When you add coffee to food, you add complexity to the flavor. Coffee complements sweet foods like chocolate cake or brownies, red meat like beef or lamb, and nuts. Coffee can be used as an ingredient in recipes, but a quick way to add the the complex, brightening flavor of coffee to foods is to sprinkle it on some coffee salt. You can buy coffee salt or espresso salt, or you can easily make it yourself for a lot less money. Here's how:

DIY Coffee Salt

  • 2 tablespoons sea salt or other coarse salt
  • 3 tablespoons coarse good ground coffee (You can grind the beans yourself or use already ground coffee)

Combine the salt and coffee thoroughly by mashing them together using a mortar and pestle or whirling them until just combined in a food processor or spice grinder. Here's what mine looked like when I was done:

coffee salt This is quick and easy to make. (Photo: Robin Shreeves)

Uses for coffee salt

  • Rub on steaks, roasts or burgers
  • Sprinkle it on popcorn
  • Sprinkle on ice cream (think vanilla ice cream with caramel sauce)
  • Sprinkle it on top of buttercream frosting on a cupcake
  • Add to vegetables before roasting
  • Use it as the salt on the rim of a cocktail that usually gets plain salt
  • When making biscotti with chocolate chips, add a little melted chocolate to the end of the biscotti after they've cooled, then sprinkle with the coffee salt and allow the chocolate to firm up.
  • Add a pinch to hot chocolate

Let your cooking instincts and imagine run wild when it comes the uses for coffee salt.

brownie-coffee-salt A little sprinkling of coffee salt really perks up an otherwise uninspired brownie from a box mix. (Photo: Robin Shreeves)

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.