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.
Latte art is one of the most fun things that you can do with coffee, and it’s fun to drink your mistakes when you’re learning the art. That said, it isn’t the only way to decorate a drink. You can use a dusting of cocoa powder or spice to add some color to steamed milk or whipped cream. A stencil cut out of a piece of stiff paper will give you some control over your design, but the Cinnibird Spice Pen will give you even more control. This food-friendly pen can be filled with ground sugar and spices, then used to draw or write just about any message you can think of! The spices pour out of the tip of the pen in a thin stream, allowing you to make fairly intricate designs very easily. It does have a fairly generous stream (to prevent clogs), so I would recommend using cocoa powder or a ground blend of cinnamon and sugar, rather than straight cinnamon, for your drinks.
In addition to topping lattes, you can use the pen to decorate dessert plates or add splashes of color to savory dishes. It will really make you look like a pro – and it is very fun to use.
Several months ago, I heard that McDonalds was bringing their coffee to retail stores. I didn’t hear much about it after that, though it was not a surprising move since competitors like Dunkin’ Donuts are already selling coffee in that space. I recently saw McCafe K-Cups in my local grocery store and picked up a pack to give them a try. The K-cup version of McCafe coffee makes a lot more sense to me than packaged ground beans, since McDonalds coffee is all about convenience.
The French Roast packaging is attractive and the k-cups have a fluted shape to them that makes them instantly recognizable by feel, even if you thrown them into a box filled with other k-cups. The coffee is a medium bodied coffee with some nice chocolate and cocoa notes, as well as a hint of citrus, and a very smooth finish. It isn’t an extremely complex coffee, but it is very drinkable and I would say it is better than the last time I got coffee from the McDonald’s drive-thru. It is also definitely better than many of other mid-range k-cup brands that I’ve tried, so I was pretty pleased with it overall. The McCafe line offers a range of both dark and light coffees. I personally wouldn’t want a coffee much lighter than this, but I think that these k-cups could be a nice crowd-pleasing option to add to your coffee lineup.
Coffee liqueur is one of those little indulgences that is a great way to treat yourself when you want an after dinner drink that isn’t your usual cup of coffee. The most well-known coffee liqueur is Kahlua, which is made with a rum base, but these day there are all kinds of coffee liqueurs made with everything from vodka to tequila that you can incorporate into your cocktails. Coffee liqueur is also surprisingly easy to make if you have a bottle of vodka and some instant coffee already in your kitchen.
At Baking Bites, I shared a great recipe for Homemade Vanilla Coffee Liqueur that will satisfy coffee-lovers’ tastebuds better than any of the storebought stuff will. It has a rich coffee flavor and a nice balance of sweetness. You can add it to hot chocolate, a latte or turn it into an Espresso Martini. Continue reading »