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.
Both coffee and tea pair very well with freshly baked, homemade muffins, but they don’t usually make their way into the muffins themselves. Coffee cake and coffee cake muffins, for instance, are not coffee flavored – they are just meant to pair with coffee. Coffee and tea can both be fantastic flavors for baked goods, muffins included, and you’ll get plenty of tea in these Chai Tea Muffins with Chai Streusel.
The muffins are made with strong chai tea, which gives them a black tea and spice flavor. I recommend brewing double or triple strenght chai tea for this recipe so that you get as much tea flavor as possible. That being said, the muffins are also packed with chai spices, like cinnamon, allspice, ginger and cardamom to ensure that you get a well-rounded chai flavor in every bite. They’re moist, tender and topped off with a spiced streusel topping that adds a nice buttery crunch, as well as a little extra spice.
As you might expect, these pair extremely well with a cup of hot chai tea or with a chai tea latte, but they also pair well with a regular cup of coffee.
A tiramisu is a popular Italian dessert made with ladyfingers soaked in espresso and layered together with rich cream. It’s known as a “pick me up” because of all the coffee that is used in the recipe, though it never hurts to get a little bit more coffee into the picture. I recently picked up a container of Breyer’s Tiramisu Gelato, which is new flavor from the ice cream maker. It definitely captures that coffee and cream tiramisu flavor, but it also has pieces of ladyfingers in it to give it a little texture and to really tie it in with traditional tiramisu. I decided that this gelato was a great candidate for one of my favorite coffee desserts, the affogato.
I simply placed a scoop of the gelato into a small dish, dusted it with cocoa powder and poured a shot of hot espresso over the top. I added the cocoa powder because tiramisus are traditionally finished with a dusting of cocoa powder, and you’ll get a nice chocolate aroma when you pour the espresso over it. When I took a taste, I still got the cream flavor from the ice cream, but the coffee stood out even more. Those pieces of ladyfingers also kept their texture while soaking up espresso and melted ice cream, for a dessert that tasted rich and like it took a lot more time to make than it really did!
You can get a similar effect by using half a scoop of vanilla ice cream or gelato and half a scoop of coffee if you don’t have or can’t find the tiramisu gelato, though that is the way to go if you have it in your local market. I highly recommend picking up some ladyfingers to serve alongside your affogato, since extra ladyfingers are perfect for soaking up the affogato as it melts.
The Starbucks Caramel Macchiato is a drink made with espresso, milk, vanilla and caramel – all flavors that I am a big fan of. The drink comes layered, so you have to give it a little bit of a stir to combine all the elements. Starbucks also makes a refrigerated version of this drink in their Starbucks Discoveries line – and I was surprised to find that it tasted a lot like the in-store version of the drink when I tasted it! This bottled drink also made me wonder what else I could do with it – and before long I was experimenting with recipes.
This Caramel Macchiato Panna Cotta is made using Starbucks Disoveries Caramel Macchiato as its base. The creamy drink mix lends its espresso, vanilla and caramel notes to this classic dessert. A panna cotta is a classic dessert that has a custard-like texture but is held together using a small amount of gelatin. They’re known for being light and silky – and they’re a lot easier to make than four star restaurants would have you believe. This is especially true if you’re already starting with a flavorful base, as I did here.