I don’t know about you, but when a seasonal item appears at my favorite restaurants or coffee shops, I can’t help but feel like I need to inhale as much of that item as possible until it disappears until the following year. This happens most often around Christmas, when I’ve convinced myself calories don’t count and I can eat as many cookies as I want without any consequences.
As you may remember, I have a weakness for Starbucks’ Cranberry Bliss Bars and that I found a way around the seasonal limitation on those. My other holiday addiction is the Starbucks’ Peppermint Mocha, and while I might convince myself that the calories don’t count, the money spent on them surely does. My bank account can’t survive a holiday season at Starbucks, so it was yet another opportunity to come up with a homemade version to save some moolah.
This is when Torani flavored sauces come in to save the day again! I had purchased all their seasonal flavors recently and I was eager to use the Peppermint Bark flavored sauce. This turned out to be the perfect addition to give the drink it’s creamy peppermint flavor, without being overpowering. You know how sometimes the flavor and/or scent of peppermint can be a bit much? That’s not a problem with this Torani sauce in the least.
My next decision was what kind of coffee to use, and that’s not as easy as it sounds. I have an obscene amount of coffee in my pantry. Obscene. I have every brand you can think of, in every flavor you can image. To be fair, about half of it is Caribou Coffee, and with good reason.
Growing up in Illinois, Caribou Coffee was my hangout. I had a good friend that worked at one of them close to my high school, it was warm and cozy, the staff is super friendly, and the food and drinks were always fantastic. If you’ve never been in a Caribou, I pity you. It’s like being in a ski lodge surrounded by all your best friends. I loved it, and I miss it so much out here in New England – the closest store is many states away).
Back in April of last year, Caribou Coffee announced they’d be closing a good portion of their stores, and that meant all of the stores I would normally visit when I went back to Chicago to visit friends and family. I was heartbroken! Thankfully my father was on the ball as soon as the announcement went public, and he went to all the local stores and bought as much of their bagged coffee as he could (as well as mugs, thermoses, and other assorted memorabilia). He threw it all in a huge box and mailed it out to me. It was basically Christmas in… April.
I’ve been milking the coffee packages I have left because I know once I run out, I’ll have to place an online order. Obviously that’s not the end of the world, but I like my money and as much as I love Caribou, I need to keep those dollar bills in my wallet at all costs.
When I decided to try making the Peppermint Mocha, I figure this is as good a reason as any to dip into my bag of Caribou Blend. I would normally go with a darker roast, but… it’s called Caribou. And you know – caribou are reindeer, and Rudolph is a red-nosed reindeer, and he loves winter, and the holidays are in the winter, and peppermint is a holiday staple, so… yeah. There’s my train of thought and logic. You’re welcome, for the insight into my brain.
As for the “mocha” aspect of the recipe, I could use cocoa powder and sugar for the “mocha” additives, but since I have a couple boxes of Swiss Miss hot cocoa mixes lying around I figured this would be a great way to use them. And by golly, I was right! It worked out perfectly.
The most time-consuming part of this recipe is frothing the milk, so as long as you have the patience for that you can whip up one of these bad boys in no time. If you usually stop for coffee in the morning, you don’t even need to wake up any earlier than you usually do. In fact, you might be able to sleep in a little! Every minute counts when you’re hitting that snooze button, amiright?
- 1 cup milk (I use 2%)
- 1 cup strong brewed coffee
- 1 packet hot cocoa
- 2 tablespoons Torani Peppermint Bark Sauce
- Whipped cream (optional)
- Crushed peppermint (optional)
- Chocolate curls/shavings (optional)
- Combine milk and peppermint bark sauce in a milk frother and heat according the frother's instructions.
- In a large mug, add coffee and hot cocoa powder and stir until cocoa powder is dissolved. Add milk mixture into glass. I like to use a spoon to hold back the foam while I pour, and then top with the foamed milk. Add a little whipped cream and sprinkle crushed peppermint or chocolate shavings on top. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post. I’m just a fan!