Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sharing My Win: French Press Coffee


Way back in June I was fortunate enough to win a recipe challenge from Miranda who writes My Food and Life Encounters. This was actually a double contest entry for me and thanks to all your friendly votes my Café & Cream Shortbread was the winning recipe on Miranda's blog.
The prize? A Bodum Chambord French Press!

At the time I was still living in Brazil so I had the prize shipped to my parent’s house since I knew I would be back in the US in a few short months. Well, when I traveled to my hometown for Thanksgiving I finally got my hands on my prize!

I looked up a bit of the history on the French Press and learned that like most inventions it was discovered by accident. Much like the artisanal coffee I made in Brazil, traditional coffee was made by boiling the water and coffee together and letting the grounds settle.

In the 1800s a Frenchman made the mistake of forgetting to add his coffee to the boiling water. He decided to pour the boiling water over the grounds instead, and when the grounds floated, he used a screen to press down the grounds and separate the liquid. From that point the development and use of the French Press coffee maker was born and the modern variety is attributed to an Italian designer named Calimani.

Although I’d been served French Press coffee before, I’d never made it myself so there was a bit of a learning curve. First, I couldn’t use the fine ground Brazilian coffee I brought back with me as there were multiple warnings throughout the instructions about using only course ground to avoid clogging the screen. I ended up pulling out the Breville whole bean coffee I received in my goodie bag from the 2009 Foodbuzz Blogger Fest. I ground it myself to a course texture.


I added four scoops of coffee per the instructions. It suggested one scoop for each four ounce cup of coffee. Considering I’m a 8 to 12 ounce per cup girl I thought this amount would work well. The instructions lacked details for the amount of water though so I just filled the pot half way with boiling water.


It sat to brew for four minutes and then down went the plunger. Success! I enjoyed a strong, rich cup of French Press coffee this morning. I really enjoy switching up my coffee making methods especially after living in a coffee-centric culture for two years.


Thanks to Miranda and Bodum for the giveaway! If you are looking for a Christmas gift for a coffee lover I did notice there is a festive red French Press on the Bodum web-site. If you need another cookie idea I’ve reposted my Café & Cream Shortbread below. I think I might make it again this week for a Christmas luncheon I’m attending.

Café & Cream Shortbread

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temp
½ cup mascavo sugar
½ tsp vanilla
2 cups flour (I used white, but others may work well too)
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp ground coffee (espresso powder would work too)

Cream butter and sugar. Add in vanilla. Slowly mix in flour. Dough will be crumbly. Press dough together and split into two equal parts.

Transfer one half to a sheet of plastic wrap. Press together to form the dough more and wrap in plastic as you shape it into a square log. Refrigerate for about 20 to 30 minutes.

To the remaining dough, mix in cocoa powder and coffee. Repeat the same process forming it into a square log shape. Refrigerate for about 20 to 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove dough from fridge. If it is too hard to work with allow to sit at room temp for a bit to soften. Cut each log into four equal strips. Arrange the dark and light strips so that they alternate, make two stacked rows. Wrap in plastic and from into a square log, pressing the dough together slightly. Unwrap and cut cookies about ¼ inch wide.

Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool for 1 to 2 minutes and carefully transfer from cookie sheet to cooling rack. Makes 12 to 15 cookies.

9 comments:

Erica said...

I don't think I've ever had french press coffee, but I'm sure I would love it! I'm such a fan of a strong cup! The cookies are so beautiful. They'd make a great gift

OysterCulture said...

French presses make great coffee. We've been having a lot of French press coffee of late. I was also admiring those cookies - look like the prefect accompaniment to the coffee,

kat said...

We love our French press & have been using one for years, it really makes for a great cup of coffee

gastroanthropologist said...

I do love my coffee and always get excited when it served to me in a french press. I do have an french press at home but I use it for loose leaf tea! Might need to make a switch.

ps love your checkerboard cookies

Juliana said...

I had French press coffee only twice and liked it...but do not use at home. The cookies look delicious, indeed a great with coffee :-)

Gera @ SweetsFoods said...

My traditional coffee is like yours in Brazil!

The cookies are outstanding and are the perfect match with the coffee :)

Cheers!

Gera

Sarah said...

We have french press coffee regularly and very much enjoy it! The cookies look delicious, a perfect match!

Debinhawaii said...

A great prize! Although I don't drink much coffee anymore I still have 3 French presses--they work well for loose tea too--once you have washed the coffee oil/smell away.

Tangled Noodle said...

Thanks for reminding us about your Café & Cream Shortbread cookies! I've got a list of your recipes to try out (most of them on the sweet side of the menu!) I've been eyeing a French Press but my FIL warned that cleaning it can be such a chore. If it yields delicious coffee, though, I'm willing to make that trade-off! Congratulations again on such a great prize.