Ina Garten's Advice On Substituting Instant Espresso In Recipes

You might think you make the best chocolate cake or brownies on the planet, but if you are not throwing some instant coffee into your batter, you're really missing out. Sure, it may sound a little strange, but according to The Daily Meal, those little granules of bean juice happen to share a flavor profile with another one of life's greatest treats: chocolate. By adding a few tablespoons into your recipe, you'll end up with an even richer chocolate taste in your final product, and let's be honest — who doesn't want that?

If you still need a little convincing as to why instant coffee belongs in baked goods, we should mention that the flavor enhancer is employed by Ina Garten herself, who has deemed the ingredient "magic" for some of her chocolate desserts (via Showbiz CheatSheet). The Barefoot Contessa adds the crystalized coffee to her "Outrageous Brownies," which she believes to be one of the most popular things she's ever made on her Food Network show, while SheKnows says that she kicks it up a notch in her peanut butter globs by swapping instant coffee for the even more potent instant espresso to achieve a deeper chocolate flavor. You probably have some instant coffee or espresso left over from trying out last year's popular dalgona coffee trend anyways, so you might as well give this so-called hack a try.

Use instant espresso when you want a bit more coffee flavor in your treat

You are probably well aware of the differences between coffee and espresso drinks, but figuring out which instant version of the caffeinated beverages should go into a chocolate cake or batch of brownies can be a little bit more confusing. Fortunately, Ina Garten has some advice for how to determine if your recipe needs a dash of instant coffee granules, or is worthy of the more potent espresso flavor. In response to a fan who inquired about the ingredients through her website, the 73-year-old put out the reminder that instant coffee and instant espresso are, in fact, two different products, with the latter having a more intense coffee flavor. "I decide which ingredient to use depending on the amount of coffee flavor I would like in a particular recipe," she explained.

As noted by The Daily Meal, adding one or two tablespoons of either of the ingredients to your baked goods won't do anything beyond intensifying their chocolate flavor but if it's more of a mocha taste you're hoping for, swapping instant coffee for espresso powder is the way to go. You can easily add an extra spoonful of the stronger stuff to achieve a hybrid of chocolate and coffee flavors in your dessert, but upping the amount of the less-powerful instant coffee can result in a slightly sour taste (via The Kitchn). Ultimately, keeping both on hand like Garten does may be the best strategy so you can achieve either flavor profile when whipping up a sweet and chocolatey treat.