Americans drink two cups of coffee per day, on average. With many of us brewing at home these days instead of picking up a cup at a coffee shop, you may be looking for creative ways to get your daily java dose, in addition to your morning cup. With some studies showing that coffee consumption (both regular and decaf) helps reduce the risk of stroke, heart disease, diabetes and cancer, there’s no need to shy away from using it as an ingredient. Here are six fun ways to use coffee that don’t involve a mug.
1. Coffee ice cubes
If you didn’t finish the whole pot, don’t spill that extra coffee down the drain! Let the coffee come to room temp, then grab an ice cube tray and fill it with that leftover joe. Once they’re frozen, you can use coffee cubes to keep your cold brew or iced coffee cold, without the risk of watering it down. You can also use coffee cubes to add some kick to any smoothie, like this Energy Duo Smoothie Bowl, which is perfect before an early morning workout.
2. Coffee-infused oats
Mornings are so rushed in my house, so I came up with a recipe that combines my caffeine requirement with a satisfying breakfast. This Cold Brew Overnight Oats recipe is easy to put together and will keep you energized all morning long. It’s fully balanced with healthy fats and some protein to prevent a late morning crash. You can also kick up any bowl of oatmeal by replacing half of the water with coffee. For example, to make one serving of oatmeal, bring ½ cup water, plus ½ cup of coffee to a boil, then whisk in ½ cup of rolled or quick cooking oats. Turn the heat down to medium and cook until thickened.
3. Coffee-flavored muffins
Muffins and quick breads are so popular because they’re easy to make (no fussy crusts) and are endlessly versatile. The next time you’re trying to use up mushy bananas in banana bread, trying added 1 to 2 tablespoons of brewed coffee to the mixture before baking. It’s not enough coffee to add much caffeine, but it’s enough to enhance the flavor of your loaf or muffins and makes them pair really well with that afternoon coffee fix.
4. Coffee-rubbed steak
Ground coffee might seem like a curious thing to rub on a nice cut of meat, but it’s a winning combo. The coffee not only provides a bitter note that helps balance out the richness of a steak, it also offers acidity, much like a glass of Cabernet would. You can literally just grind coffee beans and coat your steak in them before searing and cooking, or you can combine the grinds (or even instant coffee) with other seasonings like Chef Matt Abdoo does for his Coffee-Rubbed Brisket and Black Bean Chili.
5. Coffee ice pops
Hot, humid weather is just around the corner and it can leave you feeling wilted. Perk up with a Coffee Popsicle with Chocolate, Peanut Butter and Banana. These delicious ice pops rely on cold brew concentrate for their caffeine kick. Once you make them you can keep them in the freezer for up to one month. Just make sure the kids don’t confuse them for fudgesicles!
6. Coffee cocktails
It might seem an unlikely ingredient for a drink that is supposed to help you relax, but coffee adds depth of flavor to some delicious cocktails. You can wind down and perk up at the same time with this Keoke Coffee Cocktail, which features hot coffee, Kahlua, and brandy. It’s the perfect thing to sip around your outdoor fire pit. And if you prefer your cocktail shaken and chilled, try this bold-flavored Espresso Martini.