Get The Sweet Nuttiness of Caramel Without Melting Sugar

Want to know something crazy? Sugar doesn’t melt; it undergoes thermal decomposition. That may sound like a pedantic distinction, considering we’ve all watched sugar effectively melt into a pool of caramel atop crème brûlée, but the implications are huge—worthy of far more explanation than a mere tl;dr.

Source: How to Make Rich, Flavorful Caramel Without Melting Sugar

This also makes your morning coffee, if you are the type that disturbs the holy sanctity of the black gift of the gods by adding anything to it, amazing flavor.

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The Best Dishes for Luxurious Make-Ahead Breakfasts/Brunch

As I was planning my Mother’s Day brunch a few weeks ago, I looked back through our tips and advice for making brunch ahead of time and discovered that we have written quite a lot on this topic over the years. What can I say — most of us aren’t morning people! When making brunch, we like to get a head start.

In case you’re planning your own Mother’s Day or graduation brunch, let me share some of our make-ahead advice with you, distilled into a few tips and recipe recommendations.

Source: Our Guide to the Make-Ahead Brunch

Quiche is a great make ahead breakfast, but I prefer a making a 10 egg crustless slow-cooker quiche/frittata on my day off and eating it over 3-5 days. It takes about 4 unattended hours on low heat but it comes out super light and fluffy.

The Science Behind a Good Cup of Coffee

Coffee is one of the most popular drinks worldwide, with countless cups of the dark, alluring elixir brewed up each day. And, lucky for those coffee-guzzlers out there, mounting data suggest it’s good for you; moderate coffee drinking has been linked to lowered risk of cardiovascular disease, liver diseases, diabetes, and an overall lowered risk of dying too soon.

But, as coffee-lovers happily continue sipping their morning fix with a dash of self-satisfaction, it’s worth noting that not every cup of coffee is equal. Brewed coffee can vary wildly in its flavor and chemical make-up, particularly the chemicals linked to health benefits. Everything that happens before the pour—from the bean selection, roast, grind, water, and brew method—can affect the taste and quality of a cup of joe.

So far, there’s little to no data on the health impact of drinking one type of coffee over another. In studies linking coffee to lowered risks of disease and death, researchers mostly clumped all coffee types together, even decaffeinated coffee, in some cases. But, there is a fair amount of data on individual components of coffee that are flavorful and beneficial—and how to squeeze as much them as possible into your mug. Here’s what the science says:

Source: The science behind a good cup of coffee

I see no point to decaffeinated coffee. It’s like having sex without an orgasm.

Creative and Delicious Ways to Repurpose “Extra” Easter Candy

Easter has passed and the bunny has come and gone, but the candy remains. You may have some leftovers, or you may—in your infinite wisdom—have hit up the clearance aisle to stock up on peanut butter eggs and hollow chocolate rabbits. Either way, here are some of the most delicious things you can do with your sweet haul besides just eating it.

Source: Creative and Delicious Ways to Repurpose “Extra” Easter Candy

Smores using a Cadbury Creme Egg and a Peep… 😀

Add a Boost of Flavor to Your Coffee By Grinding These Spices With the Beans

Sugar and syrups are a pretty standard way to add flavor to your coffee, but if you’re looking to add flavor and complexity without upping the sweetness, take a gander at your spice rack.

One of my least favorite habits is my tendency to buy a bottle of spices, use them once, and then let them sit on a shelf until they lose their flavor, potency, and dignity. Luckily, one of my favorite habits can help with this problem, as those “extra” spices are just begging to be brewed with coffee.

The process is super easy and requires no extra work on your part. (Which is great, because no one wants extra work in the morning.) Instead of grinding the spices and sprinkling them over your cup of caffeine, just grind them along with the beans and brew as usual. To find out which spices, seasonings, and flowers (yes, flowers!) would be good candidates, I raided my own semi-neglected spice rack and experimented.

Source: Add a Boost of Flavor to Your Coffee By Grinding These Spices With the Beans

Cleaning out the grinder only works for blade grinders. And blade grinders are not what you want to use for your coffee.  Two reasons: inconsistent grind and oil extraction. Both are extremely important to a good cup of coffee.

The more you get into coffee, the more it becomes a pain in the ass. The more you can taste it, the more you can taste what’s wrong with it. What used to be fantastic… is now inferior and rancid. Nothing is ever good enough. And there’s always a merchant to peddle you a solution.

So you need a steady supplier of the good stuff. Vacuum containers that attempt to stop time but eventually fail. Special upon special grinder that’s somehow never good enough. Oodles of machinery, always more expensive than the next, never as good as some Italian industrial apparatus but you keep trying.

This is not good enough so you start roasting your own beans, which is another arms race against dissatisfaction. Or looking for coffee that came out of the ass of a wildcat because it’s the most precious. On & on & on…

Upgrade a Batch of Chili With Cinnamon, Cocoa, or Even Coffee

Chili is personal, and you have your favorite recipe. I respect that. I’m not here to argue with your one true chili love.

But I would bet that there are some ways that you could make your tried-and-true recipe even better. I’m just talking about little things to add extra flavor here or give some richness there—small tweaks that, when tallied up, amount to a more fantastic chili.

Source: 10 Ways to Make Your Favorite Chili Recipe Even Better

Some will think cinnamon in chili is an abomination. And I like cinnamon. In ice cream. On apples. In chewing gum. But in chili?  It’s worth an experiment – cinnamon can do some interesting things in more savory dishes.

Study Suggests Drinking Coffee Might Reduce Liver Damage From Alcohol

There is a growing body of evidence that coffee may be good for your long-term health, reducing the risk of type II diabetes, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. According to one recent meta-study, it may also lower your risk of liver damage from boozing.

Source: Study Suggests Drinking Coffee Might Reduce Liver Damage From Alcohol

I’m always curious if these studies include cream, sugar… decaf. Do the benefits persist in spite of them, are the cons of the two in those quantities negligible, or do these controlled studies usually go for plain black coffee?

Nuff said.

Replace the Sugar in Your Coffee with a Chocolate Square for a Decadent Sweet Treat

Tips to Upgrade Your Coffee for embedded video.

Recap: Put the chocolate square, whether it’s plain chocolate, dark chocolate, or a decadent filled chocolate square (like salted caramel, shown in video at the page linked above) in the bottom of your mug. Then fill your mug with hot coffee. Give the chocolate a minute to melt, then mix it into the coffee with a few strong stirs.

Or… Dunk a scoop of ice cream in there.

Stop Buying Coffee Pods

It’s time! This week, news that Hamburg banned coffee pods from government buildings set off a larger conversation about why we’re still giving our money to companies like Keurig and Nespresso. Let’s be honest: It’s time for the whole world to stop buying coffee pods.

Source: Stop Buying Coffee Pods

A typical coffee pod has a few parts. The foil top, the coffee, a small filter, and the plastic cup. When you use, say, a Keurig disposable cup, you bring down a needle that injects the hot water into the coffee while a spike in the bottom punctures the bottom of the cup. The needle has a gasket that forms a seal on the foil top and the machine has a sensor to detect when too much water is being injected into the pod.

The reusable K-cup, for most consumer machines, is basically a shotglass with mesh sides. It’ll make coffee, but the coffee is much weaker than out of a disposable pod. You also don’t get the sensing mechanism, so you might overflow the machine.

TL;DR: The refillable pods are badly engineered.

Combine Ice Cream and Cold Brew For a Tasty Pick-Me-Up

The other afternoon I was struck by “that 2:30 feeling” and a hankering for something sweet at the same time. Being torn between the pint of cardamom ice cream in the freezer and the cold brew concentrate in the fridge, I combined the two.

Source: Combine Ice Cream and Cold Brew For a Tasty Pick-Me-Up

Now I want a beer float…

Cold brew concentrate has significantly more caffeine per ounce, so that would be the major benefit/difference from using normal hot brew coffee.