E-Z Gourmet Hot Cocoa & Lattes

It’s easier than you think to make designer lattes and hot cocoas at home!  You’re home anyway, so why not experiment with some “hot treats” to help you pillage your way through winter on frosty mornings or chilly nights!

You may even have leftover candy from the holidays.  Leftover candy can instantly boost your latte or hot cocoa to an A+ rating.  There’s also ideas at the bottom of this post to use up leftover candy.

Basic Latte:  A latte is very strong coffee with steamed milk.  To knock off at latte at home, make a very strong pot of coffee (double or triple your usual strength).  In saucepan, bring milk to the point of steaming.  Remove from stove and pour into coffee cup with your strong coffee.  Try 2/3 mug of hot milk, 1/3 mug of strong coffee.  Add a dash of cinnamon for that extra “healthy” boost.  You may want to add more or less coffee or milk to your liking.

Gourmet Latte:  Make the Basic Latte above and add your choice(s) of the following:

  1. Pieces of your favorite chocolate bar (caramel, mint or:  white, light or dark chocolate).
  2. Leftover chocolates (add a piece or two of chocolates filled with caramels, strawberry filling or vanilla filling, etc.) to your latte to give it instant pizazz.
  3. Pieces of Peppermint Bark or Candy Canes (great way for using up leftover candy after the holidays).
  4. Top with whipped cream.
  5. For an Eggnog latte, simply add a few splashes of your favorite Eggnog that you can buy at your local grocery store in the dairy dept.
  6. Simple syrups, even low-cal “skinny syrups” can be found in stores such as World Market and Home Goods. They come in a variety of flavors from vanilla to caramel and everything in between. Add a splash or two to your latte.

Gourmet Coffee – don’t want a latte?  Turn your favorite coffee brew into a gourmet treat by adding a piece of your favorite chocolate bar or break off a small piece of leftover holiday chocolates (plain or filled). Want to add some “extra merriment?”  Add a splash or two of Bailey’s Irish Cream!

Gourmet Hot Cocoa:   Do have a favorite chocolate bar or leftover filled chocolates?  Heat up your milk and instead of adding store bought hot chocolate powder, break up pieces of your favorite chocolate bar and stir into the milk until completely melted.  If you have leftover chocolate filled candy (i.e., chocolate with mint filling, or caramel filling, etc.), add them to steamed milk for a unique hot cocoa.   You can also add pieces of a white chocolate bar and a few crushed pieces of candy canes for a white peppermint hot coco.  Fun and colorful Peeps in white snowmen or other holiday designs are a good substitute for plain marshmallows.  Kids will particularly enjoy this (but I like ‘em too!).

For that cocktail touch:  Add some peppermint schnapps, Bailey Irish Cream or Frangelico liquor to your cocoa.

 

OTHER USES FOR LEFTOVER CHOCOLATES, CANDY CANES OR PEPPERMINT BARK:  Crush them for toppings on cakes, cupcakes and cookies.  Add crushed pieces in a blender with milk, yogurt and vanilla ice-cream for a snow blizzard smoothie that would make even Frosty the Snowman jealous!

It’s going to be a long winter – so this is the perfect time to experiment and come up with your own “at home” designer coffee and cocoas for you or your whole family to enjoy!

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