a memorable finale to a Christmas or New Year's brunch.

Makes eight 5 1/2 ounce servings

3/4 cup heavy or whipping cream
1 1/2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar

1 tablespoon brandy
1/2 cup freshly ground coffee, preferably a mild roast such as Colombian (see Note)

2 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
5 1/2 cups cold water

With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the cream in a medium bowl until it starts to mound softly, then beat in the confectioners' sugar and brandy. Continue beating until it is just firm. If not using it right away, cover the bowl of whipped cream with plastic wrap and refrigerate it. (The whipped cream can be prepared 1 day ahead.)  

To brew the coffee, use a drip-style coffeepot (preferably an automatic drip coffeemaker) and line the filter cup with a paper filter. Put the coffee, cardamom, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in the filter. Mix gently with a spoon to combine the spices with the coffee. Add the water to the water chamber, and brew accordingly to the manufacturer's directions.

To serve, pour the coffee into 8 warm cups and garnish each cup with a generous dollop of the whipped cream. The cream will melt as it floats on top. Serve immediately.

Dark-roast coffee doesn't work as well with the spices in this recipe. Colombian or another mild coffee works best.

(Updated: 11/21/12 DM)

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