I’ve been a massive coffee fan since I can remember. I think it must have started with my grandma and her deep love for coffee and ice-cream (ideally both at once!). Every time we would visit, she always had a mean selection of ice cream ready in the freezer and coffee was pretty much my favourite flavour (on a par with hazelnut), which is quite unusual for a child, I guess 😉 .
Even though my favourite way to have coffee has certainly evolved over the years, I haven’t lost my love for coffee and coffee-flavoured things like espresso chocolate, coffee cake and the coffee candy Kopiko, which my grandad would bring back from overseas travels.
I used to be a cappuccino girl, especially back in London where the weather doesn’t spoil you much and a hot, frothy cappuccino hugs you like a warm blanket on a cold, blustery day. Once I stopped consuming milk, I switched to having my coffee black (unless I’m in a vegan-friendly coffee-shop). These little ‘cappuccino’ vegan cups are inspired by my earlier chocolate and chilli cups and my undying coffee affliction 😉 .
They may be small yet pack a punch of flavour for sure. If you are a freak who doesn’t like coffee (I don’t know how you survive?! 😉 ), you can skip the coffee flavour and dial the chocolate amount up a little to turn them into cream and chocolate cups.
- 250 g dark (70%) chocolate, divided
- 1 cup / 140 g cashews, soaked overnight
- 6 tbsp / 90 ml coconut cream
- 3-4 tbsp maple syrup
- 3-4 tsp instant coffee (adjust to your liking)
- a few drops of vanilla essence (optional)
- 1 tbsp Dutch cocoa powder or chocolate shavings (optional), for decoration
- You can simply make these by melting 200 g of chocolate (makes aprrox. 24 cup shells) very slowly over a bain marie and then spooning about a teaspoon of melted chocolate into each paper cup and spreading it inside the cup using the back of the teaspoon. Once you coat the insides of your cups, put them into the freezer for 15 minutes or so. However, you will get a nicer result – chocolate will not melt in your hands, cups will look glossier and have a nice crunch when you bite into them – if you temper your chocolate first. Here I described how I did it – you’ll need a cooking thermometer and room temperature should not exceed 20° C.
COFFEE AND ‘MILK’ LAYERS
- Drain and rinse the cashews and chop them quite finely with a knife.
- ‘MILK’ (BASE) LAYER: Place one quarter of your cashews in an upright blender with 3 tbsp of maple syrup and 6 tbsp / 90 ml of coconut cream. Process until creamy and smooth. You’ll need to scrape the walls of the blender with a silicone spatula from time to time. Once the first portion of cashews is super creamy, add remaining cashews in 3 batches, processing until creamy and smooth after each batch. When it comes to the final, fourth batch the mixture will be very creamy and heavy – to help the blender, you may need take the lid of when blending, dip the tip of your spatula in the mixture and make circles (in the direction of the turning blades) on the surface of the revolving mixture. This will help you achieve a super creamy and smooth finish without the need for a power blender, but be careful not to dip the spatula so low that it catches on the working blades. Taste the mixture and add another tablespoon of maple syrup if desired, plus a few drops of vanilla essence to taste.
- COFFEE LAYER: Melt the remaining 50 g of chocolate very slowly over a water bath – you can reuse the same bowl you used for making shells, there is no need to wash it. Once the chocolate has melted, remove it from the heat, but keep the bowl over the hot water. Gently stir in ½ cup / 120 ml of the cashew cream you’ve just made. Dissolve instant coffee in 1 tablespoon of warm water and add it to the mixture. Stir everything well until well combined (if the mixture seizes, you can rescue it with a few drops of water and some rigorous stirring), taste and adjust the level of sweetness to your liking by adding more maple syrup if you don’t find it sufficiently sweet. Let the mixture cool down, giving it a good stir from time to time to prevent a ‘skin’ from forming.
- Remove chocolate cups from the freezer and half fill them with the coffee layer. Top the coffee layer with the ‘milk’ layer and put the cups into the freezer to firm up (about 1-2 hours).
- Gently peel the paper cups off before consumption. Dust the tops with cacao powder for that iconic cappuccino look. Keep in the freezer in an airtight box.