The Merrily Caffeinated Writer

COOKING ADVENTURE #48: Starbucks Coffee Drinks

Caramel Brulee CoffeePeppermint Mocha

I’m not going to hide the fact that I’ve been a major slacker this week/last week. In fact, I’m putting it right in the title. I’ve almost got no excuse except for the fact that I’ve been trying to get Christmas gifts together and finish up the last of the editing for the physical copies of my second book… which I FINALLY finished about two hours ago. Wee! Now… back to blog work. This week, I decided to do something a little different, which is probably why it didn’t get written when it should have been. Usually, I’ll try to do my Cooking Adventures on Monday so that I can write about them before Thursday. However… last week, I had plans on Monday which kept me out of the house all day! And then I was off at work the next two days, leaving early in the morning. And lets face it, not many people want to come home and make some complicated coffee drinks. I know I hit the sack. And the marshmallows? Well, I’ve decided that I’m going to put that as this week’s Cooking Adventure because I just don’t have much time for anything else. Sorry. :p

For those who know me, they think of the three things I enjoy most: cats, writing, and coffee. Before my little bout with the ulcer this past summer, I drank A LOT of coffee. I also stockpiled a lot of this coffee in my super special “coffee cabinet”. I used to love to make it really strong. I’d also enjoy going out for coffee at any time of the day. Then however, the ulcer came and that was just too much acid for my poor little stomach to take. As a result, I’ve cut down my coffee in take to weak coffee, although I’m trying to have a few fun coffee drinks every now and again. This week seemed like a good time to test a few coffee recipes out.

In the last blog, I stated I was making a Creme Brulee Latte… but due to a smidgen of dyslexia, I meant to say Caramel Brulee Latte. That’s what the recipe actually was. I made this one first on Friday morning last week. The directions are rather simple as you might expect. First, make some espresso! I didn’t make mine very strong and pretty much just brewed coffee like I always do in the drip coffee maker. You could certainly add a few extra scoops of coffee to your regular batch in order to give it some extra oomph!

Meanwhile, in a mug, I took some Caramel syrup ice cream topping and drizzled a couple tbsp amounts into the bottom of the mug. I may have added a little more then that… but why not? I love caramel! Next, the directions tell you to add 2 tbsp of vanilla bean syrup. However, I have absolutely NO idea where to find this kind of thing. Definitely not at the local supermarket. You’d have to go into some kind of specialty gourmet store to pick one of these bottles up. Folks, I wasn’t going to waste in a grail-like quest, searching the Midcoast of Maine for the epic vanilla syrup. I ended up taking just a drop of vanilla extract and adding that to the mug. Granted, it won’t be as incredibly sweet as I’m sure the syrup would be, but it does infuse the flavor with a hint of vanilla. Then, I added the espresso to the mug and gave it a good stir.

Then, there comes this: steamed milk. I know what this means. You have to have a nifty little milk-steaming contraption in order to pull this off. Sadly, I am without one and was obviously too dumb to realize that I’d need one when I picked out this recipe to make. So, I spent a good deal of time searching the web for other ways to steam milk. One of the best was to heat the milk up on the stove top, then put in a sealed container, and… shake the hell out of it. Baristas all over the world will probably want to sacrifice me to the coffee gods for such a pathetic idea but, honestly, I wasn’t going to go buy one of those things. I didn’t have time and still would have to learn to use it.

After shaking the milk into oblivion, I opened the container to white frothy bubbles which I promptly placed in the mug with the coffee. The bubbles were there long enough for me to snap a photo. The coffee was pretty delicious but I suspect, with the vanilla syrup it would have made the coffee a bit sweeter… which it desperately needed.

NEXT: The Peppermint Mocha. Even I was shaking with glorious anticipation for this one. I love the idea of peppermint and chocolate together. Putting that with coffee is probably the best idea anyone has ever had. First, the instructions tell you how to make the wonderful peppermint syrup that will go into the coffee mug. On the stovetop in a pot, dump 1/4 cup sugar with 1/4 cup water and let these heat on the stove top until the sugar dissolves. Then, you are to bring it to a boil. I was extremely nervous that I’d burn the sugar but thankfully, I had enough sense to turn up the heat gradually and to keep stirring. Finally, when the water began to boil, I reduced the heat to simmering and went to add the peppermint extract.

A teeny tiny drop of this stuff is POWERFUL. I was only supposed to use 1/4 tsp, right? I added this to the pot and a peppermint extract plume hit my nose full on. Ever had the sensation when all of your sinuses have been opened up all at once? That was what happened, of course with that super fresh smell to accompany. Shaking my head to expel the last of the cloud that had hit me, I kept stirring the mixture on the stove top. In the mean time, I had coffee already brewed and waiting in a pot behind me. Little did I know that the stovetop mixture had to sit for 20 minutes. Oh, brother. But the wait was worth it.

I would also like to point out that while I made this, I was also trying to make blueberry muffins… and they weren’t cooperating. Go figure. In a mug, I dumped three tbsp of powdered cocoa in with three tbsp of water and stirred it together into a thick paste. Then I added my coffee to it, and 1 1/2 tsp of the peppermint syrup. Lastly, I shook up some heated milk again and poured it on top.

So these weren’t necessarily traditional lattes with steamed milk, but they were delicious and I’d definitely make them again, especially if I have any friends or family coming over for Christmas celebrations.

This Thursday, you’ll be seeing my Cooking Adventure for the Peppermint Marshmallow treats that you can hang on the inside of your cocoa mugs! Stay tuned! Also, Inspiration Through Music should be up by tomorrow.


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