Sunday, December 2, 2012
December has barely started, and I'm already stressed. I have too much that I want to do, and no idea how I'm going to find time to do it all. Thank goodness I have vacation time later in the month, though that adds to the stress a bit, since I have so much to do at work before then. But somehow or other, it will all get done--probably with the aid of not enough sleep and lots of caffeine.
Since I don't drink coffee, the caffeine comes from Coke or tea. I bring a big mug of tea from home in the morning, but sometimes I want more during the day. A walk to Starbucks gives me the chance to get out of the branch for a bit and decompress. Unfortunately, our weather right now isn't always conducive to hot drinks, so I'm still drinking a lot of ice tea. However, I've also discovered that you can get them to make a Gingerbread Latte with tea rather than espresso, and it's quite tasty. (Ask for an Awake Tea Latte with gingerbread syrup.)
And sometimes I forego the caffeine in favor of chocolate. During the fall, the seasonal hot chocolate drink is Salted Caramel. I'm not sure if it's actually still available in the shops, but I've discovered that I can buy boxes of Starbucks hot chocolate in various flavors at Target. For the salted caramel one, the caramel flavor seems to come from little chips of some sort. That gave me the idea to add butterscotch chips and some extra salt to my homemade hot chocolate to see if I could duplicate the flavor. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out, so I can make it whenever I want.
Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate
45 grams (about 1/4 cup) chocolate chips
15 grams (about 1 tablespoon) butterscotch chips (I used Guittard)
60 grams (1/4 cup) boiling water
225 grams (1 cup) milk
1/8 - 1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 - 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
whipped cream or marshmallows (optional)
Place the chocolate chips and butterscotch chips in a small saucepan and pour the boiling water over them. Let sit for about 5 minutes, until the chips melt. Whisk the mixture until smooth. Place the saucepan over medium low heat and bring to a simmer, whisking occasionally. Whisk in the milk, and bring the mixture to a simmer again. Whisk in kosher salt and sugar to taste. (The amount of sugar needed will depend on the sweetness of the chocolate chips used.) Pour into mugs and top with whipped cream or marshmallows if desired. Makes 2 servings.