19 May 2015

Review : Kenco Millicano "Dark Roast" and coffee flavoured iced biscuits!

I think it is well documented on this blog, how interested all of us here are in coffee.  It all started with the incredible Aeropress filter coffee maker - a real Damascus moment with regard to coffee flavours.  Then, we got interested in Vietnamese coffee and wound up getting a coffee Phin, which makes a truly impressive single cup of excellent filter coffee.

Then, by a stroke of sheer bad luck, I began to react in a bad way to filter coffee.  IBS has no rules - if it decides you've had enough of enjoying something, then there's absolutely nothing you can do about it.  So for the last few months, I've been bereft of coffee.  Now that's not as critical for me as it might have been for many others, but I enjoy the occasional cup of Joe and I missed it.

You can imagine how torn I was then, when I was offered the chance to review Kenco's new Millicano "Dark Roast" instant coffee.

I eventually agreed to the review on the basis that son & heir loves a cup of instant every so often and he would be able to review the beverage side of the coffee for me.  Additionally, I thought I would make some coffee flavoured biscuits, to review the use of Millicano "Dark Roast" as a coffee flavour in baking.

However, as it turned out, the warm heady aroma of the Millicano instant coffee was so tempting, I decided to take a chance and have a small cup of extremely weak coffee.  Well that worked most deliciously and without any payback, so I've been steadily increasing the amount of granules I use in each cupful.  So far, I'm up to an entire teaspoonful without any repercussions.  So far so good - and coffee!  Yay!

All of which is terrific news, because if I can't drink filter coffee - this Millicano is about the next best thing!  The flavour is everything that corny coffee adverts of old wittered on about, being dark, smokey, rich and satisfying (unlike the corny old coffees of old!).  I think everyone in the family has had a try of the Millicano, with thumbs up all round.  This is one product that is going to continue to appear beside our kettle for quite some time to come.

Having sampled the coffee as a drink, I felt sure that it would do really well as a flavouring in baking.  Now we love the flavour of coffee and it is very welcome in all its incarnations - from the coffee flavoured Revel, through Tiramisu, to a Coffee & Walnut cake.

However, one thing that doesn't turn up very often is a coffee flavoured biscuit.  There are the obvious Coffee Kisses, but they are a mutation between a cake and a biscuit, strictly speaking.  No, I was interested in making a biscuity biscuit.  One that snapped when you broke it and went admirably with a cup of coffee.  I also wanted to make the most of the coffee flavour, but the use of buttercream (as with the coffee kisses) was too cakey.  So I decided to make some coffee rippled, coffee iced, biscuits instead.

See the ripples? Looks like marble!
The idea of rippling the coffee flavour through the biscuit dough was relatively easy to bring about, as I mixed a percentage of the liquid coffee (I used 2 teaspoonfuls, dissolved into a tiny amount of warm water) into the dough, then used the remainder to lightly mix it through, which helped to create the heavier ripple marks.

Now don't go looking for the biscuit recipe, because I wasn't terribly impressed with the one I used.  However, although I've never tried it, the one from Ed Kimber at http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/fancy-iced-biscuits seems to address all the problems I encountered with my batch of biscuits.  You just need to substitute the coffee mixture for his lime zest and vanilla bean paste.

Where the icing is concerned, if you fancy coffee flavoured icing, just substitute the lemon juice for liquid coffee, made up to be heavy on the coffee and light on the liquid.

The very great joy with making iced biscuits, is going crazy with the sugar butterflies and edible glitter thereafter.  *wink*

Well, I can safely say that Kenco's Millicano "Dark Roast" thoroughly lived up to its billing when used as a flavouring.  The biscuits were deliciously nutty from the baking and the coffee flavour was right up there in the flavour spectrum.  The ripples were fun to create and very effective to eat, as the coffee flavour ebbed and flowed across your tongue most satisfactorily.

Because this coffee is so robustly flavoured, it is a fantastic one to use for icing.  Icing sugar can have the effect of wiping out a weaker flavour (which is why it, for example, works so well with lemon) - but the Millicano stood up to the flood of sweetness, holding its own most bravely and refusing to be bowed.

I wanted coffee flavoured biscuits - and that's certainly what I got.  Thumbs up, Kenco Millicano "Dark Roast"!

I have not been paid for this review, but simply received a sample of coffee to try, for which thanks go out to Katie of Golin.

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