I can put together a decent dinner party. But when it comes to the end of the meal, I have never been at ease with making a cuppa for my coffee-drinking guests, because I only do tea.
My new plan is to serve this whiz-bang-simple dessert, which offers all the coffee flavor with precious little bitterness — and a mild buzz of caffeine, if you don't opt for decaf. It is an unexpectedly light and cool way to satisfy everyone at the table, from the pour-over faithful to K-Cup fans.
It's best to use superfine sugar, to help ensure a grit-free gel set.
1 cup water, plus 1 cup boiling water
3 tablespoons powdered gelatin (from 4 individual packets)
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
½ cup sugar, preferably superfine (see headnote)
2 cups homemade or store-bought cold-brew coffee (caffeinated or decaf; see TIP)
Whipped cream or chilled heavy cream, for serving
Pour the 1 cup of water into a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan, then sprinkle the powdered gelatin over the water's surface. Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes, until the gelatin firms up.
Combine the 1 cup of boiling water and the instant espresso powder in a large liquid measuring cup, stirring until the granules have dissolved, then quickly add the sugar, stirring until it has dissolved.
Pour the sweetened coffee mixture into the pan, then use a fork or flat whisk to thoroughly incorporate it into the gelatin mixture, making sure there are no clumps of gelatin. (You can pinch any stray lumps into submission with your clean fingers.) Pour in the cold-brew coffee mixture, stirring gently. Any foam or bubbles on the surface should subside after a few minutes; if not, stir to make them disappear.
Cover with plastic wrap (not touching the surface) and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or until firm.
Uncover and invert the slab of coffee gelatin onto a cutting board. Cut into 1-inch cubes and divide among dessert cups. Top with whipped cream, or pour a little heavy cream over each portion. Serve chilled.
NUTRITIONAL ANALYSIS | Per serving (based on 8, not including whipped cream): 60 calories, 4 g protein, 13 g carbohydrates, 0 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 0 mg sodium, 0 g dietary fiber, 12 g sugar
SOURCE: Based on a recipe from "Adam's Big Pot: Easy Meals for Your Family," by Adam Liaw (Hachette, 2014).
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick; email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
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Using cold-brew coffee eliminates bitterness, but if you like that coffee feature, use your own brewed, chilled coffee instead.