Texas Living

Sweet and Spicy Sips

By Sarah Reiss 1.13.15

Cold snaps, freezing rain, Arctic blasts … it’s enough to drive anyone toward a warm cup of coffee or cocoa. And why not, when warming the body from within is so soothing? Here are a couple of thermos fillers guaranteed to warm the cockles of the heart and alleviate the stresses of icy roads ahead.

Homemade Latte
Improve upon the ubiquitous pumpkin spice latte but make it yourself with real ingredients instead of bottled syrup. In a saucepan over low heat, whisk together 2 cups milk with ¼ cup white sugar, ¼ cup pumpkin puree, 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice, and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. Simmer for five minutes over low heat. Whisk in 2 more cups of milk, then pour through a strainer to remove pulp. Simmer again, whisking, for two more minutes. Add 1 cup brewed espresso and whisk until foamy. Top with whipped cream and pumpkin pie spice, or fill up your thermos and see where the road takes you.

Hot Cocoa with A Kick
Wake up your taste buds with a Mexican hot chocolate, the spicier, less sugary, and infinitely more satisfying cousin to instant cocoa packets. Simply simmer 3 cups of milk and ½ teaspoon vanilla in a medium saucepan. Turn off the heat and whisk in 2 tablespoons maple syrup, 2 tablespoons cacao powder, and ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon. Let rest for two minutes. Pour and top with whipped cream and a generous sprinkle of cayenne pepper.

Riffing on the classics has never tasted so good. And with a little improvising of your own, you could be crafting tasty tummy-warmers long after the cold season has passed.