Today’s post is very special and I’m super excited to share it with you! Lots of delicious coffee-themed recipes are going live today all around the blogosphere, for a very special cause. I’m taking part in this virtual blog party organized by the lovely and super-talented Kimberly, London-based blogger and food photographer behind the gorgeous blog The Little Plantation.
Kimberly reached out to me and a whole bunch of other food bloggers from across the world, inviting us to take part into this special event in order to raise awareness for Malawian coffee. Malawi, known as “The Warm Heart of Africa”, is one of the poorest countries in the world. It has a shockingly high poverty rate. Every day, Malawians are facing countless life-threatening challenges, including malnutrition, hunger, disease, drought, and an overall lack of resources.
Very few people think of Malawi as a coffee-producing country. But the country’s economy mainly revolves around agriculture, including coffee production. Their coffee is of very high quality – the problem is it is very hard to source. Roasters rarely carry Malawian coffee, mainly because there is not much consumer demand for it. The main reason for this low demand is that people are simply not aware of it. Their coffee is not as famous as other African coffees and Malawian coffee producers don’t have the marketing budget south American coffee-producing countries have, making it very hard for them to showcase their delicious coffee.
With this #loveMalawicoffee virtual blog party, we’re hoping today to raise awareness for Malawian coffee and encourage you, the consumers, to buy Malawi coffee, and therefore help one of the poorest countries in the world to improve the quality of its habitants lives.
I must say that sourcing Malawi coffee here in Canada has been very difficult. I’ve been looking for Malawi coffee for over a month, asking every single Toronto coffee shop I walked into if they carried Malawian coffee (I’ve also tried a few places in Montreal and NYC while I was visiting), without success. I found Malawi coffee as part of this Exotic Africa Coffee Sampler at Green Beanery, but they are unfortunately out of stock at the moment. The owner of Moonbean Coffee in the Kensington Market told me they did carry Malawi coffee beans for a while, but currently didn’t have it in stock. The only place I’ve been able to find it is through Amazon.
Although finding Malawi coffee is challenging, I highly encourage you to keep your eyes open, and ask your local coffee roasters if they have it or can order it. By increasing the demand, roasters will increase their offer, helping one of the poorest countries in the world in the process. If you are in Europe or elsewhere in the world, you might have more success finding it than here in North America. For those of you living in Europe, Coffee direct is offering 20% off all orders placed on their Malawi Coffee from Dec 7th – Dec 31st, 2015, as part of this virtual blog party. Simply use the #loveMALAWIcoffee promo code at checkout to claim the discount.
My contribution to this virtual party are these delicious vegan and gluten-free blondies with homemade nutella. These little squares are slightly crispy on the edges, but super moist in the middle, with a delicious hint of espresso flavour, and swirled with a scrumptious but super-easy-to-make nutella (!!!).
Homemade nutella is ridiculously easy to make, much healthier and to my taste so much better than the store-bought version. If you’ve never made it before, you have to give it a try! There are many different variations of nutella recipes across the Internet – some of them use milk, dates or sugar. I went for an easy version to keep things as simple as possible for you.
Enjoy these as a dessert or a delicious snack to replace your afternoon coffee. Or share them with your loved ones this holiday season.
Follow us with the hashtag #loveMalawicoffee and be sure to pop over these other wonderful blogs today to discover more mouth-watering recipes celebrating Malawi coffee! A huge thank you to Kimberly of The Little Plantation for organizing this beautiful event.
Winter Spices Coffee Cake – Twigg Studios
Coffee Crunch Chocolate Mousse – Bettina’s Kitchen
Vegan Malawi Coffee Ice Cream with Salted Caramel Swirl – The Little Plantation
Christmas Coffee and Vanilla Eggnog – Marrbell
Tofu Skewers with Chocolate Coffee Sauce – Jenny Mustard
Coffee and Hazelnut Buns with Orange Icing – Mademoiselle Poirot
Cream of Celeriac with Coffee Drizzle – Plants on the plate
Zabaione al Caffè – Life Love Food
Salted Chocolate Mocha Cupcakes – Wife Mama Foodie
Vegan & Gluten-Free Dark Chocolate Espresso Brownies – The Full Helping
Gluten-Free Jewish Doughnuts with Cardamom Coffee Cream – At The Immigrant’s Table
Notes: You can prepare the nutella ahead of time and store it in an airtight jar. I like to keep mine at room temperature so that it stays creamy. You can store it in the fridge if you like it a little firmer – but you might have to warm it up a little before using to get a spreadable consistency.
Coffee Blondies with Homemade Nutella (Vegan + GF)
- 2 cups hazelnuts
- 100 g. high-quality organic and fair-trade dark chocolate bar - I used 70% about 2/3 cup chopped
- 1 tbsp maple syrup or more, to taste
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Pinch sea salt
- 3 tbsp freshly ground flax seeds
- 1/2 cup espresso coffee liquid - organic and fair-trade
- 1 1/2 cup oat flour from ground rolled oats - certified gluten-free if necessary
- 1 1/2 cup hazelnut or almond meal from ground hazelnuts/almonds - I used a mix of both
- 1 1/2 tsp finely ground organic fair-trade coffee beans or more for a stronger coffee flavour
- 3/4 cup coconut sugar
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- ¼ cup coconut oil melted
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Make the homemade nutella:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes until golden and fragrant. Let cool and remove the skins by rubbing the hazelnuts with your hands (rubbing the nuts in a kitchen towel is helpful). You might not be able to remove all of the skins, that's ok, just try to remove as much as you can (see photo as a reference).
Place hazelnuts into your food processor and blend until you get a smooth and creamy butter, scraping down sides as needed.
In the meantime, chop the chocolate. Heat in a double boiler (or a stainless steel bowl placed over a pot filled with 1-inch of simmering water), until chocolate has completely melted.
Add the melted chocolate to the hazelnut butter. Then add maple syrup, vanilla and a pinch of sea salt. Blend again until smooth. Taste and add more maple syrup if needed. Transfer to a glass jar.
Make the blondies:
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 8 x 8 (or 9 x 9) pan with parchment paper.
Place the ground flax seeds in a small bowl and add the warm coffee. Mix well. Place in the refrigerator and let sit for at least 5 minutes.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the oat flour, almond and/or hazelnut meal, ground coffee, coconut sugar, baking soda and sea salt. Use your hands if needed to make sure that no clump remains.
In another bowl, mix together the melted coconut oil and vanilla extract. Add the flax and coffee mixture and mix well.
Pour the wet mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients and mix to combine.
Pour batter into the parchment lined pan, smoothing the top evenly with a spoon or spatula. Add a few drops of the homemade Nutella on top of the batter and swirl with a knife to create a marble effect (as pictured above).
Bake for 20-23 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean (do not overcook - you want the middle to remain moist and slightly gooey). Let cool for about 10 minutes before slicing (the blondies will continue to firm up while cooling). Enjoy!
Recipe NotesTo make oat flour, place rolled oat flakes in your food processor and grind to a fine, flour-like consistency. To make nut meal (hazelnut or almond), place raw nuts in your food processor and grind until you get a meal/sand-like consistency. Don’t blend too much otherwise the nuts will start turning into a nut butter.
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