I would like to say that I’m always able to relax at my kitchen table or at my desk while I’m drinking my coffee, but the truth is that, like just about everybody else out there, I am often drinking coffee while engaging in some other activity. They make travel mugs for commuters and other active coffee drinkers, and now I’ve seen the Knee/Lap Mug, which is intended for those whose “other activity” is a little more sedentary. The mug comes in two formats: an over the knee model and on the lap version. The knee mug has a base the curves up in an inverted arc, which will sit snugly over the curve of your leg and offer much more stability than a flat-bottomed glass. The lap mug has a pointed base that sits comfortably between your legs. It does make a difference when you just want to kick back on the couch and work on a crossword puzzle without having to reach over to the table every few minutes to grab your mug!
When it comes to making coffee drinks, I tend to recommend using good quality cocoa powder or the best chocolate that you can find. This ensures that you get the most flavorful result in your drink. It also tends to excludes certain types of chocolates – such as chocolate chips. In the past, chocolate chips were frequently made with non-chocolate ingredients, including vegetable shortening and additional emulsifiers that helped the chips stay smooth and hold their shape while in the oven. These days, more companies are using real chocolate – which is typically comprised of ingredients like cocoa powder, cocoa butter, sugar, milk and vanilla – to make their chocolate chips and leaving the rest of the stuff out. May 15th is National Chocolate Chip Day and I couldn’t think of a better way to recognize chocolate chips than by putting them in a coffee drink – and serving it with a few homemade chocolate chip cookies!
This Chocolate Chip Mocha is made with chocolate chips. I used Nestle Tollhouse Dark Chocolate Chips with good results. Simply pour very hot coffee over a generous amount of chocolate chips and stir until the chips are melted. Top of the cup with warmed or steamed milk, then finish with a dollop of whipped cream and garnish with additional chocolate chips. I used mini chocolate chips for my garnish because they hold up on top of the whipped cream better than full-sized chips – although you can always stir in any chips that fall through the whipped cream and into your drink!
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I love chocolate covered coffee beans, but more often than not they’re a bit disappointing and either use mediocre chocolate or beans that don’t have enough flavor to them. The packaging of Javaz, a brand of milk and dark chocolate covered coffee beans, really caught my attention with their promise of being “artisan confections of organic coffee beans and fine chocolate.” The candies are Arabica coffee beans enrobed in chocolate and finished with a very thin candy shell. The dark chocolate is not too sweet, with a good cocoa and berry notes to it, like a dark roast coffee. There is a good ratio of chocolate to coffee bean, and the chocolate compliments the crisp bean inside very well. The milk chocolate version is much creamier than the dark chocolate Javaz, and melts easily on the tongue. It leaves behind a sweeter, creamier flavor that reminds me of a mocha latte rather than of black coffee. The shells are extremely crisp and thin – much thinner than the shell of, say, and M&M -and they shatter with a satisfying crunch when you bite into them.
I’ll definitely pick these up again, going for the dark when I want more of a strong coffee flavor and the milk when I’m in the mood for something creamier. I found these at a local store (Cost Plus World Market) but it appears that they are also available online if you’re looking for a new way to get your chocolate covered coffee bean fix.
On a hot day, you can expect to walk into a Starbucks and see a line of thirsty visitors waiting to order their favorite Frappuccino. From now through May 16th, you can expect to see a line of Frappuccino fans regardless of what the weather is like outside because Starbucks is hosting a Happy Hour from 3-5pm on those dates, where all Frappuccinos are half price. This is a pretty amazing deal if you like the blended drinks – especially if you happen to live somewhere that it is feeling like summertime already.
The happy hour special is good on all Frappuccinos, not just the new summer drinks, but if you’re up for giving one of them a try, I’ll recommend the Coconut Mocha!