Ina Garten Uses Coffee to Elevate These 4 Chocolate Barefoot Contessa Recipes

Many Ina Garten dessert recipes include coffee and chocolate on the ingredient list. And for good reason. She not only loves the flavor combination but says coffee enhances the flavor of the chocolate. Knowing Garten loves to turn up the volume on food, it’s not much of a surprise coffee usually makes an appearance in her Barefoot Contessa chocolate desserts

Ina Garten smiles for cameras while attending 'Ina Garten in Conversation with Danny Meyer'
Ina Garten | Noam Galai/WireImage

The Barefoot Contessa uses brewed coffee in her recipe for Chocolate Cupcakes and Peanut Butter Icing

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Originally featured in Garten’s cookbook, Barefoot Contessa at Home, this particular recipe calls for two tablespoons of coffee. She adds it to the batter with the wet ingredients.

Unlike her Beatty’s Chocolate Cake recipe — one of Garten’s highest-rated recipes on The Food Network’s website — the Barefoot Contessa doesn’t put any coffee in the frosting. This time she sticks to a creamy, peanut butter frosting. 

Ingredients for the Barefoot Contessa’s Chocolate Cupcakes and Peanut Butter Icing: 

  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk, shaken, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons brewed coffee
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup good cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Kathleen’s Peanut Butter Icing:

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream

Garten also uses brewed coffee in her Hazelnut Chocolate Truffles

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“The key to this is to add flavors that really complement the chocolate,” Garten once said on an episode of Barefoot Contessa, according to a Food Network video on YouTube. “I find vanilla and coffee really make [the] chocolate taste more chocolatey.”

Garten chops up a combination of bittersweet and semisweet chocolate before melting it with warm, heavy cream. Then she adds the coffee, hazelnut liqueur, and some “good” vanilla extract. The Barefoot Contessa’s favorite store-bought vanilla is Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon pure vanilla.

Ingredients for the Barefoot Contessa’s Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles: 

  • 1 cup hazelnuts
  • 3 1/2 ounces good bittersweet chocolate
  • 3 1/2 ounces good semisweet chocolate
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons hazelnut liqueur (recommended: Frangelico)
  • 1 tablespoon prepared coffee
  • 1/2 teaspoon good vanilla extract

The Barefoot Contessa turns up the flavor on her Chocolate Peanut Butter Globs with espresso powder

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Inspired by a restaurant dessert, Garten’s version uses peanut butter chips and espresso powder to enhance the flavor of the chocolate. “A tablespoon of instant espresso powder really brings out the chocolate,” she said on an episode of Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics. “Plus two teaspoons of vanilla that also brings out the chocolate flavor.” 

She mixes together butter, eggs, instant espresso powder, eggs, and vanilla extract before adding melted chocolate. Then she combines it with the dry ingredients and the mix-ins. They bake in a 325-degree oven for 15 minutes. 

Ingredients for the Barefoot Contessa’s Peanut Butter Globs: 

  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips, divided
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 2 extra-large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder, such as Medaglia d’Oro
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup whole walnut halves (not chopped)
  • 1 cup whole pecan halves (not chopped)
  • 2/3 cup peanut butter chips, such as Reese’s

Garten adds instant coffee granules to her Skillet Brownies for more flavor

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An adaptation of her own brownie recipe, Garten tweaked it to make Skillet Brownies. She added instant coffee granules, which as she called on an episode of Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics, “one of those magic things that really brings out the chocolate flavor,” according to a Food Network video on YouTube.

After making the dry and wet ingredients and combining them, Garten adds even more chocolate with the addition of chocolate chips. Then the mixture is spread evenly between five 3.5-inch cast iron skillets. Baked for 25 minutes, these brownies don’t have to cool before serving. In fact, Garten suggests serving them warm out of the oven. 

Ingredients for the Barefoot Contessa’s Skillet Brownies: 

  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 4 ounces plus 1/2 cup Hershey’s semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
  • 1 1/2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 2 extra large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons instant coffee granules, such as Nescafe
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 pint vanilla ice cream