Elle, who grew up on the East Coast, would have described the weather as "brisk." I, a Southern California native, called it "deathly cold." As we waited for the water to boil over our campfire, despair began to creep in.
"Elle," I said hopelessly, as a light drizzle suffocated the anemic flames, "Do you know how to make a cold brew?"
She shook her head gravely. "We don't have the right equipment. We need hot water if we want our coffee."
I extracted a muffin from our snack stockpile. "If only this was spiked with caffeine," I mused.
Then, a light bulb went off in my brain. Maybe not this trip, but another camping trip … we could avoid this caffeine conundrum by baking it into food!
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I set out to concoct a recipe that would deliver caffeine straight into my bloodstream while eating breakfast or a snack—no coffee necessary. What I came up with was not one, but three tricks that you can use to spike your breakfast or snacks with caffeine.
Butterscotch pudding is quite tasty in its own right. If you add in some instant coffee, you'll get a caramel-coffee flavor that will both spike your energy and tantalize your taste buds. Pictured below, you'll notice the Trader Joe's instant coffee brand, which I highly recommend.
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- Stir the mix, instant coffee, and milk together in a saucepan.
- Bring the mixture to boil, and then reduce to medium heat.
- Constantly stir until the mixture is thick.
- When thick, allow to cool momentarily, then serve (if you prefer it warm). Otherwise, let it cool for a few hours in the fridge and serve cold.
This recipe makes 6 half-cup servings. Proceed with caution! Each serving contains about 2 cups' worth of coffee.
If only these muffins were on that fateful camping trip...
- 1 box spice cake mix
- ½ cup instant coffee
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup water
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Vigorously stir the water and the instant coffee together in a large bowl until it becomes syrupy.
- Add in the eggs and oil. Stir.
- Mix in the cake mix until well blended.
- Line a muffin pan with muffin liners.
- Pour the muffin mix about 2/3 up inside each cup.
- Bake for 17-20 minutes, or until the tops are browned and a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffin comes out clean.
- Cool for a few minutes, then serve.
This recipe yields 24 muffins. Each muffin should contain about a cup's worth of coffee—be sure not to snack on them too late in the evening, or if may be hard to catch some shut-eye in the evening.
You can choose to make these with either a bake-able pie crust, or with sugar cookie dough. I prefer the pie crust dough because it isn't quite as sweet, and also has a saltiness that I feel compliments the bitterness of the espresso flavor well. That being said, if you have more of a sweet tooth, then the sugar cookie dough may be a better selection for you.
- 1 premade bake-able pie crust (or ready-bake sugar cookie dough)
- ¼ cup instant coffee
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Knead the instant coffee into the pie crust dough.
- Break it into pieces, placing them on a baking sheet. (I like to form the cookies into bite size squares.)
- Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown.
This will get you about 10 cookie bites, depending on how small you make the pieces. If it's 10, that'll be about 1.2 cups worth of coffee in each cookie.
If you're reading this article, my best guess that you're a coffee lover like me. It gives you the morning kick you need and a nice afternoon pick me up when you're in a pinch.
But truth be told, I don't always have time for it in the morning, and I'm sure that the same applies for you. (Plus, you never know when it's rain when you're trying to start a campfire.) Pack along these caffeinated snacks the next time you want a little more pep in your step!