Sunday, October 5, 2014

Potions // Maple Mocha

Today is a sick day. 

Thanks to the goodness of my coworkers and the insane amount of vitamins that Aric is making me take I am on my way out of it, but I still don't feel great. Although he is making me some soup as we speak (Which will be blogged about soon!), I wanted an autumn-y beverage to hold me over. 

Recently we bought a stove top espresso maker which we have both been loving. We got ours at our favorite store, T.J. Maxx. I don't know if it's an all over the country thing, but in our area there are tons of them in there. I got a 3 shot brewer for $7, so not too shabby! Also, it makes pretty darn good espresso. If you can't find one there though, there are tons on in around the same price range. 

Being in the coffee business, you can imagine we've had fun concocting drinks at home. Today's drink was a maple mocha! I made ours iced because I wanted something cold, but you could easily do it hot by heating milk on the stove, in the microwave, or steaming it if you have a steamer. (I would probably normally drink it hot actually...) Not only is this drink delicious and decadent, but I had everything to make it already in my pantry.  

-The run down-

-Make time: 3-5 minutes
-Difficulty level: Beginner
-Makes: 1 16oz cup

-2 1/2 tbsp Unsweet dark cocoa powder
-2 tbsp pure maple syrup (Or more if you want it sweeter. I'm hot a huge fan of covering taste with sweet though, so this was perfect for me!) 
-Milk of  your choosing (I think I used about 6 oz of milk for this)
-Coffee (I used Italian Roast from Starbucks because it was all I had handy, but I suggest anything that is a darker roast like this.)

*A quick disclaimer, you could absolutely just use brewed coffee of any method for this, but I'm going to explain brewing with a stove top espresso maker for this particular recipe.


-Get your coffee going! I have a glass top electric range, so I like to turn my burner on  high while I am working on getting my espresso maker prepped. If you are using a glass top range also you're going to want to use your smallest hot plate. Grind your coffee on a medium grind just like you would for your regular flat bottom coffee maker, I grind for 4 cups per glass of this I'm going to make since you want it more concentrated. 

-Set your espresso maker on the stove and wait for it to boil. If you have had your burner heating up like we did it should only take about 2 minutes to be finished. 

-Prep your glass! You're going to want 2 cups for this. Take a smaller cup (not the one you're going to be drinking out of) and add the mocha and maple, meanwhile take the 16oz cup and add ice to the top and pour your milk about half way. 

-Once your espresso maker (or any other form of coffee maker) is done, pour it into the smaller glass. Grab a fork or a small whisk and mix until you don't see chunks of cocoa. Then take the chocolatey mapley goodness and pour it over the ice into the other cup!

Et voila! You are done! You can top it with whipped cream and/or chocolate shavings if you want to be extra fancy to impress a special someone! Bonus points if you bring this along with breakfast in bed! 

Enjoy your potions! 

Happy sipping! 
Ashe + Aric

Friday, October 3, 2014

Sweet Treats // Cinnamon Apple Oatmeal Cookies

Well it's official. Autumn is upon us!

Autumn is my all time favorite season. The weather is finally chilly, I can wear my boots without people looking at me like I'm crazy, reds and oranges are in abundance, and let's not even get started on all the delicious foods. Or should we??

As some of you may know Aric and I both work for coffee shops, and while we pretty much love all things pumpkiny, sometimes the smell of it all day at work can be overwhelming. On this particular day I felt like making a recipe that was autumny but not pumpkin related.

This particular recipe is close to my heart. I remember being 13 and realizing that I not only had a talent for baking, but I was pretty darn good at making up recipes. This (although tweaked over time) was the very first of my original cookie recipes, and I have to admit, it's still one of my favorites!

-The run down-

-Prep: 10 minutes (or if you have a lovely assistant who happens to rock at chopping, 5 minutes.)
-Bake Time: User discretion here. I cooked ours for 10 minutes, but check them after then and make sure they are golden brown. They will be a little softer because of the juices from the apples so don't wait for them to be crispy. That and outside temperature/humidity will play into this a bit. (Also if you are sea-level like us or not.)
-Baked At: 375° F
-Difficulty Level: Beginner
-Best Eaten: Day of - 3 days after.(If they last that long!)


-1 cup/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened at room temperature.
-2 eggs (Also at room temperature)
-2 cups brown sugar (Any variation is good here, but in my opinon the darker the better!)
-2 tsp pure vanilla extract
-2 cups flour (I used non-self rising bread flour because I was out of all purpose and it was great!)
-1 tsp salt
-2 tbsp cinnamon
-1 tbsp cloves (This is the "secret ingredient" to this recipe.)
-3/4 tsp baking soda
-3 cups oats
-2 small apples, whatever your favorite variation is will do! We used jazz because... well that was all we had.
*Optional, raisins and/or walnuts would be great additions to this as well!

Before we get started with the directions. let me pass some wisdom on to you that was passed on to me by my mom. When baking always, always, always leave your butter and eggs out at room temperature for 5-10 minutes before you use them. You basically want everything the same temperature before you begin. Also, I know I said this in the last recipe, but sift that flour my friends! It makes so much difference!

Directions time!

So I know the ingredients list was pretty long, bur your probably own all of it already. And also these cookies are much easier than the list may make it seem.

-Take your eggs and butter out and let them sit! Meanwhile, wash and cube your apples. The size is up to you, but we left ours in cubes a little smaller than sugar cubes.

-Mix butter and brown sugar until fairly smooth. The timing on this will be different depending on it you do it by hand like I did or with an electric mixer. It took me about 2 minutes. Add eggs, vanilla and spices. Mix until combined.

*Optional steps:
*If you want raisins, put them in a bowl, cover with water and heat in the microwave. Before you add it, strain them out of the water. Doing this will make them extra juicy! Yum!

*Also, if you don't like the full texture of oats, you can food process them before adding to the mixture.

-Add your dry ingredients. (I suggest adding everything but the oats, mixing, and then adding the oats.) It might look for a minute like there is no way there is enough liquid to combat all that dryness, but I promise it will work.

-Add the apples! (And those raisins or nuts or anything else you think might be good)

-Scoop or roll until 1" balls and place on a baking sheet about 1" apart.

-Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown but still soft.

Et voila!

This makes a LOT of cookies. I'm serious. I would give you a valid count of them but about half of them were gone before I had a chance to make it back over to where they were cooling. I would venture to say it makes 2 dozen depending on how big you make your cookies.

And that's it! These are pretty delicious, I hope you enjoy them!

If you are interested in making your own recipes, this cookie recipe is a great base to start with. I'll let you in on a little secret, this cookie is great with strawberries during the summer too (obviously with changing the spices.) so you just might see that recipe next year!

Happy munching!
Ashe + Aric