My favorite thing about winter is the early hours of the morning after a snowfall. The white snow reflecting the sunshine makes it look brighter and warmer than a summer’s day. Those few hours are when you can finally understand why people say the snow “glistens”.
Just one week after I stood outside in a t-shirt decorating for Christmas, we were greeted with snowfall. And not just a few flurries like NC usually gets in mid December- a full day of snow that managed to stick to the trees through the night.
Of course the first snow of the season calls for something special. Most would turn to hot chocolate, but I’m not a big enough chocolate fan for that to satisfy me. So…
A peppermint latte it was!
Homemade Peppermint Latte
6-8oz brewed coffee
1/2-1 T peppermint syrup (recipe below)
1 oz milk or milk substitute
1 peppermint candy, crushed
Peppermint Simple Syrup
1/4 c sugar (any kind of sugar will work- I used half sugar + half Splenda this time around)
1/4 c water
1/8 t peppermint extract
[Recipe easily doubles & quadruples to make extra to keep on hand.]
Simple syrup is easily made on the stovetop, but as you may know, I like things as easy as possible. Especially when it comes to washing dishes… so I skip the pot on the stove and head straight for the microwave.
Choose a microwave-safe dish that has more than enough room for the ingredients- you need extra room for the boiling bubbles. Stir together the sugar and water. Bring to a boil in the microwave; continue to boil until contents reduce by about half. [This takes me about 3 minutes.]
Remove from microwave [or stove top] and add peppermint extract. Let cool slightly ~if you’ve made extra, transfer to container for storage before the syrup gets super thick and sticky. It’ll make your life easier.
Now for the latte part:
Steam the milk first for a true latte. For me, that means back to the microwave! Warm the milk gently, then use an immersion blender to froth the milk. If you’re using regular milk, you can use the jar trick- but reverse the order- froth, then heat. [The jar trick doesn’t work as well for almond or coconut milk, but you can use it in a pinch.]
Pour the milk into the mug, followed by the peppermint simple syrup. Add in coffee.
My pre-dawn attempts at whipped cream were greeted with an unhappy and half-awake shout of “BE QUIET!”…so no whipped cream for me….but if you have less-cranky people around, go for it.
Top with crushed peppermints. Voila! Homemade peppermint latte.
And I didn’t even have to trek through the snow to get to Starbucks. [Ok, I’ve never had to trek through the snow anywhere in NC…]
Peppermint Mocha Latte
If you’re not abnormal like me and actually like chocolate, a delicious twist on the regular peppermint latte is a peppermint mocha- just stir in a tablespoon of cocoa powder before pouring coffee.
It’s as easy as pie! er… latte!
What’s your favorite winter-weather drink?