Many foods are all about the flavor, but there are a few out there that are all about the color and red velvet is one of those. Red velvet cake is a buttermilk cake that has a hint of chocolate to it. That hint of chocolate from natural cocoa powder originally gave the cake – decades ago – a natural reddish hue when it combined with baking soda. These days, red velvet cakes are all colored with plenty of red food coloring and many omit the cocoa entirely to keep the color as bright as possible. This actually allows us to play around with the idea of red velvet a little more, since red food coloring gives us the freedom to put the original cake into new forms.
This Red Velvet Mocha doesn’t taste much like red velvet cake, but it is a delicious chocolate drink with a big “wow” factor that is perfect for treating your sweetheart on Valentine’s Day or another special occasion. The mocha is made with dark chocolate chocolate that is melted into strong black coffee. The dark chocolate gives the drink a velvety texture, however you can substitute your favorite hot cocoa mix to make things a little easier. It only takes a few drops of food coloring to give this drink a rich red hue, so add it in slowly. I topped mine with whipped cream and a few red sprinkles, just to add a bit more flare, however this drink needs no embellishment since the color says it all.
When I have dulce de leche in the kitchen, it’s difficult for me to resist it. I’ll eat it by the spoonful, in addition to incorporating it into baked goods, but there are actually many different uses for it. One way that I’ve been enjoying dulce de leche lately is in homemade Dulce de Leche Lattes. These rich, caramel-flavored lattes are a great way to use up a jar of the milk caramel sauce when you have some on hand in your kitchen. The latte, like most, starts with both espresso and steamed milk. The dulce de leche is dissolved into the espresso, infusing the drink with its rich flavor. I also add in a tiny splash of vanilla extract to give the drink a vanilla flavor without adding additional sweetness. The combination is delicious, whether you’re making it as part of your morning routine or enjoying it alongside a chocolate dessert after dinner.
I used espresso in this drink, but if you don’t have an espresso machine, you can substitute strong coffee instead and simply cut back on the milk slightly. I would double the amount of coffee and reduce the milk slightly to get a similar flavor in the finished drink. There have been days when I want a little extra something sweet with my coffee, so if you like your drinks sweeter, feel free to increase the amount of dulce de leche, too. Sweet or not, I usually keep the whipped cream on this one.
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When it is chilly outside and there is no better way to warm up than with a hot drink. The holiday season is a great excuse for a little indulgence, so I like to add a little something extra to my coffee this time of year. This Peppermint Kahlua Mocha is a perfect holiday treat, when you want something besides a regular cup of coffee or hot chocolate. It’s a dessert drink – and it’s a good one.
The drink starts out like a regular mocha, made with coffee, milk and hot cocoa mix. You can use your favorite hot chocolate mix or a homemade one, both will work well. Once you’ve got you’re mocha base, you’ll add in a splash of peppermint schnapps and a generous pour of Kahlua. It’s not the most original combination of flavors, I’ll grant you that, but these are some of my favorite holiday flavors and they always get me in the mood to celebrate. The resulting drink has just enough peppermint flavor to get you in the holiday spirit without overwhelming the coffee and chocolate flavors in the drink. It’s delicious, especially when topped with whipped cream and a peppermint stick – and even moreso if you can enjoy it next to a tree decked out with colorful lights.
Starbucks’ seasonal drinks, like the Pumpkin Spice Latte, are something that many Starbucks fans look forward to all year long. In addition to the old standbys, the company releases new drinks every season. Those drinks also vary by region and by country. This means that if you follow Starbucks news, you’ll often see reports of drinks that are not – or are not yet – available in your area. When I heard that Starbucks was introducing a Cranberry Bliss White Mocha inspired by its extremely popular seasonal Cranberry Bliss Bars, I immediately wanted to try one. Unfortunately, they are only available in Japan for now and it would take a pretty pricey plane ticket to put one in my hand tonight.
So, instead of heading to the airport, I headed into my kitchen to create a homemade Cranberry Bliss White Chocolate Mocha that we all can enjoy. The mocha is made with real white chocolate and a homemade cranberry syrup for a drink that is sweet and creamy, with a hint of tart berry flavor that really captures the holiday spirit.
The cranberry syrup is made with just cranberry juice and sugar. It may seem like quite a bit of sugar at first, but the proportions are very similar to simple syrup, which is commonly used to sweeten coffee drinks. I used 100% cranberry juice and highly recommend seeking out the same type of just for the best cranberry flavor. The syrup will keep in your refrigerator, in a covered container, for at least two weeks. Continue reading »