04 October 2011

Tastemakers invitation: Peet's Café Domingo blend

As a Foodbuzz blogger, I am occasionally invited to participate in a program called Tastemakers, in which a sponsoring product will give me free stuff in exchange for a blog post about said product.  I did this recently with Sargento cheese because I like cheese and free things, but as you can see from my post, it was a little awkward for me.

But when Peet's Coffee sent me an invitation, I jumped at it.  I love Peet's; it's the coffee we most prefer in my house, when it's not too expensive.  I loved the story of Alfred Peet as I learned it in Taylor Clark's informative and entertaining book, Starbucked.  In Clark's recitation of American coffee history, Alfred Peet is the cranky old immigrant in Berkeley, California who reluctantly agrees to apprentice the two scruffy graduate students who would late found a certain big-name coffee shop.  That part's not important.  Peet's coffee was revolutionary in the 1970s, when America was still accustomed to weak, insipid drip coffee served in styrofoam cups for 50 cents in doughnut shops.  After reading about it, I went to find some at my local grocery store, and I've been a fan ever since.  I am also generally a fan of stories about cranky old men, but I'm planning to see someone about that.

Well, I digress, but what I got in the mail was two new medium roast blends and a request to create some recipes for foods that would pair well with each.  My next post will cover more savory recipes to accompany Peet's Café Solano; this post concerns Peet’s Café Domingo, which is described as having "hints of toffee sweetness" (and boy, does it!).

I preferred this new blend to be made quite strong, probably because I'm accustomed to drinking the darkest thing I can find.  It is pleasant, but the caramel flavor I detected limited it, in my opinion, to being appropriate for sweet foods.  I instantly thought the fresh nectarines we had in the kitchen would work perfectly the first morning I tried Peet’s Café Domingo, and I was right.  I also wondered about my favorite sweet nut, almond, and created a variation on my mom's shortbread recipe to go with this blend.  Both work well as pairings with this coffee. There's also a bonus pumpkin-invaded recipe, because it's October and I like to be trendy, which compliments the toffee-ness of this coffee blend.

Breakfast Sundae

It’s so simple, I feel guilty typing this up as a recipe, but it makes me happy every morning.  I know I need to eat breakfast to avoid snacking on Doritos by 10am, but waking up enough to actually think about what to make is a daunting task by the time the coffee is done.  This is easily produced, delicious, and covers most of the nutritional bases to get me through to lunch.  Use whatever fruit is in season.

Serves 1:

1 peach or nectarine, washed and cut into approx. ½ inch pieces
1/3 cup yogurt (I prefer Greek style vanilla or honey flavors)
¼ cup granola
Some almond slices

In a bowl, layer in this order: peaches, yogurt, granola., almond slices.  Enjoy with a medium-bodied coffee like Peet’s Café Domingo.

Toasted Almond Oatmeal Shortbread

This is a slight modification of my mom's Oatmeal Shortbread recipe, so lovingly described here.  The toasted almonds bring out the toffee flavor of Peet’s Café Domingo, I think.

Makes about 5 dozen pieces.  

1 cup unsalted butter
½ cup white sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
1 ½ cups flour
3.4 teaspoon salt
1 cup quick oats
½ cup slivered almonds.

Preheat oven at 325°F.  In a dry pan over medium heat, toast the slivered almonds, shaking the pan often,  until they begin to turn golden and become fragrant (about 4 minutes).  Remove from heat and reserve.

Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl.  Gradually add the flour, oats, toasted almonds, and salt.  Press into a greased 13x9x2 pan.   Bake for 30-35 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges.  Cool 10 minutes before cutting into squares.

And finally...

Pumpkin Harvest Muffins

Because it's October...and I succumbed to the pumpkin trend...

Makes 24 muffins or 2 bread loaves
1 cup white sugar
2 c. brown sugar
1 can (15 oz.) cooked pumpkin
4 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup canola oil
2/3 cup water
2 cups unbleached white flour
1 cup whole grain wheat flour
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 ½ cups dried cranberries
2 tablespoons flax seeds
½ cup chopped dark chocolate (Ghirardelli’s baking bar, for example)

Preheat oven to 350˚F.  Combine sugar, pumpkin, eggs, vanilla, oil, and water; mix well.  In a separate bowl, combine flours, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and flax seeds; add to egg mixture and stir well.  Stir in nuts, chocolate, and cranberries until well incorporated.

Pour batter into two medium-sized muffin pans (12 muffins each) or two bread loaf pans.  For muffins, bake approx. 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a muffin comes out clean.  For bread pans, bake 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of loaf comes out clean.