When the weather is warm, I don’t crave hot beverages of any kind. I never was a year-round morning coffee drinker and I can still see my former co-workers cringe as they poured their coffee in the office kitchen, and I popped open a can of cola and poured it into a glass of ice. That was back when I consumed caffeine. But now that the weather is changing and there is a chill in the air, especially in the mornings, I get those K-cups going. Of course, I must add some sugar and flavored coffee creamer, preferably pumpkin spice.
If you like to wrap your cold hands around a nice hot beverage and take a moment to relax (or even if you are hard at work), here are some recipes you may want to try out. Keep warm, keep safe, especially fire safe.
Slow cooker cider
2 cinnamon sticks, about 3 inches each
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 teaspoon whole allspice
2 quarts apple cider
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 orange, sliced
1. Place the cinnamon sticks, cloves and allspice on a double thickness of cheesecloth; bring up corners of cloth and tie with a string to form a bag.
2. In a 3-quart slow cooker, place the apple cider and brown sugar, then stir until sugar is dissolved. Add spice bag. Place orange slices on top. Cover and cook on low for 2 to 3 hours or until heated through. Discard spice bag. Makes 2 quarts.
Fluffed-up hot cocoa
8 teaspoons sugar
4 teaspoons baking cocoa
4 cups milk
1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
1 teaspoon vanilla
1. In a small saucepan, mix the sugar, cocoa, milk and marshmallows. Cook and stir over medium heat until marshmallows are melted, about 8 minutes.
2. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Ladle into mugs. Makes 4 servings.
Irish cream coffee
8 teaspoons sugar
4 ounces Irish cream liqueur (or refrigerated Irish cream nondairy creamer)
4 cups hot brewed coffee
1. Divide sugar and liqueur evenly among four mugs, then stir in the hot coffee.
2. Garnish each mug with some whipped cream on the top. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.
Mulled cran-apple-pomegranate hot drink
This also has a touch of orange and honey.
1 bottle (64 ounces) cranberry-apple juice
2 cups unsweetened apple juice
1 cup pomegranate juice
2/3 cup honey
1/2 cup orange juice
3 cinnamon sticks, about 3 inches each
10 whole cloves
2 tablespoons grated orange peel
1. In a 5-quart slow cooker, combine the first five ingredients. Place cinnamon sticks, cloves and orange peel on a double thickness of cheesecloth. Gather up corners of cloth and tie securely with string. Add to slow cooker.
2. Cook, covered, on low 1 to 2 hours or until heated through. Discard spice bag. Makes 16 servings, about 3/4 cup each.
Kahlua hot cocoa
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (I prefer to leave out the cinnamon)
2 cups milk
2 to 4 tablespoons Kahlua or other coffee liqueur
Optional toppings: miniature marshmallows, salted caramel sauce and chocolate syrup
1. In a small saucepan, whisk sugar, cocoa, cinnamon and nutmeg. Gradually whisk in milk; cook and stir until heated through.
2. Remove from heat; stir in Kahlua. Ladle into mugs; serve with toppings as desired. Makes 2 servings.
Pumpkin spice latte
3 cups milk
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups hot brewed espresso or strong-brewed dark roast coffee
Whipped cream and additional nutmeg, optional
1. In a large saucepan, place milk, pumpkin, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Cook and stir over medium heat until heated through. Stir in hot espresso.
2. Pour into warm mugs. If desired, top with whipped cream and additional nutmeg. Makes 6 servings.