Featured Ingredient: Coffee
Coffee lovers rejoice, there are serious health perks to imbibing regularly. A new study found that those who drink about 2 cups of black gold per day are less likely to be inflicted with heart disease than those who abstain. A 2010 Journal of Nutrition study reported an inverse relationship between coffee consumption among Japanese women and mortality due to heart disease. Further, European scientists discovered daily coffee consumption was associated with improved cholesterol levels and blood levels of pro-inflammatory compounds. Harvard studies, involving more than 193,000 people, found regular coffee drinkers had a significantly lower risk of type 2 diabetes than those who abstained.
Researchers surmise powerful antioxidants called flavonoids abundant in coffee may explain its disease-fighting properties. In fact, one study reported that coffee is the number one source of antioxidants in the American diet.
Of course, guzzling copious amounts of the stuff or drowning it in sugar and creams will likely cancel out any healthy benefits. It’s thought that between 2 and 4 cups per day offers the most positive impact.
If you take your coffee seriously, I strongly suggest seeking out single-origin Doi Chaang coffee. This wonderfully flavoured coffee from the mountains of northern Thailand is laced with unmatched humanitarian efforts.
The coffee beans are hand harvested by Akha cooperative farms with the growers being compensated above what fair trade mandates. As half owners, the farmers take in equal profits from world-wide distribution. In contrast to much of the low-end coffee, the coffee beans are grown under the forest canopy which improves the flavour and makes indigenous birds a little chirpier. Fresh water processing to extract the bean from its pulp, ideal altitudes, fertile soils, sun-drying, and sorting by hand also elevates quality. The coffee plants are also grown organically with fertilizer coming from recycled coffee cherry pulp and manure.
I wrote an article about these guys for Fresh Cup magazine a little while back if you want to learn more about this feel-good business relationship.
They are in select stores but your best bet is ordering it online here.
Why just sip coffee when you can also bake with it. Chocolate and coffee – perfect for an afternoon treat. Freshly brewed coffee really keeps these muffins moist. If you want them to have a stronger coffee taste, mix in some instant coffee powder.
Double Chocolate Coffee Muffins
Makes 12 Muffins
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
½ cup brown sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
½ cup neutral tasting oil
1 cup strongly brewed coffee, cooled to room temperature
½ tsp vanilla extract
½ cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In a separate bowl, lightly beat egg. Mix in oil, coffee and vanilla. Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and mix just until flour is no longer dry. Stir in chocolate chips. Divide batter among 12 greased or paper lined muffin cups and bake for 20-22 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Let cool for a few minutes before unmolding.