Recipe Contest!

Winning Recipe, Category 1: Breakfast – Michelle Anderson, Idaho

Orange Cappuccino Sweet Rolls

Michelle is a busy stay-at-home Mom, whose Mother-in-Law happens to love coffee! So, this recipe was developed to please her family (as well as us all)! Michelle sees recipe contests as an opportunity to push her creativity and these sweet rolls show off that effort. Note Michelle's precise yet easily understood directions...


Sweet roll dough

1 cup warm whole milk (110� F)
1/4 cup honey
2 (.25 ounce) packages quick-rise yeast
2 eggs at room temperature, beaten
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup strong coffee, at room temperature
Zest of 1 orange
1/2 teaspoon coarse/kosher salt
5 cups bread flour


1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
4 ounces good quality semisweet chocolate, finely grated
2 tablespoons instant coffee


1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
Cinnamon, for garnish


  1. Start Dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the whole milk, honey and yeast. Stir until well mixed. Let stand for 15 minutes, or until bubbly. Add the egg, butter, coffee, orange zest and salt; stir together until well combined.
  2. Complete Dough: Add 4 cups of the flour to the yeast mixture. Using the dough hook attachment, mix on slow until all the flour is incorporated. Add enough of the remaining flour to form a soft dough.
  3. Knead Dough: Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, adding more flour as needed, for about 5 minutes. Place in a large bowl sprayed with cooking spray, turning once to grease top. Cover with a slightly damp tea towel or plastic wrap and place in a non-drafty location. Let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.
  4. Make Filling: In a medium mixing bowl beat together the butter, brown sugar, chocolate, and coffee until well combined. Set aside.
  5. Make Frosting: In a medium mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese, butter and sugar until well combined. Set aside.
  6. Assemble and Rise: On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a rectangle about 1/2 inch thick. Using a rubber scraper or offset spatula, spread the filling mixture evenly over the dough. Roll up dough (from the long side of the rectangle) into a pinwheel and cut into 12 rolls. Place rolls in a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking pan. Cover and let rise until almost doubled, about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400° F.
  7. Bake and Finish: Place rolls on center rack of oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 10 minutes. Spread the frosting evenly over the warm rolls. Sprinkle with cinnamon and enjoy!

(Makes 12 rolls.)

Winning Recipe, Category 2: Snacks – Roxanne Chan, California

Coconut Coffee Confections

Roxanne has been entering recipe contests for the past 25 years and she has 730 wins under her belt! This candy reflects her expertise; it is easy to put together yet full of complex flavors. We love the flecks of coffee, and the delicious tart undertone of the sour cream balances out the sweetness of the chocolate. Try it—you'll like them!


8 ounces white chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons instant decaf coffee
1/4 cup flaked coconut
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
18 chocolate-covered coffee beans


  1. Melt the white chocolate in the top of a double boiler over simmering water, stirring until smooth.
  2. Stir in the sour cream and coffee. Remove from the heat and cool 15 minutes. Stir in the rest of the ingredients, except coffee beans, until well mixed.
  3. Drop by tablespoons onto a wax paper-lined tray. Top each confection with a chocolate-covered coffee bean. Chill to set the candy. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

(Makes 18.)

Winning Recipe, Category 3: Savory – Kelly Hunter, Texas

Cowboy Coffee Steaks

Kelly is raising a twelve-year-old son (who loves to bake!) and an eight-year-old daughter (who is a avid coffee lover!)... When we asked her what kind of coffee she allows her little girl, she quickly answered, “Decaf with lots of milk—I sure don't need to get her wired on caffeine!” Kelly prepares this simple, savory recipe for her special dinner parties...


3 tablespoons coarsely ground fresh decaf coffee beans
3 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
1 tablespoon coarse or kosher salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar
4 Ribeye steaks (12 to 14 oz. each)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil


  1. Preheat oven to 450° F.
  2. Combine coffee, black pepper, salt and sugar and mix well.
  3. Season steaks with coffee mixture, patting mixture onto steaks to adhere until evenly coated.
  4. Heat oil in large cast iron skillet, just until smoking. Add steaks without crowding and sear for 2 to 3 minutes per side. (You may need to do this in two batches.)
  5. Transfer steaks to baking sheet and place in oven. Cook 5 to 10 minutes for medium rare. Let stand at least 5 minutes before serving.

(Serves 4.)

Winning Recipe, Category 4: Drinks – Jay Davis, Tennessee

Santa's Cocoa-Mocha Jingle Java

Jay is in advertising and marketing and tells us that his fiancée encouraged him to take up a hobby that he loved—creating recipes! The day we informed him that he had won our recipe challenge, he'd just heard that a cocktail recipe entry of his was a winner in another contest. (Jay, maybe you'd better consider switching careers!)


1 square (1 oz.) semisweet chocolate
1/4 cup sugar
Dash salt
2 cups boiling water
1/2 cup milk
1 cup cream, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups hot strong decaf coffee
Candy canes, for garnish


  1. Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler over simmering water. Add sugar, salt and boiling water. Stir for about 5 minutes.
  2. Add milk and 1/2 cup cream. (Heat but do not let boil.) Add vanilla and hot coffee.
  3. Whip remaining 1/2 cup cream. Pour cocoa into four warmed mugs, top with whipped cream and use a candy cane for stirrer.

For a cold drink, add a pint of vanilla ice cream. Mix in a big bowl with electric mixer. (Serves 4.)

Winning Recipe, Category 5: Dessert – Kerri Pelz, North Carolina

Chocolate Espresso Spice Cake with Grand Marnier Whipped Cream

Kerri has her hands full, raising 3 children—eight, five and 21 months old! And, she's an active doula* as well! What keeps her going? “I'm a coffee fanatic—both regular and decaf!” By all means, don't be put off by the addition of beets in this recipe. They are undetectable and add moisture and richness to this luscious cake. Our judges had to bake another, it disappeared so fast!


Chocolate Espresso Spice Cake

2 cans beets (14 oz. each), drained
1 cup butter, softened and divided
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
3 eggs
4 ounces semisweet chocolate
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoon crystallized ginger, ground or finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Grand Marnier Whipped Cream

1 small carton (8 oz.) heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier


  1. Preheat oven to 375° F. Grease and flour a bundt pan.
  2. Place beets in a blender or food processor and blend until pureed. Set aside.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, cream together 3/4 cup butter and the brown sugar. Add the eggs one at a time and mix well.
  4. Melt chocolate with the remaining butter, stirring until smooth. Let cool slightly.
  5. Blend chocolate mixture, beets and vanilla into the creamed butter.
  6. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, espresso powder, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg. Add to chocolate mixture and mix well.
  7. Pour into bundt pan and bake for 45 to 55 minutes until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before turning out cake onto a wire rack.
  8. Combine whipping cream, sugar and Grand Marnier in a chilled bowl and whip on high speed until stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes.

Serve cake topped with whipped cream. Enjoy! (Serves 8.)

* dou•la n. — a woman who is experienced in childbirth and who provides physical, emotional and informational assistance and support to a mother before, during or after childbirth.