HouseParty: Lavazza Taste the Passion House Party #LavAzza #Review

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Lavazza has been a household name and favorite for over 100 years in Italy! That is a lot of roasted coffee beans! Once I tasted this coffee, it has been my go-to for drinking and a must for baking. Nothing intensifies chocolate notes like coffee, so like wine, you want to use the very best and Lavazza is just that.

Now, that I can find the coffee here, I have noticed new items and selections available. I was so fortunate in being able to host another party and decided with the colder days ahead, baking a Coffee Chocolate Chip cookie, which went perfectly with the coffees. Simple, quick and the bittersweet chips mixed with the semisweet ones, makes this an irresistible cookie!

First Let’s start with what LavAzza’s Taste the Passion House Party included:

  • 1 Barista apron with the Lavazza logo for host
  • 4 bags of Lavazza Coffee in different varieties
  • Coffee Mug for host with the Lavazza Logo
  • Generous Coupons for guests to save on Lavazza coffees
  • Magnets shaped like a coffee mug for guests
  • Coffee Cups that were just like you get from your local Coffee Shop, with even the little sleeves to go over the cups
  • Fun cards and games to entertain guests, including the “Italian hand gestures” game, which we all tend to “speak”.

The LavAzza Selections:

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  • Gran Aroma- Medium roast, smooth & aromatic, with citrusy notes.  This is the coffee that appealed to everyone and a perfect “everyday and at any season” cup you can enjoy.

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  • Classico- Medium roast, rich & full-bodied, with hints of dried fruit.  This was my second favorite and most guests really enjoyed this variety.  For some the roast was a little stronger than expected but welcoming.

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  • Gran Selezione- Dark roast, intense and chocolaty. 100% sustainably grown coffee that comes exclusively from Rainforest Alliance™ certified farms.  My favorite and every dark roast lovers favorite! This one is just delicious and strong, but without the bitter notes.  The aftertaste is nice and just makes you crave another cup of coffee!

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  • Perfetto- Espresso roast, dark and velvety with a lingering caramel finish.  I’m an espresso girl and this is it without the work.  You get the strength that wakes you up and also everything you love about coffee in one cup, but just in a non-espresso size!

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LavAzza Coffee Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 2/3 cup of All Vegetable Shortening
  • 3 Tablespoons of Unsalted Butter (softened)
  • 3 Tablespoons of any LavAzza Coffee (I brew a strong cup so I can get that intense coffee flavor. I used the Gran Selezione in this batch)
  • 1 1/4 cups of Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon of Whole Milk
  • 1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Large Egg at room temperature
  • 2 cups of All Purpose Flour
  • 3/4 Teaspoon of Kosher Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon of Baking Soda
  • 1 cup of mixed Chocolate Chips (I use Bittersweet & Semi-Sweet)
  • Optional- you can add 1/2 cup of toasted pecans or walnuts if you desire. You can get adventurous and even add dried fruits and the Lavazza Classico variety is perfect for that combination with it’s fruity notes.

Set your oven to 375 degrees (I use convection)

Using your mixer with the beater attachment, just combine the shortening, butter, coffee and brown sugar. Beat until you have a nice creamy and fluffy consistency. Then add the milk, extract, and egg and blend well. Remember to scrape down to make sure you get a smooth batter. In a bowl combine the dry ingredients, the flour, salt and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to your mix and blend until combined. Make sure to not over beat. Then add the chocolate chips and combine (fold) with a spatula, so the chips do not get destroyed by the beater.

To make the cookies, I like to use a large ice scream scoop and just scoop (leave in ball form) about six scoops (cookies) on a silpat or parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake for 14 minutes and allow the cookies to rest for about 5 minutes before moving them onto a cookie rack to cool.

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The cookies will be nice and soft, plus gooey when split open to eat. Really delicious and they hold well in a covered plastic container (room at temperature) for about 3 to 4 days. You will get about 12 cookies that are medium/large in size out of this recipe.

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Don’t be sad if you a one cup machine!  Fate would have it that LavAzza sent me this postcard via mail, so their great coffees come in K-cups too.

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Connect with LavAzza and find your favorite cup of coffee at:

I received the above product(s) free of charge from HouseParty and Lavazza.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

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Bob’s Red Mill: Crake! a Fusion Dessert made of a Cinnamon Roll and caKE all-in-one

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With all the fusion of desserts going on today, I thought I would enter into that playground and have a go at it.  I present to you what I call a Crake!  It’s actually pastry dough that I made using a blend of flours and a cake that engulfs each roll.  Being that Valentine’s Day is around the corner, we all need a hug and this moist buttermilk-based cake does just that to each roll.  So let’s get started creating and let me add, this has a sticky bun topping so I made sure to splurge!

We start by getting our starter going:

Starter-
3 ounces of Warm Water (105 to 110 degrees)
1 teaspoon of White Sugar
1/2 tablespoon of Yeast
1 ounce of Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Flour

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I have a proofing option with my oven that I set at 110 degrees.  No need to have one, so you can also place the starter to bloom in a dark warm corner in your kitchen.  I gently mix everything in a small bowl, but one with enough room for the rise. Then cover with plastic and give it about 15 minutes.

While that starter get’s….well started, I begin with the Sweet Dough Mix for the Rolls:

Dough-
3 ounces of Yogurt (or you can use 3 ounces of cream cheese, plus 1 tablespoon of milk)
2 ounces of Unsalted Butter (softened)
1 egg at room temperature
1 3/4 ounces of White Sugar
1 teaspoon of Salt
1 teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
6 1/2 ounces of Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Flour
4 Ounces Bob’s Red Mill Almond Meal/Flour

Between a 1/4 to 1/2 a cup of All Purpose Flour (separate from above measurements) will be needed while the dough kneads.

I cream the sugar and butter together with a mixer (stand or hand will do, use your whisk attachment).  I then add the Yogurt but in this case I went with the 3 ounces of cream cheese (with 1 tablespoon of milk).  Add the egg and vanilla.  I then add the starter and incorporate everything, being careful not to over mix.   In another bowl, I mix the salt and both flours with a whisk.  I add the mix to the wet ingredients, still with the whisk attachment on.  Things will look a little shaggy at this point; that’s okay. I then change over to the dough hook.  I find using a little butter on my dough hook makes it easier in preventing the dough from sticking to it.  I begin to knead and add All Purpose Flour as needed.  Sometimes I need a 1/4 cup and other times I need up to a 1/2 a cup, it all depends on the elasticity it builds.  I knead for about 10 minutes using the mixer.

After the dough is a nice texture, I place it in a buttered bowl and cover it with plastic. In it goes to the proofer for a hour to an hour and 20 minutes. You want the dough to grow almost double in size.

I then begin on the “sticky bun” topping that I call “The Glaze”:

Glaze-
4 tablespoons of Butter (salted)
3 tablespoons of Maple Syrup
1/2 a cup of Brown Sugar

I melt the above items down and I find my little “gravy” pan works great as it has a notch for pouring.  Stir frequently and don’t hurry it up by turning up the heat.  Use low heat until things melt and just begin to bubble.  You want no sugar crystals (grains), just a smooth glaze.

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While the glaze melts, I get 1/2 a cup of pecans and throw them on some parchment paper to toast.  This intensifies the flavor profile and also adds a nice texture to the glaze.  The glaze will actually almost create a butter nut toffee texture over the pecans, so it is really delicious and beautiful looking at the same time.  I use my toaster oven because my dough is proofing in my oven.  Just place them at 350 degrees and then watch them so they do not burn.  It may take 5 minutes or 10 to be done, so the time is never exact but keep an eye on them until the color changes (darkens slightly).

Nuts-
1/2 cup of toasted Pecans (or any nut of your choice)

I then get a glass pan that I will use to bake this entire concoction in.  I use a “lasagna” pan that is the size of 9 x 13 inches (3 quart).  This allows enough room for the rolls to rise and for the cake batter to fit.  I use cooking spray on the glass and then place parchment.  The spray allows my parchment paper to stick and stay put better so I don’t have to fuss with it.  I also find that it’s easier to first cut and shape the paper to your liking BEFORE spraying so you don’t then end up with baking spray on your hands too.  Yes, it has happened where I forget and then end up with slippery hands!

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Pour the glaze onto the paper and make sure to help it spread evenly.  Once it spreads out, add the Pecans.

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I get started in making the filling for the Rolls:
Roll Filling-
You can use the standard cinnamon roll filling of 1/2 tablespoons of melted Butter, 1 cup of Brown Sugar, 1/2 to 3/4 tablespoon of ground Cinnamon, with a dash of Nutmeg.
Roll Filling Variations-
With Strawberries being in season and I am going for a Valentine’s Day dessert, I picked Strawberries.  You can go with any berry you wish like Blackberries or even a mix.  I used 6 ounces of fresh Strawberries that I sliced up and because they were already sweet, I used less than a teaspoon of White Sugar and just tossed them.  Take note the glaze is sweet and you don’t want an overly sweet filing too but do sugar the fruit by taste.
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By now the dough has “poofed” to my liking and close enough to being double the size so I get it out of the proofer and just flip it on to a floured surface.  Have a 1/2 cup of flour ready if needed when it comes to rolling the dough out.  I roll the dough out to about 14 inches (length wise).  I then spread the filling and in this case the fruit, and then I begin to roll like I would any cinnamon roll.
You want 8 rolls in total and this is my method:
Cut the ends off and then cut the roll in half.
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You now have 2 small rolls and you will cut each on in half again.
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You now have 4 pieces and you then simply cut each piece in half and you end up with 8 (close enough) equally sized rolls.
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Place the rolls in the pan that has the glaze and in it goes back in the oven to proof for about 30 to 45 minutes.  You want expansion but not so much that you won’t have room for cake batter.
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While the rolls proof, off we go to make the cake batter.  Start making the batter when you are about 10 minutes away from the rolls finish proofing:
Buttermilk Cake Batter-
3/4 cup Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Flour
1/4 cup of Bob’s Red Mill Almond Meal/Flour
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 cup of White Sugar
1/2 teaspoon of Salt
1/3 cup of Unsalted Butter
1 Egg (room temperature)
1/2 teaspoon of Maple Syrup
1/2 teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
1/4 teaspoon of Ground Cinnamon
3/4 cup of Buttermilk
Cream the sugar and butter together.  While that incorporates nicely, get the 3/4 cup of buttermilk and add the egg, vanilla, maple syrup to it until well blended.  Then in a separate bowl blend the dry ingredients, the flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.  Once the butter and sugar are nice and creamy, add 1/2 of the “wet” buttermilk mixture and 1/2 of the “dry” flour mixture to the mixing bowl.  Make sure to not over mix as this results in a tough textured cake.  Scrape the sides and bottom, then add the rest of the wet and dry ingredients.
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees
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Take the rolls out of the proofer and then add the cake batter to the areas around each roll.  Make sure to not get cake batter on the top of the rolls since you do not want a soggy roll.  A couple of drips is okay but do not spread the cake batter on top of the rolls.  I used all my cake batter because the point here is for the cake to rise to the height of the rolls.  You do not want when you flip these over to collapse.
By now my bossy oven has beeped at me that it is ready for the Crake to go in.  I then bake it between 30 to 40 minutes.  If you see it start to over brown, just place foil on top and make sure to not over bake.  Take it out when the cake is set and a toothpick comes out clean.  Mine was ready at 37 minutes.
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I allow the pan to cool for 8 to 10 minutes and carefully place a dish that accommodates the size of the pan you used over the Crake.  I use a glass cutting board so that I just dirty one thing and I can just slice when needed.  Use oven mitts to keep a nice grip and also in case it’s too hot.  Flip and this is where you will thank the parchment paper….just carefully peel and I use a small spatula in case a pecan here or there tries to escape.
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Viola, you made a Crake!
I then heated up dinner and allowed the Crake to cool.  It won’t get soggy on the bottom as the glaze stays on top.  After dinner I cut into it and served it with a whipped topping made of Heavy Cream, Mascarpone Cheese, and Powdered Sugar.  You just whip until you get nice stiff peaks but don’t over-whip as you will make butter.  To let my guest know the pastry had a Strawberry filling, I added a cut Fresh Strawberry on top and also a whole one to a dollop of whipped cream I placed on the plate.  This allows anyone to get more topping in case I went light on it.  Enjoy!
You can do this any way you desire.  What I mean is this is a dessert that is really two-in-one.  Want to just make the glaze and the cake, you can.  Stop at the glaze and the rolls….go for it.  I write my recipes as I go on a note pad and the above was created on my first try, so if I can do it, so can you…..so make it any way you want 🙂
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I received some of the above products free of charge from Bob’s Red Mill, an employee-owned company.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.
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