Behind the Seasoning: Baker’s Brew Coffee Spice
with Stephanie Bullen
Chief Flavor Advisor
Sometimes, the very best creations are a happy accident. Coffee beans, legend holds, were discovered by an Ethiopian shepherd who noticed his sheep wildly dancing from bush to bush, in search of red berries. Curious, he grabbed a handful for himself and shortly joined his sheep in excited dance. Like the discovery of coffee itself, such was the case with Savory Spice Shop's Baker’s Brew Coffee Spice…though there was a little less wild dancing involved.
For years, customers requested a coffee rub for steak and ribs. The rich and roasted flavor of coffee is naturally suited for seasoning beef. In setting out to create a coffee steak rub, cocoa was an original, but in many ways very natural, accent and was promptly added. Sugar is a classic rub ingredient, as it helps caramelize and gives grilled meats a nice crust. Salt is a flavor enhancer and rounded out the base of the blend. For secondary ingredients, we drew on the aromatic notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cardamom, mace, and ginger. The resulting blend wasn’t quite a perfect steak rub (that would come later, with our Black Dust Coffee & Spice Rub) but was an absolutely wonderful blend in and of itself.
Celebrate St. Patrick's Day "south of the border" style with the Baker's Brew Chilean Shepherd's Pie featured in our Spice to Plate cookbook.
In cocoa based recipes, think of a rich chocolate cake, coffee is often the secret ingredient. Both cocoa powder and coffee are bittersweet, with earthy notes, richness and depth of flavor. The similarities make the unique qualities stand out more. In the aforementioned chocolate cake example, the addition of a small amount of coffee allows the sweetness to be more noticeable, while accenting the richness of cocoa. In the case of Baker’s Brew Coffee Spice, the addition of Dutch cocoa allows the roasted coffee beans to hit the palate and provides a solid flavor foundation for the other spices.
The coffee we use in this blend is a combination of coffee from Central and South America as well as Indonesia. It is dark roasted and ground very finely. The resulting product is a rub that has a rich flavor but isn’t coarse or gritty. While it is a sweet blend that naturally lends itself to baking, thus the name, we have found that the right ingredients can make this a great seasoning for savory dishes as well.
Baker’s Brew Coffee Spice is featured in Savory's first cookbook, Spice to Plate. In the book, we show you how to use Baker’s Brew in savory creations, like Chilean Shepherd’s Pie and Portobello Mushroom Sandwich with Coffee Aioli, as well as sweet treats, like mouthwatering Salted Caramel Monkey Bread. We've also published some of our favorite Baker’s Brew recipes on our website. Here are a few that range from savory to sweet:
Caramelized Coffee Spiced Chicken
I describe this as Mole de Pollo meets Orange Chicken. The deep, rich flavors of cocoa and coffee are accented by the brightness of fresh orange juice. This recipe will make you fall in love with chicken all over again.
Mocha Caramel Pound Cake
Submitted by a customer and friend of Savory, Jenni Field of Pastry Chef Online, this recipe bumps up the cocoa and coffee. Sweet, rich caramel is added to the mocha cake and a sweet, vanilla infused glaze tops it all off. Perfect for a weekend brunch.
Guinness Chocolate Mousse
If you’re looking for a St. Patrick’s Day treat, look no further. This creamy mousse is infused with Guinness for an adult-friendly dessert. One recipe reviewer was even inspired by this recipe to sprinkle some Baker’s Brew Coffee Spice on ice cream. Yum!