What’s in your coffee cup?
I’ve fulfilled my intern duties with a coffee run. Iced Americanos for everyyyyyyybody!
Now that we have the office on an espresso high, let’s get to talking about WHAT WE’RE PUTTING IN OUR COFFEE CUPS.
I tend to assume everyone is as obsessed with coffee as me. Tea drinkers are in denial….I will convert you! ;) just kidding, steep on my herb-loving friends.
Today I’m looking at the fun, fancy and fattening ingredients that invade our coffee cups and sabotage our indulgence.
If coffee is a daily (or, you know, hourly) occurrence, then the sugary and fatty additions will add up quickly. ***If a caramel frappuccino is a twice-a-year treat, then girrrl you get that whip cream!***
The cup of coffee itself, the heavenly-scented and dark-roasted liquid crack, begins with an innocent 5 calories plus metabolism-boosting properties. Drinking your coffee BLACK is probably the “healthiest” way to go. (I recommend sipping through a straw though to save your teeth!)
Let’s be honest though…..black coffee is no fun.
Not when there are 168534 possible combinations of flavors and styles for the caffeinated concoction.
My personal FAVE of the moment: Iced Americano with non-fat or almond milk plus a packet of stevia. Yummmm. This particular combo is fat-free/sugar-free. Primarily espresso, water and ice. The milk will add 10-50 calories depending on how dark you like it.
Whip Cream: topping off hot chocolate or fraps with whip cream adds 120 calories and 13 grams of fat.
**Alternative: ask for extra foam. Frothy and delicious :)
Caramel or Chocolate drizzle: sugar sugar sugar = empty calories. Just skip it.
Flavored Syrups: A grande latte is fun, but a vanilla latte is better…..flavored syrup adds 25 grams of sugar and 140 calories to a grande latte. That more than DOUBLES the sugar and calorie content of the drink.
**Alternative: ask for 2 pumps (a grande usually contains 4 pumps) of a sugar-free vanilla/hazelnut/cinnamon flavor.
….CUE the anti-artifical sweetener frenzy…..
I know, I KNOW. How can I condone “sugar-free” syrup with all of its chemicals and artifical sweeteners? Isn’t it basic Health 101 that “sugar-free” does not mean healthy?! Well, I abandoned 100% clean-eating last month so I am not a strict stickler for absolute commitment to unprocessed ingredients.
I look at it like this: for me personally, a coffee shop latte is a treat. Twice a month, maybe. So like most indulgences, the key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle is indulging in moderation and making healthy swaps when available. Two pumps of sugar-free syrup will not turn my healthy diet upside down, nor will it cause immediate digestive consequences.
However other alternatives include sweetening your brew with some stevia or a drizzle of honey.
Is soy milk a better choice than skim?
I had to do a little research on this. For lightening my at-home brew, I opt for almond milk because it is creamy and adds very few calories. It’s rarely an option at coffee shops though. Soy is typically available, so how healthy is the non-dairy alternative?
When it comes down to it, skim milk is lower in fat and higher in protein than soy milk. So unless you have an aversion to lactose, soy milk is not superior to skim milk.
Okay your turn. How do you pump up your coffee?
Gingerbread Coffee Bundt Cake with Espresso Icing
Yesterday my family resumed our 5:00am gym workouts – Christmas vacation must be over.
The tree is still up but it looks naked without presents underneath. I’m not ready to pack away all of the holiday decorations just yet! Like this cute centerpiece my mom made, just a vase with candy canes lining the rim and filled with mini shiny ornaments.
Since we had been so busy all December with traveling and medical stuff, Christmas kind of crept up on us. We didn’t even do our annual baking for friends and neighbors! So I knew I wanted to make something special for Christmas dessert. I found a perfect recipe on Pinterest from Sprinklebakes.com. A homemade Gingerbread Coffee Bundt Cake with Espresso Icing. Sometimes we make exceptions from our healthy diet; Christmas dessert was one of them ;)
Cake from scratch is a million times better than from a box; I added lots of extra ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg because I don’t think you can have too much flavor for a spice cake. And the fact that there is coffee in the cake and icing is perfect…my family certifiably is addicted to coffee. Lately the three of us finish off a full pot of coffee within an hour of being awake. We have turned into two-pots-a-day people. Yikes! Honestly I just love the flavor.
The cake turned out perfect! Dark brown with tons of cinnamon and spice flavors. Next comes the “glaze.” It is just espresso or STRONG coffee (that sounds familiar…) and powdered sugar.
Confession: I struggle with glazing a cake. I have made approximately three cakes (all from Joy the Baker) that involve making a glaze from powdered sugar and some form of liquid and they never turn out like the picture. Instead of resting thick and glossy atop the cake, my glaze gets absorbed into the cake or just runs down the side. If anyone knows the trick to making a real glaze, help me out!
I ended up just about doubling the powdered sugar to make it thick enough to stay on the cake. I also recommend making your espresso/coffee as strong as possible so that you can still taste it over the sugar.
Gingerbread Coffee Bundt Cake with Espresso Icing:
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 heaping tsp ginger
2 heaping tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup STRONGLY brewed coffee
1 1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
3 eggs, plus
2 egg yolks
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and Flour a bundt pan (I recommend this instead of spraying with non-stick spray); set aside.
- Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
- In a separate bowl, stir together molasses and coffee.
- In another large bowl, cream the butter with an electric mixture. Add in the brown sugar and beat for another couple of minutes. Next, beat in the 3 eggs and 2 egg yolk one at a time.
- Alternately add the flour mixture and molasses mixture to the egg mixture; begin and end with the flour.
- Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan and use a spatula to smooth over the top.
- Bake for 45 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.
- Let the cake cool in the bundt pan for 20 minutes; then remove from pan and turn it over on a wire rack to cool completely.
3 Tablespoons Espresso (or strong coffee)
1 1/2 – 2 cups powdered sugar
- Whisk together the coffee and sugar until completely smooth. Pour over the cake, let it set for at least an hour before serving.
Despite the not-so-glazey glaze, this cake turned out to be delicious, and got two thumbs up from the family! It’s very much like a more dense spice cake with a sweet topping and should absolutely be enjoyed with a fresh mug of coffee.
Missy enjoyed her Christmas too and even found of couple presents for her under the tree!
Homemade Honey Latte
It’s been a while since I posted a coffee recipe! Once upon a time, Starbucks made a Honey Latte. They were my favorite, and I was hooked. One day, after ordering an Iced Honey Latte, the barista told me they were seasonal, and no longer on the menu. It was honey heartbreak. (But seriously, what season is honey in anyways?!) I have waited for them to return with no luck, until this morning, when I decided to take matters into my own hands.
I know honey is practically tea’s best friend, but it sure works with coffee too. If you like your latte’s sweet, this is a perfect alternative to a pump of white chocolate syrup. It’s sweet and delicious and melts into the steamed milk like dulce de leche.
No espresso maker, no problem. All you need is a coffee maker and a stovetop. This was the first time I tried steaming my milk in a sauce pan and it worked out great!
Honey Latte (Version 1)
- 2 shots espresso or 1/4 cup STRONG coffee (like my title ;) )
- 1 Cup (8 fl. oz.) non-fat milk
- 1 Tablespoon pure honey
Heat the milk in a sauce pan. After about 3 minutes, add in the honey and whisk together. Heat until it is steamy, but not boiling. Whisk rapidly to produce a little “foam”.
Pour your espresso/coffee, into your coffee mug. Pour the honey milk into the coffee.
Wanna twist? Try Honey NUT Latte:
Instead of regular non-fat milk, substitute unsweetened Almond Milk, or add a drop of almond extract to your honey milk mixture in the saucepan. Go nuts!
So there, Starbucks. I don’t need your stinkin’ latte, I can make my own :)