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Celebrate gourmet coffee all month

Stephanie Taylor | Interrobang | Lifestyles | January 23rd, 2006

It's a little known fact that January is Coffee Gourmet International Month. That's right, it is a time to celebrate deliciously decadent coffee in every way you can.

Although many of us salute coffee all year long, make January a time to pay special attention to your caffeine addiction with some of these delicious coffee-inspired recipes.

Cappuccino Brownies
2 bags chocolate chips
1/4 cup instant coffee

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups white sugar
8 eggs
3 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt

2 cups all-purpose flour
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease and flour four 8x8-inch baking pans.

Place the chocolate chips and the coffee granules in a double boiler over simmering water. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until melted and smooth. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs two at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in vanilla, cinnamon, and salt, then mix in the melted chocolate. Mix in flour until just blended. Divide the batter equally into the prepared pans, and spread smooth.

Bake for 35 minutes in preheated oven, or until the edges pull from the sides of the pans. Cool on a wire rack. Cover, and refrigerate for 8 hours. Cut the cold brownies into bars to serve.

Coffee Shortbread Cookies
1/2 cup finely ground almonds
1 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons instant coffee powder
3/4 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup granulated sugar for decoration
In large bowl combine almonds, flour, confectioners' sugar and coffee. Cut in the butter and mix together until well blended. Shape dough into a ball, wrap in foil or plastic and refrigerate for at least half an hour.

On lightly floured surface roll chilled dough to about 1/4 inch thickness. Cut with 2-inch cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet and sprinkle tops with granulated sugar.

Bake 10-12 minutes in a preheated 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) oven or until edges are just firm. Remove from sheet. Cool cookies on wire rack.

Tiramisu Cheesecake
1 (12 oz) package ladyfingers

4 tablespoons butter, melted
4 tablespoons coffee liqueur
3 (8 oz) packages cream cheese
1 (8 oz) container mascarpone cheese
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
4 tablespoons flour
1 (1 oz) square semisweet chocolate
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Place a pan of water on the bottom of oven.

Crush the package of ladyfingers to fine crumbs. Mix the melted butter into the crumbs. Moisten with 2 tablespoons of the coffee liqueur. Press into an 8- or 9-inch springform pan.

In a large bowl, mix cream cheese, mascarpone, and sugar until very smooth. Add 2 tablespoons coffee liqueur, and mix. Add the eggs and the flour; mix SLOWLY until just smooth. The consistency of the mascarpone can vary. If the cheesecake batter is too thick, add a little cream. Do not overmix at this point. Pour batter into crust.

Place pan on middle rack of oven. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until just set. Open oven door, and turn off the heat. Leave cake to cool in oven for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, and let it finish cooling. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or overnight, before serving.

Irish Coffee
1 1/2 oz Bailey's Irish Cream
Hot black coffee
Whipped cream
Stir coffee and Bailey's together in a glass mug. Top with a generous amount of whipped cream and serve.
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