Sure, many of us love a morning cup of Joe, but coffee is much more than the best part of waking up. The strong brewed drink is pretty good for us too (don’t believe the rumors that it stunts growth or can cause heart disease). Studies show caffeine in moderation can improve the memory, boost metabolism, and even rev up athletic performance. A mug of java can also lower the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and gout . It is possible to overload on the good stuff, though—drinking more than 500 mg of caffeine per day (that’s between six and seven cups of coffee) can result in restlessness, insomnia, upset stomach, muscle tremors, and a fast heartbeat.
Even without caffeine, coffee beans are loaded with antioxidants. New studies show even used coffee grounds are a good source of these healthy nutrients. Leftovers from French press or espresso-style machines tend to have more antioxidants than grounds from drip coffeemakers.
Whether you’re ready for a caffeine IV-drip or just into the occasional after-dinner cappuccino, it’s hard to deny coffee is delicious (especially when mixed with sugar, spice, or all types of chocolate). In honor of National Coffee Day, we’ve rounded up healthy recipe featuring the magical beans. The dark, complex brew lends deep flavor to just about any dish, from sweet to savory. Check out the entries below and get your buzz on today!
Coffee Toffee Banana Bread
Makes one 9x5-inch loaf
3 large ripe bananas, mashed (about 1-1/4 cup)
1/2 cup brewed strong coffee
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon instant espresso
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons toffee bits (such as Skor or Heath bits, found in stores with the chocolate chips), divided
1/4 cup chopped banana chips (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°F and spray a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with non-stick spray.
Mix banana and coffee in a small bowl.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and instant espresso.
In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil and brown sugar. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and the banana-coffee mixture and stir until combined.
Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, stirring with a wooden spoon or a spatula until just incorporated. Fold in 1/2 cup toffee bits.
Pour mixture into prepared loaf pan and bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle the top of the loaf with the remaining toffee bits and banana chips, then return to oven for an additional 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. *Don't worry about getting all the banana chips on top of the loaf if they don't all fit; you don't want to weigh down the top of the loaf too much to make sure it bakes evenly inside.* Let stand in pan 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely, then slice.
Maple Espresso Baked Oatmeal
Author Notes: I love baked oatmeal and frequently make it with maple syrup. My husband had the idea of using coffee as a flavoring in place of the usual spices (but you can add them, too, if you like). I've made this as mini-cakes -- they can be hard to remove and fall apart if you don't use foil liners. (In other words, don't do what I did.) I've also baked it in a loaf pan and a round Pyrex dish. All work -- just let the liquid soak into the oats for a few minutes while the oven is heating. And press down on everything before you bake it so it compacts really well.
Serves 6 to 8
- 2 1/2cups rolled oats (I use Bob's Red Mill)
- 2teaspoons baking powder
- 1teaspoon kosher salt
- 1tablespoon powdered instant espresso
- 2ounces unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
- 2/3cup grade B maple syrup
- 3eggs, room temperature
- 2/3cup whole milk
- 1cup chopped pecans
- 3/4cup dried cherries, roughly chopped if they're very large
- Melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Cook it until it is brown and smells nutty. Set aside to cool.
- In a large bowl, mix together oats, baking powder, salt, and powdered espresso.
- In a medium bowl, mix together syrup, milk and eggs. Whisk well until well-blended. Stir in melted butter and whisk until blended. Pour into oat mixture and stir well. Let it sit for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, while the oven is heating and you're preparing the pan you're using.
- Heat oven to 350. Butter a loaf pan, or line a 12-cup muffin tin with foil liners and butter the liners.
- Stir nuts and cherries into oat mixture until well mixed. Scoop mixture in half-cup measurements into your muffin tin, or spoon into your prepared loaf pan. Press down on tops to compact somewhat.
- Bake at 350 for 35 to 50 minutes (a loaf pan will take longer), until a tester comes out clean.
- Serve in a bowl with milk, yogurt, or crème fraîche. You can refrigerate leftovers and reheat them in the microwave.