During the fall, Starbucks releases its Pumpkin Spice Latte for pumpkin spice fans everywhere. The drink is so popular that it sometimes overshadow’s the brands other offerings. I do like the PSL, but I have to admit that my favorite drink right now is something a little bit different. On warm fall days, I’m opting for an Iced Salted Caramel Mocha when I want to indulge a bit. The Starbucks version uses mocha and toffee nut syrups for a drink that is a blend of chocolaty and nutty flavors, then it is topped with a drizzle of salted caramel sauce. I don’t have toffee nut syrup at home to make an exact replica of the drink – however you don’t need to have it to whip up a fantastic homemade version of this decadent drink.
My version of the drink starts with strong coffee, hot chocolate mix and salted caramel sauce. Salted caramel is so popular now that it is easy to find the sauce being sold at most grocery stores. I used a particularly buttery salted caramel from CC Made. If your store doesn’t carry it, you can use any caramel sauce that you like (thick sauce, not syrup) and add in a generous pinch of salt to contrast with its sweetness. Mix the strong coffee with hot cocoa and salted caramel sauce, then pour over ice and top with a splash of milk, a dollop of whipped cream and a drizzle of caramel.
I recommend using double strength coffee or even espresso when making this drink, since the coffee will dilute when you pour it over the ice and you don’t want you drink to taste watered down. You can start out with iced coffee, however it is much easier to incorporate the cocoa powder and caramel if you are starting with hot. Continue reading »
A black forest cake is made with layers of kirsch-spiked chocolate cake, cherries and wehipped cream. It’s a delicious flavor combination, and pops up in desserts besides cake from time to time. The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf chain, based in Southern California, has long had a Black Forest Ice Blended drink on their menu and it is one of their best sellers. Their version is made with a mocha base, maraschino cherries and chocolate-covered espresso beans. It’s easy to recreate this favorite at home if you have a jar of cherries and a blender, and I often do when I want to treat myself!
I usually have a jar of maraschino cherries in my fridge for garnishing cocktails, but if you don’t have any you can substitute sweet black cherries, either jarred, fresh or frozen. The flavor is a little bit more natural when you use them, although the maraschinos are “traditional” in this type of drink. I recommend leaving out the chocolate covered espresso beans unless you have a powerful blender, like a Blendtec (which is what I use). A low-power blender will probably just leave chunks of the beans in your drink that won’t fit easily through a straw. That said, if you feel like your blender is up to the challenge, go for it because they add a nice bit of texture to the drink.
Tropical drinks are usually fruity affairs, brightly colored and served in funky glasses that are topped with tiny umbrellas. Those tiki drinks are delicious, but they are not the only way to enjoy a taste of the tropics. This Coconut Rum Mocha is a delicious dessert coffee drink that is infused with coconut and rum, paired with just the right amount of chocolate. The combination may sound a bit strange, but once you have a sip and see how the creamy coconut, spiced rum and bittersweet chocolate blend together, you’ll find yourself making sure that you have the ingredients on hand at all times.
The coconut flavor comes from cream of coconut. This is a product that is usually found in the liquor aisle at grocery stores or with the rest of the pina colada ingredients at spirits stores. It is pre-sweetened, unlike plain coconut milk, and ready to use right out of the bottle/can. I used spiced rum – Bacardi Oakheart, in this case, though Captain Morgan, Sailor Jerry, The Kracken, etc. will all work – because it blends very well with coconut and chocolate, providing a nice bridge between the two elements. These two ingredients are a must, but you can be a little bit more flexible with the other elements of the drink and tweak them to suit your tastes. For instance, you can use any kind of hot cocoa mix in this drink (or make your own with sugar and cocoa powder) and any kind of coffee. Since this drink is meant as a nightcap, making it with decaf coffee is a good choice if you want to skip the caffeine before bedtime. One thing that I wouldn’t skip, however, is the whipped cream. It adds a hint of creaminess to the drink and helps meld all those other flavors together each time you take a sip. Plus, desserts are always nicer with a dollop of whipped cream!
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There are few things more refreshing than an iced coffee on a hot day. Unlike popsicles or ice cream, you can really slow down and savor an iced coffee without worrying about making a sticky mess. Flavored iced coffees in particular can really hit the spot during the summer, and my latest love has been homemade Salted Caramel Iced Coffee. This coffee drink is just sweet enough to satisfy a craving for something indulgent without being overly sweet, and it is easy to customize it to suit your own tastes. For me, I like to make it with strong coffee as a base and serve it up with a generous swirl of whipped cream.
If you have iced coffee at home, then just make your drink with iced coffee to start out with. If you don’t have iced coffee at home, you’re going to have to start off hot. This gives you some advantages, since it is very easy to dissolve sugar, caramel and other ingredients into hot coffee. The disadvantage is that you might have to wait for the coffee to cool before you can enjoy your refreshing beverage. When I am making iced coffee, I brew double strength coffee. This not only cuts the sweetness of whatever syrups I’m adding, but it dilutes itself when you pour it over ice, bringing it down to a perfect consistency and temperature.
I used a storebought salted caramel sauce to make this drink (from Trader Joe’s), which make the drink-making process quick and easy. If you don’t have a salted caramel sauce, you can simply add a pinch to your favorite unsalted caramel sauce. Don’t forget to drizzle the drink on top with caramel and add a few grains of salt to really enhance that salty-sweetness before serving!