With each small spoonful providing a large amount of flavor, espresso powder is a staple in professional bakeries. The powder is the most common way to add a rich coffee taste to all kinds of baked goods, from pies to sauces to cakes. Another name for the espresso powder is instant ground espresso, though it is not typically used to make a morning cup of regular coffee, as the flavor is too strong.
1. Instant Espresso Powder
Espresso powder is created by brewing strong espresso and drying the liquid, typically through freeze drying, then further crushing the remaining dried coffee into a fine powder. This creates a concentrated flavor that is highly desired by bakers. Just like instant coffee, only a small amount of liquid is needed to reconstitute the freeze dried good, instead of ground brewing beans, which takes more time.
Add only a small amount of instant espresso to baked goods, or according to your recipe, due to the strength of the flavor. A teaspoon is the average amount called for in recipes. If desiring a strong coffee flavor, double the amount called for. Add a pinch in recipes that do not even call for it, if wanting to enhance rich flavors, such as chocolate or cinnamon.
Instant coffee does work in a pinch, but packs less of a flavor punch. However, substitute it in an equal amount with the amount of instant espresso called for in a recipe. If desiring a stronger flavor, add double the amount called for, using a ratio of two parts instant coffee for every one part espresso powder called for. Do not substitute in liquid espresso, even in concentrated form, as this can throw off the chemistry of the baked good and result in a different texture than desired.
Look for espresso powder in specialty cooking and baking stores, as it is generally not found in supermarkets, or from online sellers. You can avoid caffeine by choosing decaffeinated espresso powder, as regular instant powder retains its caffeine content. Try adding a sprinkle of the powder to savory stews or sauces as well, such as chocolate adobo sauce or a rich chili.
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