A snickerdoodle is a classic bake sale cookie with a very funny name. It’s a vanilla sugar cookie that is covered in a layer of cinnamon sugar, which gives it its signature speckled look and a strong pop of spice. They’re great cookies because they appeal to so many different people – even die-hard chocolate chip cookie fans – and their simple flavor profile makes them easy to adapt into other formats. For instance, this Snickerdoodle Latte is a delicious snickerdoodle-inspired way to start your day without eating dessert for breakfast.
The latte is made with a cinnamon-infused simple syrup that you can easily make at home. The cinnamon syrup is based on the same recipe I used for my homemade pumpkin spice syrup, though it only uses cinnamon and vanilla for flavoring. You’ll get the best results by using whole cinnamon sticks, rather than ground cinnamon, because the sticks are easy to strain out once your syrup is made. I recommend making a big batch and storing it in an airtight container or bottle in the fridge. It’ll keep for a long time when you store it properly, and you can use it to sweeten regular coffee and tea, in addition to making drinks like this latte.
You can make this drink with either espresso or with strong coffee (depending on what kind of coffee maker you have at home). Feel free to sweeten to taste and top with a sprinkle of ground cinnamon, if desired.
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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