Experiment with agar agar… coffee and chocolate cubes

Date maggio 24, 2010

Monday morning. Have you had a good weekend? Mine was fabulous! Saturday morning I had the first cooking class for children: a success beyond all expectations. There were 30 kids screaming and happy, covered with strawberries and yogurt, with their noses floured and their mouths dirty with ricotta. In the midst of all this crazy group of people, there was me, maybe more radiant and happy than all of them together, with a smile of satisfaction on my face.

So let’s start the week with a boost of energy, a quick recipe that celebrates and enhances my new love, agar agar. All of this started on the 12th of April, when I read Sigrid’s post about agar agar. Flash and revelation! Once you start playing with this powder – that is a very natural seaweed extract, vegetal and rich in minerals – you won’t be able to stop, and you’ll try to solidify anything existing naturally in a liquid form.

The first thing that is important to remember is that agar agar should be dissolved into a boiling liquid, from 2 to 4 grams is enough to solidify 500 ml of liquid: decrease the amount of powder and you’ll have  a soft and creamy mixture, less solid. And if something does not work? Melt again everything and just increase the amount of agar agar or liquid to find the right proportion. All you have to do is try! For now, enjoy this quick recipe, taken from Cavoletto di Bruxelles, fool-proof and very light. This recipe will soon be followed by another recipe, creamy and strawberry flavoured, based on agar agar as well.


  • espresso coffee, 250 ml
  • cane sugar, 4 teaspoons
  • dark chocolate, 30 gr
  • cardamom, 4 pods, crushed
  • agar agar powder, 2 teaspoons

Make coffee and stir in chopped dark chocolate, stirring constantly until dissolved. Put crushed cardamom pods in infusion into coffee and chocolate mixture, then let it cool completely. Add brown sugar and agar agar powder, mix with a whip and heat again. As soon as it begins to tremble, let it boil slowly from 20 to 30 seconds, then carefully pour into tiny molds for chocolate pralines. Time 2 hours, our coffee and chocolate cubes are ready to be eaten.

They are very intense and strong, you feel the dark chocolate and cardamom on the lingering coffee background. They are especially good and very light! Come on, it is almost like eating a coffee chocolate, but that leaves no sense of guilt! The only thing left is the intensity of coffee and the pleasant aroma of cardamom.

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25 Responses to “Experiment with agar agar… coffee and chocolate cubes”

  1. Tweets that mention Experiment with agar agar… coffee and chocolate cubes | Juls Kitchen -- Topsy.com said:

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Bianca Ferrari, Giulia Scarpaleggia. Giulia Scarpaleggia said: *New Post* Fancy a coffee to kick off the morning? http://bit.ly/aCJfWp False coffee chocolates made with agar agar [...]

  2. sasa said:

    All kinds of desserts is my favorite, especially cake.I always cannot stand for dessert temptation.


  3. Food Lover said:

    Yummmm chocolate, I LOVE it
    sorry but what exactly is agar agar powder? is it gelatin?


  4. chef Dennis said:

    I can’t believe how much I learn everyday from Food Buzz Bloggers…..what an incredible feeling!!
    thanks so much for yoiur post on Agar Agar….it seems amazing, I have to get some today!
    I’m so glad you enjoyed your class with the little ones!!


  5. Giulia said:

    @ Sasa: me too!
    @ Food Lover: Agar agar is a seaweed, used especially in Japan, extremey natural and rich in minerals. You can find it in organic shops, in bars, powder or flakes. It has the same function as gelatin, but it is completely natural and without calories!
    @ Chef Dennis: thank you for visiting and for your kind words! I’ve seen you organize cooking classes for kids as well, we can exchange tips and suggestions!


  6. shirley@kokken69 said:

    How very interesting! Agar agar is healthy and in Japan, they have a whole diet plan designed from Agar Agar – I do see there is still chocolate in your recipe but it sure is more guilt-free than eating whole chocolate pralines… :) Beautiful photos!


  7. Food Lover said:

    Giulia: Thank you, I can’t wait to try it :)


  8. roxan said:

    Interesting! I’ve never used agar agar before. Looks like fun


  9. Patricia Scarpin said:

    I have never worked with agar agar – these are so pretty! Lovely job!


  10. Sophia said:

    I’ve never used agar agar before, but I think I might try soon. This looks like it would be a lot of fun. Thanks for sharing!



  11. bunkycooks said:

    I have not used agar agar before. I will have to see if I can find some. These are lovely and congrats on the cooking class!


  12. Maven Koesler said:

    Try agar agar in custard based ice cream.
    I discovered it in the Vietnamese market and finally solved the mystery of the super firm jell-o that you find in Chinese restaurants. I’m still experimenting with it, but so far I LOVE it.


  13. The Cilantropist said:

    Wow, I learn something new every day! I will have to give this a try to expand my culinary horizons. And if it has coffee in it and no calories, all the more reason to justify a chocolate in the morning for breakfast! ;)


  14. Magic of Spice said:

    How delightful… A must try:)


  15. Debbie said:

    These are so cute! I’ll have to find some agar agar powder :-)


  16. Cleo Coyle said:

    Coffee and chocolate, two of my very favorite things. Great explanation on the use of agar agar. Your photos are fantastic, too. Thank you for sharing this. :) Cheers, ~ Cleo


  17. anna said:

    YUM! I’ve only made fruity agar treats but chocolate sounds like a really neat idea. Definitely trying this sometime!


  18. The Housewife said:

    I would never have thought of using agar agar like this! Looks so pretty and would be a great surprise on the breakfast table!


  19. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction said:

    I have not yet tried agar agar… But these look absolutely lovely! Coffee and chocolate are two of my favorite things!


  20. Melisa Taylor said:

    I can’t wait to try this recipe. I just picked up a bunch of Agar Agar at our local Asian Market. So excited! It was pretty darn cheap, too!


  21. Molecular Gastronomy: The Newest Trend in Cooking | Yummly said:

    [...] Agar Agar Coffee Chocolates (from Juls’ Kitchen) [...]

  22. l'agar agar said:

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  23. jules said:

    hi Julskitchen…julesfood here. 1st…i love your blog. great photos and delicious goodies. i have to browse more. i tried this recipe and it didn’t work for me. i love love the flavor, but the texture didn’t work. i must say this is the first time i have experimented with agar agar so maybe i thought it would be more like gelatin. i re-melted the cubes and upped the liquid to 450ml. still a little odd. maybe my agar was more powerful than yours?…hmmmm. i won’t give up. i love the flavors so much i might try gelatin, but i will experiment with agar more tomorrow. maybe your pudding recipe. thanks for the great blog.


    Giulia Risposta:

    Hi Jules! :)
    actually it has quite a different texture, not similar to gelatine, but often you need to try out many times until you find your perfect balance, and then you’ll love agar agar!
    thank you for stopping by!


  24. 7 Recipes for Coffee Candy Bites said:

    […] Recipe & photo credit to en.julskitchen.com […]

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