Archive for October, 2010

Gingerbread latte and vanilla bean speckled whipped cream

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

Summer is past. North Carolina Outer Banks, wild horses, a death, a conception, a Delaware reunion with dear friends, Myrtle Beach, a stay in the mountains, product photography in Indiana, long trips home, lots of eating out and bringing in, and very little desire to cook. I’m tired. A bit blue some days. Sick often.

But in the end, there will be a new little person, and that makes it all worthwhile!

I am pregnant – hence my long absence. Quite immediately after learning the news in August, I started feeling nauseated and near completely lost all desire to cook and even eat most days (no worries, I am definitely still eating).

Such a strange and foreign experience to not enjoy the foods I normally crave; sweets – blah, chocolate – ugh, vegetables – no thank you, cheese – gah, fruit – err…maybe citrus, bread – take it or leave it, red meat – normally nah but okay, coffee – shouldn’t, but please.

So, that’s why I dropped out of the blogosphere for the past three months. I’m in my second trimester now and starting to feel a bit better, and feeling quite negligent for not letting you all know what’s been going on.  Sometimes in life, there is only room for necessity.  This has been one of those times for me and I am thankful it is passing.

We are excited! A new life, a new love – what is more incredible or precious? Love, true unconditional love, is deeply powerful and capable of bringing wholeness and meaning in life. I don’t believe I have known love more completely than in the love I have for my son, and through that love I am urged and compelled to try to love others as unconditionally. Parenthood is life changing, and I am so very thankful to have the experience.

This latte is one of my very favorites.  Normally I drink my coffee with no sugar or flavorings, but around this time of year I start to crave seasonal flavors – ginger, molasses, allspice, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon and of course, pumpkin.

I am trying to limit my caffeine intake now so I do not drink much at one time, but somehow the comfort and familiarity of my morning coffee has not left me in these appetite-less months, so I have allowed myself small indulgences here and there.

This is really a special treat if you have an espresso maker – quite like the gingerbread lattes you can get at your local coffee shops, but better, because you made it. I also included a recipe for brown sugar vanilla bean speckled whipped cream, because, obviously, this can do nothing but take the whole concoction over the top.

Thanks for checking in after so long!

Gingerbread latte
makes one 8-10 oz. beverage

2 shots of fresh espresso
1/4 – 1/3 cup fresh whole milk or half & half, steamed to total volume of 3/4 – 1 cup*
2 teaspoons full flavor molasses
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of allspice
pinch of ground ginger

Brown sugar vanilla bean speckled whipped cream
makes enough to top one Gingerbread Latte

3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon dark or light brown sugar
1/8 seeds from one vanilla bean pod*

1. Prepare your espresso maker and grounds for two shots of espresso.

2. Begin the whipped cream by pouring very cold cream (whips better extra cold) into a medium size bowl along with the vanilla seeds (split the vanilla bean in half vertically with a sharp knife and scrape out 1/8 of the seeds) and brown sugar. Whip with a handheld electric mixer until soft and “scoopable.” Set in the fridge.

3. Next, pour the half & half and molasses into a mug and stir – place mixture in the freezer or fridge while making espresso (coldness & freshness helps make greater volume and foam).

4. Warm the espresso cup in the microwave for 30 seconds to a minute (to help keep espresso hot while steaming the half & half) and make the espresso according to your device.

5. Add all of the spices directly onto the top of the freshly made espresso.

6. Remove half & half molasses mixture from the fridge/freezer and steam according to your device instructions. If you do not have a steaming device, you may heat the half & half molasses mixture in the microwave for 30-45 seconds. In this case, there is no need to pre-chill and I would add extra dairy to compensate for the steam (water) that is added when steaming milk (unless you like your beverage extra strong, as I do).

7. Add the steamed half & half molasses mixture to the spiced espresso. Finish the breve with a dusting of cinnamon and the already prepared whipped cream. If the latte is too strong for your taste or not sweet enough, add more half & half or molasses and heat further. Too weak? Add an extra shot of espresso. Enjoy!

* 1/4 cup half & half = approximately 3/4 cup steamed half & half with foam and drink will fill an 8oz. mug, 1/3 cup half & half yields approximately 1 cup of steamed half & half with foam and will fill a larger mug. I use 1/4 cup half & half or milk resulting in a strong espresso based beverage. Many times I simply heat my dairy in the microwave, rather than steaming, for an even creamier and stronger flavor profile. Using the larger milk option will result in a less strong, more standard, coffee shop taste profile.
* If you do not want to spend the money on vanilla beans for the whipped cream, just substitute a dash (1/8 teaspoon) of real vanilla extract into the whipping cream before whipping.

Tags: , , , ,
Posted in drinks | 11 Comments »