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Coffee is a rich, flavorful ingredient, and these 8 sweet and savory recipes prove it

(Laura Chase de Formigny for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post)
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My coffee beverage consumption consists of an occasional sip of my boyfriend’s daily pour-over and an espresso perhaps once a year. It’s not that I don’t like a good cup — I love coffee’s bitter, toasty aromas and taste — but I simply can’t handle, and don’t want, the slap of caffeine and the inevitable crash.

How to make an excellent coffee pour-over and start your day right

But coffee as an ingredient allows me to enjoy it without the effects of a full cup. In dessert, coffee is often used to deepen chocolate flavors; in savory meals, you can find it in rubs, marinades, barbecue sauces and more. I pulled some recipes from our archives in which coffee plays a key role. You’ll see many desserts, and even a savory preparation, using whole coffee beans to impart flavor. Not seeing the right recipe for you, or looking for coffee drinks instead? Search “coffee” in our Recipe Finder.

Tiramisu, pictured above. We’ve all had bad tiramisu, but this one is oh-so-good. As is traditional to the dessert, you soak ladyfingers in strong coffee or espresso.

Pecan Mocha Truffles. Save just a tablespoon of coffee from your strongly brewed cup for these aromatic, simple truffles.


Instant Pot Bo Ssam With Coffee and Bay Leaves. In this simplified bo ssam recipe, coffee beans add robust flavor and natural color to perfectly cooked pork belly. Yum!


Coffee-Spiked Banana Bread. Coffee brings out all the complementary flavors in this simple banana bread. Want another pairing of chocolate chips and coffee? Try Coffee Cinnamon Chocolate Chunk Cookies or Chocolate Chip-Mocha Scones With Cacao Nibs.


Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls With Caramel Coffee Cream Cheese Glaze. Want just a touch of coffee in a sweet treat? Add instant coffee to a cream cheese glaze, which pairs just right with these sweet potato cinnamon rolls and would be quite nice on these Sticky Pecan Rolls.

Dorie Greenspan’s Cappuccino Madeleines. Incorporate a little espresso into these madeleines for a twist on the classic French treat.


One-Bowl Devil’s Food Layer Cake With Milk Chocolate Frosting. Coffee amplifies the chocolate flavor in this deeply rich cake.


Kahlua Ice Cream With Dulce de Leche and Espresso Beans. You know we had to include coffee ice cream! Chocolate-covered espresso beans add an extra-crunchy coffee boost.

More from Voraciously:

This one-bowl cheesecake is light as a cloud, but still rich and creamy

6 picnic-friendly recipes that are easy to pack and share

Tomato paste is an umami-rich pantry powerhouse. Here’s how to use it in all sorts of dishes.

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