Friday, 11 March 2011

Testing, testing... Kenco Millicano

Kenco Millicano (container and refill)

I was offered the chance to test a new instant coffee from Kenco and my partner (the coffeeholic in the family) volunteered to be the main guinea pig. However I did sample it in my own way - I might be a dedicated tea drinker but I do like coffee in cakes and poured over vanilla ice cream (called affogato in Italy). So I used the Kenco Millicano to flavour some yummy cupcakes (see recipe below). Along with the sample I was also sent a recipe for a more elaborate coffee/chocolate conction, which you can find at the bottom of this post.

Kenco Millicano: what's new?
There are lots of instant coffees about, so my partner was curious to try this new product. This is a summary of the info you can read on the packaging: Kenco Millicano is the very first Wholebean Instant from Kenco. It contains  finely-milled wholebeans, with essential coffee oils locked in, for a smooth, full bodied taste and rich aroma: all in an instant. We've created Kenco Millicano to be just as easy to prepare as regular instant coffee. Simply add a teaspoon of coffee to your cup and add hot water, just off the boil. Each 85g refill pack contains approximately 47 cups.
My partner made a mug of coffee and a lovely smell filled our tiny kitchen. He had a sip and said that Kenco Millicano is a cross between instant and cafetiere coffee (pretty much what it says on the tin). I informed my partner that the retail price is £2.99 for the refill and £3.99 for the tin. He thought it was a bit expensive, but having looked at other brands for instant and cafetiere coffee, the price is actually in between instant and premium coffees. With coffee, as with other foodstuff, you really get what you pay for!

Coffee cupcakes using Kenco Millicano
Coffee cupcakes using Kenco Millicano
Finally it was my turn to test this new instant coffee, so I switched on my cupcake maker and started to assemble the ingredients. The recipe below has been especially altered for these cupcakes - I used a bit more sugar than usual and ditched the vanilla flavouring. The recipe made 16 small cupcakes, which were devoured pretty quickly. Even Michela had a few, not ideal because of the caffeine content but ultimately it didn't affect her sleeping routine, which was a big relief.

Coffee cupcakes
Ingredients: 100g unsalted butter, softened; 110g caster sugar; 2 eggs, lightly beaten; 100g plain flour, sifted; half teaspoon of baking powder; a pinch of salt; 2tbsp Kenco Millicano dissolved into 1tbsp of milk. Method: Preheat the oven to 190C (if baking). Beat the butter and sugar together with a whisk until fluffy and pale yellow. Add the beaten eggs. Add the flour and baking powder gradually and mix well. Add the salt and the coffee mixture. Spoon into a cupcake tin or cupcake maker and bake (or cook) for 12 minutes or until risen and golden. Allow to cool on a rack before storing them into a tin. Tips: You can double the ingredients and make a big batch - these cupcakes freeze well. If you want to ice your cupcakes, mix half a teaspoon of coffee to the icing sugar.

Kenco Millicano, refill and tin
If you have more time on your hands and would like to try something a bit more sophisticated, below is a recipe for indulgent little cakes.

Kenco Millicano Cake Pops  
(Makes 20) Ingredients:  425g tin of pitted cherries (sweet) in juice; 100g dark chocolate - coarsely chopped; 165g unsalted butter  - coarsely chopped; 295g caster sugar; 60ml cherry brandy; 150g plain flour; 2 tbsp self-raising flour; 2 tbsp cocoa powder; 1 egg.  Coating and decoration: 75g of icing sugar; 100g of unsalted butter; 50g of cocoa powder; 250g of melted white chocolate; 100g of biscotti crumbs (or whatever takes your fancy!); edible silver glitter (optional). Method1. Pre-heat the oven to 180˚C. 2. Line a square 8" tray with butter and baking paper. 3. Drain the cherries and set the juice to one side. 4. Take 100g of cherries and 120ml of juice and liquify in a food processor, until smooth. 5. Cut the remaining cherries in half and set to one side. Discard the remaining juice. 6. Place the chocolate, butter, sugar, brandy and cherry puree into a saucepan. Over a low heat, stir until the chocolate has melted. 7. Pour into a large bowl and allow to cool for 15 minutes. 8. Whisk in sifted flours and cocoa powder, then whisk in the egg. It will be runny - but don’t worry. That’s how it’s meant to look! 9. Pour the mixture into the pan and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until firm to touch. 10. Allow to cool for a few minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack. Coating and decoration:  1. In a large bowl, whisk the butter, cocoa and icing sugar into a nice, smooth frosting. 2. In a separate bowl crumble the sponge into very fine crumbs. 3. Rub in the chocolate frosting until you get the consistency of a paste. 4. Using the palms of your hands, roll into little perfect balls and place on a tray. 5. Leave to set in the fridge for 30mins. 6. Dip the end of the stick in the melted white chocolate and push halfway through the chilled balls. 7. Now dip the entire ball into the white chocolate. Leave to drip before rolling in the biscotti crumbs.  8. Before the chocolate sets completely, drizzle a bit of edible silver glitter onto the ball and enjoy with a mug of Kenco Millicano!  *Nutritional information per serving (96g): Energy 355kcal, Protein 4.2g, Carbohydrate 44.1g (of which sugars 34.1g), Fat 18.3g (of which saturated 11.2g)

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