Perk It Up

Crock Pot Caramel Latte

½ cup brown sugar

¼ cup caramel sauce

3 cups milk

3 to 4 cups strong coffee

1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract

2 tsp. Espresso powder (optional)

Whipped Cream for garnish, optional

Place brown sugar, caramel sauce, milk and coffee in crockpot. Add espresso powder. Set crockpot to low for 2 hours, or high for 45 minutes. Stir in vanilla before ladling out to serve. Garnish with whipped cream and extra caramel syrup, as desired.

Recipe adapted from savorandsavvy.com.

Coffee Granita

2 cups strong brewed coffee

¼ cup sugar

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

In a bowl, mix sugar, vanilla and hot coffee until sugar dissolves. Taste and adjust sweetness as desired. Let cool to room temperature. Pour coffee mixture into baking dish. If you use a 9x13 dish, it will freeze faster, but all you really need is an 8x8. Place baking dish in freezer. Every 30 minutes, stir mixture using a fork. This will help create the large crystals of a granita. Break up any large chunks that form as it freezes. You don’t want solid chunks. In about 4 hours, it should be frozen through and slushy. Serve in glasses or bowls. For an extra touch, top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of espresso, chocolate curls, caramel or cinnamon. Yum!

Coffee Break Jerky

Plan ahead! This recipe requires marinating time overnight.

1 cup strong brewed coffee or espresso, cold

1 cup dark soda, I usually use Coke or Dr. Pepper

½ cup soy sauce

¼ cup Worcestershire sauce

¼ cup brown sugar

1 Tbsp. Morton Tender Quick Curing Salt (optional)

2 tsps. ground black pepper

1 Tbsp. hot sauce

2 LBS. trimmed flank steak, you can use what meat you prefer for your jerky-this is what I prefer

In mixing bowl, combine coffee, soda, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, curing salt, pepper and hot sauce. With a sharp knife, slice beef into 1/8-inch or no more than 1/4-inch thick slices. (This is easier if meat is frozen for about 30 minutes.) Trim any fat or connective tissue. Put beef slices in a large resealable plastic bag. Pour marinade mixture over beef, and massage bag so all slices get coated with marinade. Seal bag and refrigerate overnight. When ready to cook, you have a couple options. If you have a dehydrator, follow instructions with your machine for prepping. If you have a smoker, get your fire going and preheat for a few minutes. If you are like me and have neither, fire up the oven and preheat to 170°F. Remove beef from marinade and discard marinade. Dry beef slices between paper towels removing as much moisture as you can. If using dehydrator, follow machine’s instructions. If using a smoker, arrange meat in a single layer directly on grill grate. Smoke for 4 to 5 hours, or until jerky is dry but still chewy and somewhat pliant when you bend a piece. If baking in the oven, arrange beef strips in single layer on wire racks placed on baking sheets with a lip. You can place it directly on the oven racks if you want, I just don’t like the cleanup. Rotate pans once an hour. Let meat dry in oven for 4-5 hours or until beef becomes dry but still chewy and somewhat pliant when you bend a piece. Transfer to a resealable plastic bag while jerky is still warm. Let jerky rest for an hour at room temperature. Squeeze any air from bag and refrigerate jerky to prolong shelf life. It will keep for several weeks if you can stay out of it!

Recipe adapted from treagergrills.com.

Coffee Butter

Have you ever made homemade butter? It is so easy and quick there is no reason not to give it a shot yourself. Bonus: you can flavor it with your favorite tastes!

2 cups heavy cream

¾ cup ground coffee

2 Tbsps. powdered sugar

½ tsp. kosher salt, if desired (I make my butters unsalted)

In an airtight container, add heavy cream and stir in ground coffee until it's completely mixed. Close container with a lid and refrigerate overnight. Strain coffee mixture, making sure to push through as much milk fat as possible, while keeping out the sediment from the coffee grounds. Heavy cream is thick so you may not need anything other than a strainer, but you can use a coffee filter or cheesecloth in a mesh strainer to accomplish this if you need to. Discard ground coffee and transfer strained liquid to the bowl of a stand mixer or the base of a food processor. Add sugar and kosher salt, and beat the mixture on high until the fat forms into butter and the liquid separates. Drain off liquid and discard. Transfer butter to a large piece of cheesecloth and wring out any excess liquid. This is necessary to keep butter from spoiling or tasting bitter. Wipe off any liquid still on butter. Transfer butter to a small condiment bowl and use immediately or store in refrigerator for later.

Java Roast

3 garlic cloves, minced

½ tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

1 3lb boneless beef chuck roast

1 ½ cups strong brewed coffee

2 Tbsps. cornstarch

¼ cup cold water

Place Crock Pot liner in slow cooker. Mix garlic, salt and pepper and rub over beef. Transfer to a 4-qt. slow cooker. Pour coffee around meat. Cook, covered, on low until meat is tender, 8-10 hours. Remove roast to a serving plate and keep warm. Transfer cooking juices to a small saucepan and skim off fat. Bring to a boil. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch and water until smooth. Gradually stir into cooking juices. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir until thickened, 1-2 minutes. Serve with roast.

Recipe adapted from tasteofhome.com.