Feb 6, 2012

Hawaiian Coffee and Chocolate

If you are like me, you love the combination of coffee and chocolate. Both are produced here in Hawaii. The Big Island is known for its Kona coffee, grown on the Kona coast. Kona coffee only constitutes less than one percent of the world's total coffee supply. It has a rich aroma and taste and is highly valued. Coffee is also grown here on Moloka'i, from Arabica coffee trees, at the Coffees of Hawaii Plantation. A cup of high-quality Arabica is beautifully fragrant, sweet and round, with an aftertaste of caramel and just a mild hint of bitterness.

Hawaii is the only place in the United States with commercial cacao production. The cacao tree, which grows the fruit that turns into chocolate is one of the oldest cultivated trees on the planet. Chocolate from Hawai'i cacao has proven to be a gourmet product, but unfortunately due to high labor cost, the industry remains small. The largest grower, Dole Food Co., has about 13,000 trees on 20 acres in Walalua on O'ahu's North Shore. 

Many Hawaiian food products contain coffee and chocolate but if you are ever on Moloka'i you need to try a "Mocha Mama", an ice cream and espresso concoction that is impossible to resist. It is the unofficial beverage of the island, and is one of the best sweet drinks in Hawaii. You can find it at Coffees of Hawaii, a 500 acre coffee plantation and espresso bar located in the small plantation village of Kualapuu. The coffee plantation was recently bought by Coffees of Hawaii and reopened for business. They now grow, pick, dry and roast coffee beans here. While at the coffee plantation, visit the store next to the coffee shop, The ‘Blue Monkey’, They happen to carry my cookbooks. They also have eclectic and beautiful handmade artisan products, many locally made. If you can't visit Moloka'i, try these recipes at home and get your "Mocha Mama" on:

Mocha Mama 
3 cups strong brewed, expresso coffee, chilled (you can use instant espresso coffee granules)
1 tablespoon prepared chocolate sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 cups chocolate milk or chocolate ice cream
crushed ice
prepared whipped cream
chocolate shavings, or cocoa power for garnish

Combine all the ingredients, except the last three, in a blender and process until frothy. Pour over tall, ice filled glasses. Top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings. Makes 2-3 servings.

Mocha Muffins
2 cups self-raising flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 stick butter, melted
1/2 cup sour cream
3/4 cup milk
7 ounces of chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon coffee liqueur (Tia Maria or Kahlua)
2 tablespoons pulverized coffee or instant espresso coffee granules
2 teaspoons boiling water
powdered sugar for dusting

Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly beat the egg in a small bowl. Melt the butter in a small pan and set aside. Boil water and mix two teaspoons water with two tablespoons of pulverized coffee (it will form a paste.) Chop the block of chocolate into small chunks. Line a muffin pan with paper liners. In a large bowl sift the flour and cocoa together then add in the sugar and fluff until mixed. Add in the beaten egg, melted butter, sour cream, milk, chopped chocolate chunks, coffee liqueur, and the coffee. Stir just until combined, then pour into the muffin pan allowing 1/3 of the space for the muffins to rise. Bake at 350°F. for about 25 minutes or until muffins are done. To check for doneness insert a toothpick into the center of a muffin; it should come out clean. Remove the pan from the oven and remove the muffins from the pan to a wire rack and allow to cool slightly. Serve warm, dusted with powdered sugar, as desired. Recipe doubles easily. Makes 12 muffins.

Mocha Snow Cookies
4 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1/2 cup plain flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
4 teaspoons instant espresso coffee granules
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch salt
1 tablespoon milk
Icing sugar (confectioners' sugar)

In a bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and mix in the cooled chocolate. In another bowl, sift the flour, cocoa powder, instant espresso coffee granules, baking powder, and salt together and with mixer on low add to the creamed butter mixture; then beat in the milk until combined. Cook's Note: Will make a sticky dough. Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the freezer until firm, for about 45 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Shape the dough into 1-inch balls and roll in the icing sugar 2 times, letting them sit in the icing sugar in between coatings and completely covered so no dough shows. Place on parchment-lined cookie sheets 2-inches apart as the cookies will spread. Bake until the cookies have spread and cracked, about 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool on a cookie sheet. Makes about 24 cookies.

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