October 12, 2010

Coffee-Caramel Crème Brûlée

What can I say about Crème Brûlée?


What can I say that will make Crème Brûlée even better than it already is? This stuff has got to be one of the world’s top ten most transcendental desserts, right up there with chocolate mousse and Pioneer Woman’s cinnamon rolls.

Granted, the addition of coffee and caramel sure doesn’t hurt.

Wanna know how to make your own batch of this creamy yum-fest?

Grab some coffee beans. I used the dregs of a bag of Starbucks Thanksgiving blend that I had frozen from last year. It’s not gourmet, but it does the trick.

Now toss those beans in a bag and SMASH IT WITH A HAMMA!!!

Did I scare you?

It’s okay, I scared myself a little bit, too.

Next grab some heavy cream…

…and combine it with the crushed coffee beans in a saucepan. Bring that to a simmer, then remove from the heat and let it sit for about 30 minutes.

While that’s steeping, combine granulated sugar and water in another saucepan.

Bring it to a simmer-y boil, taking care not to stir it. Swirling is fine. Stirring is not.

I don’t know why this is.

I didn’t want the Caramel Police to arrest me, so I didn’t rock the boat.

Keep your eye on it and in about 12-ish minutes you’ll have caramel!

Set the caramel aside and toss eight egg yolks into a bowl.

Gently, or you’ll break one like I did.

Add some granulated sugar…

…and whisk it up!

Grab some half-and-half…

…as well as the strained coffee cream…

…and combine it with the caramel, along with the egg yolks.

Place some lovely ramekins in a baking dish…

…and fill them with the coffee-caramel mixture.

Bake ‘em for about an hour, let them chill, and then you’re ready to burn some sugar!

In this case, you’ll be sprinkling the tops with plenty of turbinado sugar.

If you’re wondering about the different ramekins, I found that these deeper ones gave me a better crunchy-topping-to-delicate-custard ratio.

These things are very important, my friends.

Anyway, once you’ve got the tops all sugary, whip out your handy, dandy kitchen torch and go to town!

I heart my kitchen torch.

My birthday’s in six days and I am totally planning on lighting my candles with that thing.

Once the tops are are caramelized, pop these little beauties in the fridge for about 30 minutes so the custard gets nice and cold again. Then just grab a spoon, crack open the sugary topping, and you’re good to go!

Yet again, I’ve been very pleased with a great recipe from Epicurious.com, so I’m just going to send you there for the recipe.

Go now!

Actually, leave me a comment and say “Hello!” then go check out the recipe.

What can I say? I’m feeling chatty today!


  1. Thanks Koci - I love creme brulee - almost any flavour - and a nearby restaurant does a fab coffee one but caramel and coffee sounds even better!

  2. Great job with your torch. I'd like to smash things sometimes just as you suggested. Cute video.

  3. This inspires me to get a kitchen torch!

  4. Oh my! Coffee and Caramel? I would eat this for breakfast, snack, lunch, dinner...anytime, Great job! I need to get myself a torch

  5. Yum...my favorite drinks at Starbuck's are caramel macchiato and the caramel frappucino! This looks so good...think I need to put a kitchen torch on my Christmas list!!

  6. Holy moly that looks beyond delicious! I love creme brulee and will have to bookmark this recipe for sure! BTW your little video made me laugh :o)

  7. Lovely Creme Bulee! I love Emperor's New Groove! Your kitchen torch looks groovy too. (I like the word "groovy")

  8. WOWZA :-D

    You are so cool, i love how you "smashed it wif a hamma'" awesome, love the blog, recipe, im following you chickin' :-)

  9. Wow - you nailed this and it's perfect.My daughter's favorite dessert and her birthday is coming up.... I guess I need a kitchen torch. Sigh. It's always something. Beautiful step-by-step- you've made it all so easy.

  10. @Phoodie: Believe me, this is just the beginning of the creme brulee experiments! Although the simple vanilla version is rather lovely as well.

    @Lady Cooks the Blues: Thanks! I highly recommend smashing coffee beans--it's a great stress reliever! :D

    @Jana: Thanks!

    @Carolyn: You must get one!! They're so great for adding a nice bit of crispy brownness to just about anything.

    Is "brownness" a word?

    @Sara: Kitchen torches are the best! Although I must say that I got myself into trouble with this recipe. Every time I took one out the fridge for a picture, I ended up munching. :D

    @Wendy: I just discovered caramel macchiatos! I never knew how good they are, but they're fantastic!

    @Susi: hahaha Thank you! I'll use any chance I get to incorporate The Emperor's New Groove. :D

    @Joy: Thank you!

    @Becky: Kitchen torches are the grooviest!!

    @Ruairi: haha Thank you! Please be advised that as a follower, you are now one of my besties. :D

    @Claudia: Thanks! Kitchen torches are great, but you can also brown the sugar under a hot broiler, too.

  11. How completely delicious. I love creme brulee myself, and I agree...there's isn't a lot that can be said about it that hasnt been said or thought already :)

  12. this looks so divine. your pictures are really stunning. thank you for sharing.

  13. There is not one picture that I would not lick on this screen.

  14. Smash it with a hamma! lol Koci, how did you know I've been wanting caramel cofee? and now it is a creme brulee--even better!

    I think that maybe they don't want to stir it becuase then it will all get stuck around the edges of the pan? Swirling and stirring are definitely the same thing to me though lol

  15. Coffee & Caramel Creme Brulee, if I read this on a restaurant menu I'd be ordering. Great combination and it's good to twist the classics every now and then.

  16. Creme Brulee is my favourite dessert. It's good to get a slightly different angle on it. I'll be trying your coffee caramel version.

  17. Total brulee torch envy! Sorry if someone has already said so but the caramel can crystallise if you stir it.

  18. Gorgeous! Love the step-by-step - thank you!

    When I lived in the jungle we had to smash our coffee beans with a hammer. :)

  19. Fabulous! I am also very picky about the crunchy-topping-to-delicate-custard ratio.

  20. Coffee AND caramel? What more could one ask?

  21. That looks tremendously delicious. I want to eat that soooo bad. I'd make it myself, but alas, I do not own a kitchen torch. Otherwise from making creme brulee, is it worth owning one?

  22. @Indie.Tea: Thanks! Creme brulee is a pretty darn perfect dessert.

    @blackbookkitchendiaries: Thank you!

    @Rick: hahaha Thanks!

    @Marisa: I did feel a little bit fussy with only swirling, but I think you're right about the reasoning. :D

    @Sheila: Thank you! It's definitely fun to mix things up.

    @Hester: Gosh, that stuff is good! hehehe Hope you enjoy it!

    @Sasa: Thanks for the tip! It's so good to have an answer for this culinary debacle. :D

    @Patty: Cool!!!

    @Lora: Thanks! I definitely prefer the more custard/less topping ratio, especially since the custard is more delicate.

    @Pattie: It's a rather nice combination! :D

    @Kristin: Thank you! I love my kitchen torch. You can use them obviously for creme brulee, but also for meringue stuff like Baked Alaska, or for adding some extra crispiness to just about anything. I've been toying with the idea of using it for smores, too. They're also great for lighting birthday candles! :D


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