Coffee Break

Here’s some trivia to share on your next coffee break or around the water cooler talk.

It is said that the first coffee break began in the US around 1880 in Stoughton Wisconsin. Mostly of Norwegian descent, the citizens of Stoughton's Coffee Street hired women because it was so near their homes that they could run home to check on their family and do some odd chores. There, a hot pot of coffee constantly was on the stove, so there was a cup at the ready to have a few minutes to relax and refresh with coffee before jogging back to work. 

I find it very convenient that the name derived from women who took breaks from work, only to go home and do some housework, then to sip coffee, before going back to work on a street named Coffee. Did you get that? I can’t imagine why the home-for-housework-with-the-coffee-thing didn’t stick and only the coffee part of the break did. How many people would actually return to work after the coffee break?

I’m ready for a good cup of coffee now! After 5PM - make it Irish please.
(WARNING: I don't advise drinking this version at work)

Irish Coffee 
recipe by George Hirsch | Makes one serving
From George Hirsch Living it UP! TV Series

1 ounce Jameson Irish Whiskey
1/2 ounce Baileys Irish Cream
1/2 cup hot strong coffee
Lemon wedge
Sugar to coat glass
Whipped cream

Prepare a sugar-rimmed glass by rubbing a piece of lemon or orange around the rim of a large wine glass. Dip 1/4 inch of the rim of the glass into a plate of sugar, coating the edge.

Place a teaspoon in glass. The spoon will diffuse the heat when hot coffee is poured into the glass. 

Add whiskey and Baileys. Pour coffee into glass over spoon. Remove spoon. Top with a dollop of whipped cream.

National OCD

In honor of National Oatmeal Cookie Day (OCD) coming up next month on March 18th, I encourage you to make a big batch. I created this recipe with a healthy spin on the cookie, see the apple sauce and no oil. But you'll just have to see for yourself - oh and share with the kids. The true secret is in the quality of the rolled oats. Now who desn't like a fresh baked oatmeal cookie? 

George's Oatmeal Cookies

Recipe by George Hirsch | Makes 1 1/2 to 2 dozen cookies

From George Hirsch Living it UP! TV series companion cookbook

6 Tablespoons butter
1/4 cup apple sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 egg whites
1 1/2 rolled oats (not quick-cooking)
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup raisins
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 Tablespoons pecans, chopped

Preheat oven 350° F.

Mix the butter, applesauce, brown sugar, sugar, egg and vanilla. Beat until creamy. Sift the flour with salt and baking soda. Add to creamed mixture, blending well. Fold in the oats, raisins and nuts.

Make into 1-inch balls and place on a cookie sheet. Bake for 9-11 minutes or until the edges begin to set. 

TIP: Do not over bake! The cookies will carry the heat and continue to bake when removed from the oven. 

Chocolate-Cranberry Bread Pudding

In honor of Mardi Gras, let's wrap this week on Fat Tuesday with a decadent spin on one of my most requested and comforting desserts.

I like to use day-old French Bread in bread pudding because it has more flavor than the gummy white kind. Cinnamon-raisin bread, sweet rolls, even left over Irish soda bread can also be substituted for part of the bread. Puree some seasonal berries for a sauce or serve with a little chocolate sauce, spiked for festive gatherings.

For More Mardi Gras Recipes: 


 Gumbo Time 


Chocolate Sauce 

Laissez les bons temps rouler 

Chocolate-Cranberry Bread Pudding Recipe

Makes 10-12 servings | From George Hirsch Living it UP! TV series 

3-4 cups cubed dry French bread
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1/2 cup dried cranberry, raisins, or craisins plumped in 1 cup hot water for 5 minutes
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
4 cups milk
8 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons vanilla
1 Teaspoon nutmeg 

Pre heat oven to 375 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine the milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, nutmeg, butter, and beat with a whisk until well blended. Slowly pour over the bread, cranberry/raisin, nut and chocolate mixture. Poke the bread so that it’s completely covered with the milk mixture and let sit for 10-15 minutes.  

Place a pan larger than the cake pan or skillet in preheated oven and place the pan holding the bead pudding inside. Immediately fill the outer pan with enough hot water so that it comes up one inch on the sides of the bread-pudding pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the water bath, reduce the temperature to 325 degrees, and bake for 25 additional minutes.

Remove the bread-pudding and allow to set for two hours before removing it from the pan.

Serve with warm fruit, vanilla or chocolate sauce.