I wasn’t a coffee person until one morning on holiday in Melbourne Australia. There’s quite a lively cafe culture in Australia, especially in Melbourne, and whether you’re looking for a quaint and quiet spot to read or a trendy cafe with a buzzing atmosphere, options abound and there’s something for the likes of everyone. It seems like sitting out on the sidewalk and sipping a fancy, frothy, caffeinated beverage is just part of everyday life there, so I decided to soak it up and join in.
I sat down, and when the waiter came I asked for a plain black coffee. He said something along the lines of “you mean a long black?” It turned out that plain, black coffee didn’t exist at this cafe, and in fact at most cafes I came across there. Instead I was faced with a menu of short, long, black and white coffees, and not knowing what any of them actually were I just took a shot in the dark. I settled for something called a flat white and I’ve never looked back.
A flat white is a shot of creamy, thick, crema laden espresso mixed with a touch of silky, smooth, velvety, and frothy-but-not-too-frothy milk. And for an artistic touch a little milky heart or leaf is usually drawn in the froth. It’s delicious, and by far my favourite kind of coffee. It has just enough milk to slightly soften the strength and bitterness of the espresso, while still leaving that as the dominant flavour.
In Canada and America, coffee is just coffee. No depth, no background, no obscure names. Of course we have cappuccinos and lattes, and all of the seasonal flavoured coffees, but that doesn’t count. Coffee in North America is a beverage that we drink regularly and robotically in order to make it through the day. Coffee in Australia and Europe isn’t just coffee. It’s art, it’s a culture, a lifestyle, a ritual and a routine. Something that you take time out of your day to enjoy in a fancy glass while reading a good book or newspaper. It isn’t something that you pick up at a drive through window and sip with one hand from a paper cup while driving to work. Drinking coffee is a celebration.
Nothing beats a long and relaxing breakfast on a Saturday or Sunday, curled up in pajamas, and enjoying multiple cups of good coffee.
These dark chocolate espresso bars are a perfect treat to store in the freezer, and grab whenever you’re in need of a caffeine or chocolate hit. And just like the flat white, they have a strong but smooth espresso flavour swirled throughout and blended with crunchy corn flakes, and chewy date caramel.
Not only do these taste delicious but with only 7 ingredients, they’re incredibly quick and easy to make. They’re creamy, crunchy and gooey all at the same time and they taste like coffee crisp chocolate bars.
Dark Chocolate Espresso Bars
This recipe makes a square of chocolate about 10 cm x 10 cm and can be cut into about 6 small bars
- 6 large, soft dates
- 1 tbsp non-dairy milk (I used oat milk but any kind will work)
- 4 tbsp ground almonds
- 6 tbsp melted coconut oil
- 11 tbsp cocoa powder (~ 1/2 a cup)
- 1 tbsp ground espresso
- 6 tbsp corn flakes (or other flake cereal) crushed.
- Mix all ingredients for the chocolate, in the order given, in a cup or small bowl
- Pour half of the chocolate onto a sheet of parchment paper and with a spoon shape it into a square or rectangle
- Freeze for 10-15 minutes or until hard
- While the first layer of chocolate is freezing, make the date caramel. Put the dates into a bowl and mash them with a fork until you have a smooth, thick paste (this can take a few minutes). Add the milk and almonds and mash some more until it’s all well mixed
- Once the chocolate is frozen, spoon the date mixture on top, using a fork to spread it evenly.
- Pour the other half of the chocolate on top and freeze
- Keep stored in the freezer.