Mochaccino for a cloudy day

I love moody weather and am so thrilled that Fall is here (kinda). In California we are devoid of real seasons, so cooling weather, overcast skies and occasional drizzles are good enough for me. Especially here in California, I rely on the Starbucks advertising (pictures of pumpkin lattes and caramel milks), to put me in the mood. I know it’s fall when the pumpkins and weird inedible squash pop up in the stores. It’s the cue to begin making warm drinks, whipped cream, baked goods, squash, stew and gooey warm things.

Granted, I’ve gained about 5 pounds annually during fall and winter, so I’m carefully logging all the gooeyness, but in no way am I sacrificing my enjoyment.

This morning I felt like making a Mocha Latte, on account of the sleep-in weather. When Dhiren took his first sip and moaned “This is SO good” from the other room, I thought I’d share the recipe before heading out to work.

Recipe (approximated amounts- sorry!)

-milk (appx. 2 1/2 cups?)
-hot chocolate mixture. I used Ghiradelli’s since that’s what I had on hand, apprx. 4 tbsp
-espresso beans
-heavy whipping cream, apprx. 1 cup
-sugar, apprx. 1/2 cup total

1. You need a Bialetti espresso maker. You won’t regret buying one, and while it’s not authentic espresso, it’s still good enough. “Can I just use American drip coffee– I make it strong???” The answer is no. It’ll taste like junk. The Bialetti was a gift for my birthday and we’ve used it about seven times this month, saving us 7 trips to Starbucks. Best drink appliance ever.

2. Grind your espresso beans, and fill up the Bialetti.  Brew your espresso.

3. At the same time, fill a heavy-bottomed pot with milk and the chocolate powder and heat until scalding. It shouldn’t boil. If you stir it consistently as well, it won’t burn.

4. Make homemade whipping cream. I use a hand-held beater, which is small-apartment friendly, as opposed to a huge mixer. Pour in about 1/4 c. of sugar (or to your liking) when it is almost finished.

5. When everything is ready, fill-up the mug halfway with the chocolate milk. Then, pour in the espresso to fill-up the rest of the mug. I needed to add a couple teaspoons of sugar, because it wasn’t sweet enough for my liking. Top with whipped cream and sprinkle some cocoa power, et voilà! Sit on your coach, listen to something moody and stare out your window at the clouds.

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One last dessert (for now…)

I’ve been whipping up way too many desserts lately, and it’s gonna stop. Yesterday I taught the boyfriend how to make brownies. We made a 9×9 round pan of them, and they were shamefully gone by the following morning. They were probably the best brownies I’ve had in years, but no– this honeymoon from health has to come to a stop for a while. I’ve noticed an unwelcome change in circumference and so I think I best lay off the dessert recipes in exchange for the healthy ones. BUT, before we delve into weeks of healthy eating, let’s have one more indulgence: Affogato, otherwise known as the adult version of a root beer float.

Make about 1/4 cup of DARK & BOLD coffee or espresso. I used a cloth tea strainer filled with finely grounded espresso bean and piping hot water, and it worked like a gem. Then pour that over a high-end vanilla ice cream or gelato and top with whipped cream if you have it lying around (or make it yourself if you’re feeling especially snazzy!)

It tastes better if it’s in a Morris cup too… none of this pretentious martini glass BS that you get in Italian restaurants.

Enjoy! Next up: healthy dinner, a special guest entry AND for an off-topic post, how to give yourself a rockin French manicure at home.