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 »
Salted caramel tastes delicious all year round, but I find that it works its way into more drinks as the days get shorter and the weather gets cooler. When we’re cold, having a cup of something warm and comforting to drink is a great way to treat yourself – and caramel is always a treat. There are lots of salted caramel coffee drinks out there, but you don’t see it paired with tea quite as often. The smooth, buttery sweetness of caramel is a great match for many different kinds of tea and it makes an amazing Salted Caramel Chai Tea Latte.
This easy to make tea drink uses prepared salted caramel sauce as its main sweetener. I used a salted caramel sauce from Trader Joe’s, but there are many brands out there to choose from these days. The important thing, when choosing a caramel sauce, is that you pick one with high quality ingredients (real sugar, vanilla, salt and milk/cream/butter), since quality ingredients are going to give you a better tasting caramel. To make the drink, simply brew up a strong cup of your favorite chai tea and stir in a couple of tablespoons of caramel sauce. The salt in the caramel is going to keep the drink from tasting too sweet, so you’ll taste more of the buttery richness of the sauce than its sweetness. It’s a great way to tame the spice in some more aggressive chai teas. I topped mine with a little bit of steamed milk, but there is no reason that you couldn’t dress up this drink with a dollop of whipped cream, if you wanted to make it a bit more indulgent!
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I recently picked up a jar of the delicious Pumpkin Caramel Sauce from Trader Joe’s. This seasonal offering is made with real pumpkin and fresh spices, with a generous dose of pumpkin pie spices to give it some extra complexity. The fluid sauce is the perfect way to finish off a bowl of ice cream or a slice of apple pie, but it is even more well-suited to making Caramel Pumpkin Spice Lattes.
The drink is a very easy one to make because it only involves three ingredients. Of course, the catch is that you need to head out to your nearest Trader Joe’s to pick up the sauce in the first place, but once you have it on hand, that one jar will get you through quite a few of these drinks. The base of the latte is nothing more than espresso with the caramel sauce dissolved into it. While it seems like the flavor of the pumpkin might get lost under the flavor of the coffee, it actually really stands out while the sweetness of the caramel itself is tempered a bit! The result is a drink that tastes like a delicious, caramel twist on that ever-popular Pumpkin Spice Latte and is a very satisfying drink to treat yourself with on a cool fall evening.