Chocolate covered coffee beans are an amazing pick me up snack. Not only are they great to eat, but the caffeine explosion is fairly immediate.
Unfortunately coffee beans are by nature two-halves of a “bean”. That is, a normal coffee bean is actually two seeds that join together to form a cherry. In the vast majority both of the seeds are fertilized and form the typical half round shape that we know of as a “coffee bean”.
This is where the problem comes in. If you try to cover something like half of a sphere in chocolate it will no doubt come out irregular and uneven.
Several years ago I was traveling in Hawaii and I came across a Kona coffee grower who shared coffee made from peaberries. These are coffee beans where only one of the seeds get fertilized which results in a stunted, runt of a coffee bean – that does not split but rather remains spherical.
Not only are these beans more intensely coffee flavored, but they also retain a certain mellowness when roasted that lends them well to being eaten. Unfortunately only about 5% of coffee beans can be graded as peaberry, but if you can find them, they make amazing coffee as well as candy.
Since they are generally ovoid spheres they work well in panning. Panning is a chocolate technique where either tempered or untempered chocolate is placed on nuts, dried fruits – or coffee beans – while they are spinning in a drum. With the right amount of cooling and patience you can end up with really cool chocolate covered candy that is uniformly coated.
The process of covering an item like these beans in chocolate is called engrossing. In this example, this is where I stopped. But you may be familiar with similar candy in the movie theater – like chocolate covered raisins – where they are also polished and glazed to make them shiny.
For these peaberry coffee beans I coated them in tempered chocolate that I ladled into a pan until they were uniformly coated, and then I removed them and quickly dusted them with cocoa powder. This gave them a powdery slightly acidic bite to the outside which married well with the dark chocolate and roasted coffee bean.
These are addictive so use caution when eating them – or from personal experience – you won’t sleep all night.
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