Amplify Your Chocolate Desserts Using Spent Coffee Grounds

Coffee grounds are the king of compost, sowing rich nutrients into the dirt for a gardener's best homegrown tomatoes, roses, and more. But what if bakers treated this morning's brew cast-off in a similar way? If you think of your chocolate baked goods as a form of fertile soil, you can use coffee grounds to help bring plenty of nuanced flavors to the surface. 

Chocolate and coffee are natural bedfellows, with the earthy bitterness of java enhancing the smooth sweetness of chocolatey confections. Though used grounds may be too weak to make a nice cup of coffee, they can still bring a dose of caffeine to your baking. Just a scoop of leftover grounds can elevate your chocolate cake from a one-note dessert to a full-fledged date with decadence. Best of all, depending on how you add it in, it won't affect the overall texture of your baked good. It's a win-win all around.   

How to add coffee grounds into your chocolate desserts

First, let's address which coffee grounds you should be using. While K-cups or K-pods are convenient, they can lack in freshness and flavor. It's better to use freshly ground coffee beans, that have only just been used to make a cup of java. As for how much you can add to your baking, it could be as little as a tablespoon, or as much as 1/4 cup. Err on the lighter side, so that you don't overwhelm the other notes in the recipe. Then, select a recipe that could use a bit of a coffee kick like a fudgy brownie or classic chocolate cake

It'll also work in your chocolate chip-laden cookies or cocoa-swirled ice cream, as long as you don't mind a bit of coffee crunch in each bite. Another brilliant way to add it to your confection recipes? Incorporate a few tablespoons of coffee grounds into a cocoa cookie crumb crust for cheesecake bars or cream pies. It'll fit right in with the other crunchy morsels featured in the press-in crust. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the possibilities for baking with leftover coffee grounds. Once you start, you'll find even more uses for this all-purpose flavor booster.