Nutella – Inspired Mocha Latte #RecipeRedux

Have we killed the Nutella trend yet? I don’t know if it’s dead yet, but I think Biscoff has taken hold in the world of “spread obsession” these days, at least in the blogging world. We can’t get Biscoff around here, though, and even if we could my Italian stepfamily and my chocoholic mom and sister wouldn’t likely stray to that side of the table. After all, we’re the family that currently has 5 “family sized” jars of the stuff, not to mention the five kilo vat my stepbrother hoards in his bedroom:

Being in a household of Italians, we also indulge in our fair share of espresso-based beverages. While my stepbrother and I are the only two that actually enjoy the flavour of the strong coffee straight (since graduating from my childhood of cafe au laits with a shot of Baileys in the cold mornings of camping, I’ve always been a black-coffee person – unless Baileys or Godiva liqueur is involved!), my mom and stepdad are more into the cappuccinos, Americanos, mochas and lattes.

It was this combination of Nutella and latte love that inspired me to try creating a drink that embodied the best of each part – the creamy, slightly nutty chocolate flavour and the unmistakeable aroma and punch of espresso. Rather than use the spread itself (which is not only a hot commodity in this household but not overly good-for-you either (what with the palm oil, sugar and fake vanilla), I went back to one of my favourite “buttery” ingredients to cook with – natural, roasted and unsweetened cashew butter. It lends a decadent “thickness” to the drink and a hint of cookie-like flavour, which also plays very well with the unsweetened almond milk I used. Of course, for a real Nutella taste, I had to add in some sort of hazelnut element, and I was all out of Frangelico… so


The result is something you could only dream about finding at your local cafe – full of heart-healthy unsaturated fats, potassium, vitamins D & E and even a touch of protein, it’s a 90-calorie treat that packs in so much more, and is delicious freshly made and piping hot or chilled into a delicious iced drink.

This month for the #RecipeRedux we are covering all things drinkable – if it’s served in a mug, glass, or stein, we’re showcasing the healthier side of the cup.

Nutella – Inspired Mocha Latte
Makes 1 serving
1/2 cup brewed espresso or strong coffee
2 packets stevia (I used Pure Via
pinch sea salt (if your cashew butter is salted, skip this) 
2 tsp roasted cashew butter (ideally unsalted / unsweetened)
3/4 cup unsweetened chocolate almond milk, heated until steaming (if unavailable, use unsweetened vanilla almond milk + 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder)
1/4 tsp LorAnn’s Chocolate Hazelnut Extract

  1. In coffee mug, whisk together espresso, stevia, salt and cashew butter.
  2. Pour in almond milk and extract, whisking well.
  3. Serve immediately or chill (whisk well before enjoying cold) 

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 91.1
Total Fat: 7.4 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 138.9 mg
Total Carbs: 4.9 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.9 g
Protein: 3.3 g

Advertisements

Oaxacan Hot Cocoa Mix

I. Hate. Winter. It is far too cold, icy, windy and generally nasty out there to be able to appreciate the landscape (for the 5 minutes it’s actually pristine white before the city grime sets in). I know that there are lots of people out there who wait all year for that first cold snap and snowfall, just so they can drag out their skis, skates, snowboards and skidoos, but in this household April can’t come fast enough. Luckily enough for us, we do have a rather lovely view of the scenery from our kitchen, which is the perfect excuse to stay inside with a hot beverage and a cookie or slice of cake while catching occasional glances out the window.

Any sort of warm food or drink was particularly important around here during the Christmas week – when our power went out due to the ice storm, the house got cold pretty quickly! Luckily for us, we were able to drag out our old Coleman stove and a half-tank of fuel, which was enough to get a decent pot of water on the boil. Between running in and out of the house (trying to find road salt for our walkway), though, our chills intensified and we needed something more sustaining (and flavourful) than lukewarm tea. That’s when I broke out my jar of homemade hot chocolate, which is laced with rich flavours of almonds, bittersweet chocolate, a handful of spices and butterscotchy maca powder. Stirred into a saucepan of steaming almond milk, it thickened into a warm-your-soul brew that we all appreciated then, and continue to enjoy after any time outside these days!

This is really a game-changer for the casual cocoa-phile who’s used to tearing open a packet or picking up an overpriced, over-whipped, over-sugary concoction from the coffee shop for a quick fix. While I’m sure regular milk or even water would do just fine as a base, we actually prefer using unsweetened almond milk for a rich, extra-nutty cuppa! Made that way, it’s also vegan and a great source of vitamin E! 

Mexican Hot Cocoa

Shared with Gluten Free Fridays.


Oaxacan Hot Cocoa Mix
Makes 16 (1-tbsp) servings
¼ cup vanilla sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
2 tbsp ground almonds
1 oz grated good quality bittersweet chocolate (at least 70%)
¼ cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 tbsp gelatinized maca powder
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp cloves
pinch cayenne pepper

  1. Whisk together all the ingredients until well combined. Store in an airtight container.
  2. Mix 1 cup almond milk (or milk of choice) with 1 tbsp mix and heat, stirring, until steaming.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 45.2
Total Fat: 1.1 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 1.7 mg
Total Carbs: 10.3 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.9 g
Protein: 0.7 g

Red Velvet Latte Mix

It’s been ages since I’ve had a real latte. I’m not talking about the syrupy sweet, cream-laden confections called lattes in the popular coffee shops, but the simple espresso + milk version you can find in Italy. To me, a coffee drink should taste like coffee first, with nuances of other elements as accents. 

I had been kicking around the idea of a red velvet latte drink ever since the “holiday coffees” started coming out in the cafes around here. I wanted it to be full of espresso flavour, but also have a touch of tang, a hint of sweet cocoa and (of course) the vibrant red hue of the popular dessert – and after testing, tweaking and more tasting I finally found the perfect combination of ingredients for an instant latte mix. It can’t be easier – whisk in some boiling water (or water and hot milk if you prefer) for an instant cup of (sugar-free) “grown up” cake batter. If you must, a dollop of whipped cream transforms a brunch delight into a decadent afternoon or dessert treat. 

Red Velvet Latte Mix

Red Velvet Latte Mix
Makes about 3 cups mix, 16 servings
½ cup instant espresso powder
⅓ cup cup-for-cup stevia blend (like Pyure or PureVia)
1 cup instant non-fat dry milk powder
¼ cup powdered coffee creamer
2 tbsp custard powder (like Bird’s)
2 tbsp buttermilk powder
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 vanilla bean (or 1 tsp vanilla powder)
½ tbsp powdered red food colouring

  1. Whisk together all the ingredients in a bowl and transfer to a jar.
  2. Seal and attach directions:
    • Combine 3/4 cup of boiling water (or 1/4 cup boiling water and 1/2 cup steamed milk) with 3 tablespoons of the mix. Stir to dissolve and serve.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 43.0
Total Fat: 0.5 g
Cholesterol: 1.9 mg
Sodium: 33.8 mg
Total Carbs: 4.8 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.2 g
Protein: 2.7 g

Honeydew – Ginger Simple Syrup

It never fails – whenever there’s a gathering involving food, there always seems to be the quintessential fruit platter. Often, there’s more than one, since several well meaning guests pick up a pre-cut tray en route to the party as a kind of hostess gift – but sadly the delicious looking produce is usually passed over in favour of the “real” dessert plates (especially at Christmas, when the cookies are plentiful and varied!). Of the next day leftovers, the first to go with my family are the berries and kiwi (Sunday morning pancake toppers), then the lunchbox-friendly grapes and stir-fry perfect pineapple. 

But nobody here is a huge fan of the melons. Whether honeydew, cantaloupe, canary or Santa Claus, they just don’t rank up there in our top 10 fruit choices. Then again, my mom and I are loath to throw anything edible out (particularly higher priced items like fresh fruit), so when she had to leave on business for a week right after Thanksgiving (leaving half a gigantic honeydew, amongst other leftovers, in the fridge) I knew I had to do something to preserve it for later use. 

DSCN8778Lucky for me, my stepfamily are skilled cocktail makers, and while they usually use juice or seltzer as a mixer having a simple syrup on hand adds an extra element of variety – as well as opening up the possibilities of homemade sodas and shaved ice. True to their name, simple syrups are easy to do as well – with this one, it was a case of pureeing the fruit, lightly cooking it with water, sugar and ginger, then stirring in a touch of acid and straining it. While I kept some in an old jam jar for home use, the rest I poured into a clean wine bottle and stashed in the freezer for Christmas gifts. It’s a great way to keep the holiday party going the rest of the year! 

Shared with Gluten Free Fridays

Honeydew – Ginger Simple Syrup
Makes about 4 cups, 32 (1 fl. oz) servings
½ large honeydew melon, rind removed
2 cups water
2 cups sugar
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
2 tbsp lime juice

  1. Puree melon with ½ cup of water and transfer to a large pot.
  2. Add remaining water, sugar and ginger and bring to a simmer.
  3. Cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat, stir in the lime juice and strain into bottles.Store in the fridge.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 55.0
Total Fat: 0.0 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 3.6 mg
Total Carbs: 14.4 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.2 g
Protein: 0.1 g

Almond Mocha (Sugar Free!)

OK, you’re going to have to bear with me. I know it’s 20+°C and sunny outside right now. I know. Hot drinks are dropping from menus faster than a lit match from a firebug, and rich, sugary things aren’t exactly bikini body fodder. But the good news is that you can still treat yourself to a rich, smooth mocha – this baby is not only great hot or iced, but tripled with 2 tbsp of almond butter added to it you can make a great popsicle, or churn it for ice cream! Don’t worry about the sugar content affecting your Summer (or afternoon) plans either – I’ve finally come up with a mixture of stevia sweeteners that don’t overpower the end result, hold up to heat and can be frozen without losing their delicate nuances.

The first sweetener I added to my favourite unsweetened almond milk was my fairly standard liquid stevia, which was fine but didn’t really support the cocoa flavour – alone I found it more overpowered the mix. Then I messed around with a few types of stevia powder in packets, which ranged from horrible and bitter to good but not sweet enough. When Pyure Brands offered me the chance to try out their stevia baking blend and packets, I knew the benchmark (for the packets at least) would be this afternoon treat. Combined with two drops of the liquid stevia, the organic packets were the perfect addition – plus I liked that they were made with agave fibre (inulin) for a bit of prebiotic goodness. I’ve made some other treats with the packets as well as the baking blend, and I’m impressed for sure!

Shared with Waste Not Want Not Wednesday on Poor and Gluten Free

Hot Almond Mocha

Almond Mocha (Sugar Free!)
Serves 1

2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
pinch sea salt
1 cup brewed coffee
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
2 tbsp boiling water
2 drops liquid stevia (use your favourite) 
If serving cold:
  1. Stir together the coffee, almond milk and liquid stevia. Chill thoroughly.
If serving hot:
  1. Combine the coffee and almond milk in a microwave safe pitcher and heat about 3-4 minutes, until hot, but drinkable.
For both:
  1. Mix the stevia, cocoa and salt in a large cup (or a jug if serving two).
  2. Stir the boiling water into the dry mixture until completely combined, then slowly whisk in the almond milk mixture and liquid stevia.
  3. Serve and enjoy!

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 39.4
Total Fat: 2.9 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 185.7 mg
Total Carbs: 6.8 g
Dietary Fiber: 6.1 g
Protein: 1.9 g

*Note: Pyure gave me the products to review and use but all opinions are my own and are not paid for

Almond Mocha (Sugar Free!)

OK, you’re going to have to bear with me. I know it’s 20+°C and sunny outside right now. I know. Hot drinks are dropping from menus faster than a lit match from a firebug, and rich, sugary things aren’t exactly bikini body fodder. But the good news is that you can still treat yourself to a rich, smooth mocha – this baby is not only great hot or iced, but tripled with 2 tbsp of almond butter added to it you can make a great popsicle, or churn it for ice cream! Don’t worry about the sugar content affecting your Summer (or afternoon) plans either – I’ve finally come up with a mixture of stevia sweeteners that don’t overpower the end result, hold up to heat and can be frozen without losing their delicate nuances.

The first sweetener I added to my favourite unsweetened almond milk was my fairly standard liquid stevia, which was fine but didn’t really support the cocoa flavour – alone I found it more overpowered the mix. Then I messed around with a few types of stevia powder in packets, which ranged from horrible and bitter to good but not sweet enough. When Pyure Brands offered me the chance to try out their stevia baking blend and packets, I knew the benchmark (for the packets at least) would be this afternoon treat. Combined with two drops of the liquid stevia, the organic packets were the perfect addition – plus I liked that they were made with agave fibre (inulin) for a bit of prebiotic goodness. I’ve made some other treats with the packets as well as the baking blend, and I’m impressed for sure!

Shared with Waste Not Want Not Wednesday on Poor and Gluten Free

Hot Almond Mocha

Almond Mocha (Sugar Free!)
Serves 1

2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
pinch sea salt
1 cup brewed coffee
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
2 tbsp boiling water
2 drops liquid stevia (use your favourite) 
If serving cold:
  1. Stir together the coffee, almond milk and liquid stevia. Chill thoroughly.
If serving hot:
  1. Combine the coffee and almond milk in a microwave safe pitcher and heat about 3-4 minutes, until hot, but drinkable.
For both:
  1. Mix the stevia, cocoa and salt in a large cup (or a jug if serving two).
  2. Stir the boiling water into the dry mixture until completely combined, then slowly whisk in the almond milk mixture and liquid stevia.
  3. Serve and enjoy!

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 39.4
Total Fat: 2.9 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 185.7 mg
Total Carbs: 6.8 g
Dietary Fiber: 6.1 g
Protein: 1.9 g

*Note: Pyure gave me the products to review and use but all opinions are my own and are not paid for

Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster

Ever heard of a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster? Well, if you’ve read (or seen) Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, you know of Zaphod Beeblebrox’ intensely potent cocktail of interstellar potables. The effect of a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster is apparently similar to having your brain smashed out by a slice of lemon (wrapped around a large gold brick). It has also been described in the novel as the alcoholic equivalent to a mugging; expensive and bad for the head.

For this New Years’ Eve, while I won’t be having a huge blow-out fiesta here I know a few people who’ll be hosts, and this is a great way to ensure your guests only have one or two drinks during the night! Of course, this is potent stuff just like it’s literary inspiration – with 151 proof rum, 190 proof grain alcohol and nothing to cut the booze with, you will definitely need to pace yourself, and your liver!

Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster
Makes 4 (2-oz) shots
2 oz Bacardi Limon (or lemon flavoured rum)
3 oz Absolut Citron (or lemon flavoured vodka)
1 oz Bacardi 151
1 oz Goldschlager
1 oz Everclear 95% (or Alcool)

  1. In a tall pitcher, stir together all the ingredients with a long, narrow swizzle stick or spoon handle.
  2. Chill thoroughly.
  3. Pour into rock glasses over an ice cube and serve immediately.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 198.8
Total Fat: 0.0 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 2.0 mg
Total Carbs: 4.1 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.0 g
Protein: 0.0 g

Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster

Ever heard of a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster? Well, if you’ve read (or seen) Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, you know of Zaphod Beeblebrox’ intensely potent cocktail of interstellar potables. The effect of a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster is apparently similar to having your brain smashed out by a slice of lemon (wrapped around a large gold brick). It has also been described in the novel as the alcoholic equivalent to a mugging; expensive and bad for the head.

For this New Years’ Eve, while I won’t be having a huge blow-out fiesta here I know a few people who’ll be hosts, and this is a great way to ensure your guests only have one or two drinks during the night! Of course, this is potent stuff just like it’s literary inspiration – with 151 proof rum, 190 proof grain alcohol and nothing to cut the booze with, you will definitely need to pace yourself, and your liver!

Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster
Makes 4 (2-oz) shots
2 oz Bacardi Limon (or lemon flavoured rum)
3 oz Absolut Citron (or lemon flavoured vodka)
1 oz Bacardi 151
1 oz Goldschlager
1 oz Everclear 95% (or Alcool)

  1. In a tall pitcher, stir together all the ingredients with a long, narrow swizzle stick or spoon handle.
  2. Chill thoroughly.
  3. Pour into rock glasses over an ice cube and serve immediately.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 198.8
Total Fat: 0.0 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 2.0 mg
Total Carbs: 4.1 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.0 g
Protein: 0.0 g

Grape Simple Syrup and Grape Pancake Syrup

If you’ve ever made your own cocktails, mocktails or flavoured sodas, you’ve undoubtedly heard of the useful ingredient simple syrup. In it’s pure essence, the syrup is just equal parts sugar and water, heated together just enough to dissolve the sweetener into suspension. The liquid sweetener mixes much better into other liquids, especially those that are cold or cool like most alcohols and juices.

Personally, I find the “original” simple syrup to be a bit, well, boring. I don’t drink (which could be part of the problem!), but I do like making my own flavoured seltzers and jazzing up plain oatmeal. Both of these need something a little more unique than just sugar water (and before anyone goes there, I love fruit, maple syrup and brown sugar in oatmeal too), and when our Concord grapes were weighing down the vines I figured I’d try to make my own simple syrup with their juice instead of water!

Since I was going for depth of flavour (so much for a “simple” syrup), I decided to use a mixture of sugar and dark amber honey to sweeten. It tasted fantastic on it’s own, and the tangy nature of the grapes was a great balance for the other super sweet ingredients. Still, it only took a tiny amount to bring forth the flavour and sweetness that I was looking for in my applications, but for cocktails I’m sure you can get away with more. I can just imagine spiking a mimosa or daiquiri with a shot of this – or even turning a “Tequila Sunrise” into a “Tequila Sunset”!

When my mom tasted the syrup as it was, she loved the flavour – “not super sweet but sweet enough” is how she phrased it. She then asked me if I’d be able to turn it into a syrup thick enough for pancakes or waffles! I told her I would try, and with a few tweaks I had “the best tasting pancake syrup” she’d had in a long time! I don’t know about you, but I’ll stick to my maple on flapjacks, but over ice cream or yogurt? Divine.

Grape Simple Syrup
Makes about 3 3/4 cups, 30 (1-oz) servings
2 tbsp water
1 1/2 lbs Concord grapes
3/4 cup water
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 tbsp honey

  1. Place 2 tbsp water and the grapes in a saucepan, cover and simmer until the grapes have all popped and begun to disintegrate.
  2. Pour into a strainer lined with three layers of cheesecloth set over a large bowl. Allow to drain overnight.
  3. Place the juice into a saucepan and stir in the sugar and honey.
  4. Simmer until sugar dissolves, then pour into jars or bottles and store in the fridge.

Amount Per (1-oz) Serving
Calories: 45.3
Total Fat: 0.1 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 0.5 mg
Total Carbs: 11.8 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.1 g
Protein: 0.1 g

  • To make a syrup perfect for pancakes, waffles or ice cream, add 1/4 cup sugar to the finished simple syrup and bring to a boil.
  • Cook, stirring enough to keep from boiling over, for 5-10 minutes, until reduced to your preference (syrup will thicken slightly as it cools).

Amount Per (2-tbsp) Serving
Calories: 38.8
Total Fat: 0.1 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 4.3 mg
Total Carbs: 10.1 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.1 g
Protein: 0.1 g

Grape Simple Syrup and Grape Pancake Syrup

If you’ve ever made your own cocktails, mocktails or flavoured sodas, you’ve undoubtedly heard of the useful ingredient simple syrup. In it’s pure essence, the syrup is just equal parts sugar and water, heated together just enough to dissolve the sweetener into suspension. The liquid sweetener mixes much better into other liquids, especially those that are cold or cool like most alcohols and juices.

Personally, I find the “original” simple syrup to be a bit, well, boring. I don’t drink (which could be part of the problem!), but I do like making my own flavoured seltzers and jazzing up plain oatmeal. Both of these need something a little more unique than just sugar water (and before anyone goes there, I love fruit, maple syrup and brown sugar in oatmeal too), and when our Concord grapes were weighing down the vines I figured I’d try to make my own simple syrup with their juice instead of water!

Since I was going for depth of flavour (so much for a “simple” syrup), I decided to use a mixture of sugar and dark amber honey to sweeten. It tasted fantastic on it’s own, and the tangy nature of the grapes was a great balance for the other super sweet ingredients. Still, it only took a tiny amount to bring forth the flavour and sweetness that I was looking for in my applications, but for cocktails I’m sure you can get away with more. I can just imagine spiking a mimosa or daiquiri with a shot of this – or even turning a “Tequila Sunrise” into a “Tequila Sunset”!

When my mom tasted the syrup as it was, she loved the flavour – “not super sweet but sweet enough” is how she phrased it. She then asked me if I’d be able to turn it into a syrup thick enough for pancakes or waffles! I told her I would try, and with a few tweaks I had “the best tasting pancake syrup” she’d had in a long time! I don’t know about you, but I’ll stick to my maple on flapjacks, but over ice cream or yogurt? Divine.

Grape Simple Syrup
Makes about 3 3/4 cups, 30 (1-oz) servings
2 tbsp water
1 1/2 lbs Concord grapes
3/4 cup water
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 tbsp honey

  1. Place 2 tbsp water and the grapes in a saucepan, cover and simmer until the grapes have all popped and begun to disintegrate.
  2. Pour into a strainer lined with three layers of cheesecloth set over a large bowl. Allow to drain overnight.
  3. Place the juice into a saucepan and stir in the sugar and honey.
  4. Simmer until sugar dissolves, then pour into jars or bottles and store in the fridge.

Amount Per (1-oz) Serving
Calories: 45.3
Total Fat: 0.1 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 0.5 mg
Total Carbs: 11.8 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.1 g
Protein: 0.1 g

  • To make a syrup perfect for pancakes, waffles or ice cream, add 1/4 cup sugar to the finished simple syrup and bring to a boil.
  • Cook, stirring enough to keep from boiling over, for 5-10 minutes, until reduced to your preference (syrup will thicken slightly as it cools).

Amount Per (2-tbsp) Serving
Calories: 38.8
Total Fat: 0.1 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 4.3 mg
Total Carbs: 10.1 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.1 g
Protein: 0.1 g