It was a typical summer morning at the family farm, and I had just brewed my very first cup from a of a bag of Joe Coffee's Kenya Thangathi AA which I picked up at Joe's Pro Shop on a recent trip to New York. I sat down at the kitchen table across from my brother who was casually munching on some brazil nuts, and offered him a taste of the coffee. He obliged.
Not too long after I poured him a cup, my brother remarked on how delicious the coffee tasted paired with the brazil nuts. I followed his lead and immediately took a sip of the coffee with a brazil nut—he was so right. Together they transformed into a rich, smooth and satisfying milk chocolatey flavor, which wasn't evident in either ingredient on it's own. It was an alchemy of sorts!
I continued drinking my coffee and daydreaming about the unsuspected magic of Kenya Thangathi AA and brazil nuts, when I started into my breakfast—an anjou pear. I washed the pear down with another sip of the coffee, and was again pleasantly surprised. The pear made the flavors in the coffee sing, too. Thus, this coffee & ingredient pairing (or pearing?!) was born.
With lots of help from my sister-in-law, we transformed these coffee complementary ingredients into the most delectable Anjou Pear & Brazil Nut Squares. Not only do they taste delicious alongside the Kenya Thangathi AA from Joe Coffee Company, but they are also made with it!
Although the origins of this pairing happened organically, I spent some time cupping, brewing and getting familiar with the Kenya Thangathi's inherent flavors. When ground it had a lovely fragrance of dried strawberries and milk chocolate. After wetting, the aroma of the coffee was earthy, with notes of orange peel and dough. On the palate, it was syrupy and full bodied with flavors of cantalope, cashew butter, and a bright lime acidity. All this to say, I have been thoroughly enjoying this delightfully complex coffee.
Oh, and one last thing before you embark on making these squares... you should know that they are a classic raw dessert, require refrigeration, and need to be served chilled. I was a bit ambitious a few weeks ago and made a double batch for a gathering in a park. Although they were a total hit, transporting these morsels in the summertime heat requires insulated bags and lots of ice packs. (For the record: sharing these squares was totally worth the extra effort!). Plan ahead.
Anjou Pear & Brazil Nut Squares (V & GF)
- 1 cup Brazil Nuts
- 7-8 pitted Medjool Dates
- 1/2 cup Cashew Butter
- 1 diced Anjou Pear
- 1/2 cup Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
- 1/2 tsp Vanilla
- 1/3 cup Coconut Oil
- 2 tbsp finely ground Kenya Thangathi AA from Joe Coffee Company
- 2 tbsp Cocoa Powder
- 1/4 cup Maple Syrup
- Line a 8x6 inch baking dish with parchment paper (for a 9x13 dish, double the recipe).
- In a food processor combine brazil nuts and pitted dates. Pulse until grainy.
- Using your hands, smash date and nut mixture evenly into the bottom of the baking dish, forming the crust layer.
- Place baking dish in the freezer for at least 10 minutes.
- Finely chop pear, removing seeds and stem. Place diced pear into food processor with cashew butter, coconut, and vanilla. Process on high until all ingredients are incorporated and creamy. If you still see chunks of pear, that's totally okay. It adds a nice texture.
- Remove baking dish from the freezer and spread filling layer evenly on top of the crust using a spatula.
- Return baking dish to the freezer for at least 30 minutes.
- Add coconut oil, ground coffee, cacao, and maple syrup to the food processor and blend until smooth.
- Remove baking dish from freezer and add the final layer using a spatula. The chocolate/coffee topping should firm up nicely while you are spreading it due to the chilled layers below.
- Place the baking dish back in the freezer for 10 more minutes, and then transfer to the refrigerator.
- Let your bars set in the fridge for an hour.
- Once chilled, use the parchment paper to lift your creation out of the baking dish.
- For uniformity, trim off the rough bits around the edges.
- Using a sharp knife, carefully cut into squares—wiping the blade off between each slice.
- Dust the top of each square with finely ground coffee.
- Keep refrigerated and serve chilled alongside a hot cup of Kenya Thangathi AA from Joe Coffee Company
Recipe adapted from This Rawsome Vegan's Life: Caramel Mocha Bars