If you want to make your sweetheart something that is a little sweet and a little spicy for Valentine’s Day this year, try making a Salt and Pepper Mocha. This drink has a little kick to it – courtesy of Trader Joe’s Organic Stone Ground Salt and Pepper Dark Chocolate. This is a coarsely ground, Mexican-style chocolate that TJ’s has been selling recently and it is perfect for making a grown up mocha or hot chocolate.
The chocolate comes in discs and it is easy to break up into pieces by hand. The chocolate has a very crumbly texture and, while you definitely get a sweet and fruity dark chocolate with your first taste, the salt and pepper flavors are very distinct. This gives the chocolate a savory, spicy quality that is a nice change of pace from other chocolates – and from other mocha drinks. I melted half a disc of the chocolate into a mug of hot coffee, then topped it off with hot, steamed milk to make my mocha. The coffee goes extremely well with the salt and pepper flavors in the chocolate, so the drink only needed a touch of milk to round it out. If you’re not a big dark chocolate fan, or simply prefer your mochas a little bit sweeter, feel free to stir in a bit more sugar than I used.
If you want to try this but don’t have access to the Salt and Pepper Chocolate, don’t worry. Simply substitute the same amount of dark chocolate and add a generous pinch of salt, along with a slightly smaller pinch of pepper, until the chocolate has a little kick to it.
There are all kinds of mocha and dark chocolate drinks out there. They’re delicious – no doubt about it – but sometimes I think that white chocolate is slightly underrepresented. I like white chocolate and there are plenty of coffee drinks that you can make using it, as well, but you might have to look a little bit harder to find inspiration than you do with regular mocha recipes. In this case, I found inspiration in a box of chocolates.
The first time I made this drink, I had a bunch of white chocolate truffles in my kitchen and simply popped them into my coffee. The white chocolate added a really nice sweetness to the drink, and the truffles melted smoothly. It is a must-try if you already have white chocolate truffles around, but a very quick and easy chocolate ganache lets me make this drink over and over again even if I don’t have some in the house already.
You can make this with strong coffee, or you can make it with espresso. I think that espresso is the way to go, since you get a slightly more intense coffee flavor, but more milk that will pick up on the richness of the truffles. If you are going for the coffee option and using whole truffles, you might find that you want to add one extra to sweeten it up a bit.
Peppermint Bark is a very popular Christmas and wintertime chocolate treat. It typically consists of layers of dark and white chocolate studded with bits of peppermint. Some have more chocolate than others, and some have more mint, but they all get the same chocolate and mint combination across. Peppermint mochas are already a popular winter drink in coffee shops and, after getting a huge box of peppermint bark as a pre-holiday gift, I decided to use it as a base for my own peppermint mochas.
The recipe is easy: melt peppermint bark into hot coffee, top with milk and serve. You can garnish it with a peppermint stick, if you like, or just munch on any unused peppermint bark while your sip your holiday drink.
The amount of peppermint bark you will need for this recipe will vary, depending on the type of bark you have and how minty it is. Start with the 2-oz I recommend and go up from there as needed. If you need to add more, just go ahead and do it. You can always reheat your drink a little bit in the microwave to ensure that it is hot enough to melt all the chocolate.
Continue reading »
An affogato is an Italian dessert where a fresh shot of espresso is poured over a small scoop of ice cream. It’s a perfect melding of hot and cold for a coffee-lover. I usually make these with vanilla ice cream or gelato because vanilla and coffee is always a winning combination in my book. That said, you can really use any kind of ice cream that you think will work well with your shot. I would stay away from ice cream with big chunks in it (such as chunks of cookie dough), but other than that, there are many options.
This Double Coffee Affogato is for coffee lovers. It starts with coffee ice cream and is topped with espresso. You can buy the coffee ice cream – mocha would be a good choice, too – or use homemade. I opted to use my homemade Cafe Latte Ice Cream, increasing the coffee to two tablespoons for a stronger flavor. If you are using store-bought ice cream, pick a high quality brand like Haagen Dazs (they make my favorite coffee ice cream).