SNOW! I woke up this morning to see a fresh snowfall. It may not be the first snowfall of the season, but the weather has been sporadic this week: Monday witnessed large, fluffy flakes usually only seen in the movies; Tuesday began the melting process; and since, the weather has been a snow-less, cold dampness, with bare trees as scenery. If it must be cold, I require snow. Waking up this morning to a fresh layer of snow was refreshing.
Snow always lifts my spirits.
Yes, there are negative sides of snow. For example, something irritating are those who freak out the first time in the season when they drive on snow. Do not lose your head dear drivers! Yes, be cautious as you drive, black ice does exist; however, going 15 mph in a 45 mph zone when the snow flakes are merely fluffy flakes falling is a little extreme. How can Michigander’s forget how to drive in snow one winter season to the next? Instead of freaking out about snow, how it is wet (slush), cold, and a driving hindrance, why not enjoy the beauty of it covering the world?
Snow is beautiful. Covering the world, the purity of white cleanses the world for a brief moment. No matter how irritating snow may become, my spirits are always lifted. I cannot remain made at snow. Fond memories and associations of childhood come with the falling snow. I recall sledding, snow forts, snow men, snow angels, and snow ball fights. Every time it snows, I yearn to go out in play! (I need to invest in some snow pants!).
During my sophomore year of college, after a late night of studying in the library, I walked back to my apartment amongst the falling flakes. The snow was too lovely to experience alone, so I dragged my two roommates out at one in the morning to play in the snow! We frolicked and made snow angels to our hearts content.
Besides snow and Christmas, a huge besides, my favorite December/seasonal thing is the ingredient peppermint! Peppermint compliments coffee, chocolate, tea, chocolate, sugar, and chocolate. Peppermint is refreshing – it cleanses the palate, settles the stomach, and has a nice aftertaste.
I decided to start off my seasonal peppermint binge with a peppermint latte… next time it will have to be a peppermint mocha, the chocolate/peppermint combination is too phenomenally delicious to ignore!
I am blessed with owning my own espresso machine with a milk steamer. Making lattes and cappuccinos is easy with a machine, though a similar version is possible by making a strong cup of coffee and owning a frothing wand. Because I do not particularly enjoying cleaning the steaming wand on my machine, I heating the milk on my stove top.
- 2 shots of espresso
- 1/2 cup of milk
- 1/8 tsp of peppermint extract
- sprinkle of cinnamon, brown sugar, and candy cane (optional)
Prepare coffee or espresso as per normal. Add peppermint extract and desired sugar/sweetener. I prefer brown sugar, something about the taste of molasses makes me happy.
Heat milk on stove at low-medium heat to prevent scalding. Be patient and stir continuously. At sign of first bubbles, remove milk from heat. Froth milk with frother.
Insert the frother’s whisk into the milk, close to the bottom of the mug.
Switch on the wand for 15-20 seconds, slowly moving the whisk in a circular direction around the other edges of the mug. As the milk transforms into foam, raise the whisk upwards. Always keep the the whisk just below the froth. Only froth to desired amount. A latte is more milk to froth ratio than a cappuccino. The frothing wand aerates the milk similar to a steamer.
Pour milk over prepared espresso. Top with froth. Add a sprinkle of cinnamon. For presentation, stick a candy cane in the beverage.