Friday, July 11, 2014

Iced Mocha

We're in the thick of summer now and these days, it's stick-to-the-couch, is-the-a/c-even-on?, permanent-sweat-mustache, don't-forget-deodorant hot. When I wake up, I can't even be bothered to think about breakfast. All I want, I'm sorry, all I need is to find a way to cool down. That's where this iced mocha comes in. It's a make ahead kind of deal which makes the actual drink easy to slap together - it's just ice and milk except the ice is flavored and it's delicious - which is amazing when you're feeling like a lazy bum.

I've said it before, "I'm not a big coffee drinker." I enjoy the flavor but I do not like the teeth staining effects and I don't like caffeine addictions. But, when it's wintertime, I like to warm up with a hot cuppa and when it's summertime, I like to cool down with a cold cuppa. Coffee's just a great temperature regulator, huh?
Ingredients [yields 4 to 6 servings]:
1 cup strong coffee (strength should be adjusted to your preference)
½ oz. 90% cacao chocolate (or preferred chocolate)
sugar to taste
pinch salt
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
+ milk

Start by brewing a lovely and strong pot of coffee. I used my tiny little French press. I poured in 2 heaping tablespoons of ground coffee and 1 cup of hot water. If you're using a French press too, it's important to bring the water to a boil and then remove it from the heat for a few minutes; the water shouldn't be at a rolling boil when you pour it over your grounds. I read that when water is too hot, it doesn't allow the coffee to brew in its idea environment and you don't get a deep or rich enough flavor. Also, when it's too hot, it releases some of the undesirable oils which can cause your coffee to taste bitter. Leave the coffee to steep for 5 minutes before pushing down the press.
In a heat safe cup, add in the chocolate (broken into small pieces), a pinch of salt, sugar, and vanilla extract. I used about 3 teaspoons of sugar, as I don't like my coffee overly sweet, but you can use as little or as much as you like. Remember, this step is just to make the ice mocha so go a little heavier on the sugar than you think since it will end up diluted in milk. Oh! And if you're into flavorings, you can use another extract in addition to the vanilla - like almond or peppermint or coconut, whatever you're into.
Pour the hot coffee over the chocolate and sugar mixture and then whisk until the chocolate melts. The 90% cacao is my preferred chocolate for this particular recipe because it imparts a ton of delicious chocolate flavor without adding any sweetness. Allow the mixture to cool and then pour it into an ice tray. I used a silicone bear tray because the alternative was an apple tray. Why don't we have a regular cube tray in our home? I don't know. It's on my list. But little brown bears are super cute, so I'm not complaining.
Once you've got your frozen mocha cubes (or bears in my case), you can make you and your guests some yummy drinks. Or, if you're selfish and you don't feel like sharing, make one cup and put the rest of your ice in a zip-top baggie or freezer safe food storage container for later.
To prepare your drink, grab some cold milk. If you like skim milk, use skim. If you like almond milk, use almond milk. You could also use soy milk, coconut milk, goat's milk, rice milk, whatever floats your boat and tickles your fancy. Pop as many mocha cubes (or bears) into your mug as you'd like - I went with five - and top with milk. Obviously, the more mocha ice you add, the stronger the flavor and vice versa.
Leave your drink alone for two or three minutes to allow some of the frozen mocha to melt and start to flavor your milk. Look at those cutie bears having a relaxing swim!
Take a sip, or a glug. I like to suck this milky coffee drink up through a straw (you know, to prevent teeth staining). Ahh, super refreshing and delicious! This makes a great drink to take with you on the road and it's fun for hosting a brunch too. I love the way it gets slightly sweeter and stronger by the minute. It's like a slow, gentle, gradual wake up because the dosage of caffeine and flavor increases ever so slightly with every sip. It's quite nice. I think you might like it too.
Here's the recipe page:

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