Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A Chill New Twist on Blue Smoke

So maybe we won't see a real summer in the North Country this year, but that won't stop me from sucking down the cold coffee drinks! Now, no one loves a Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino more than I, but my pocketbook cannot withstand a four-dollar hit every time! So I decided to fashion a homemade version, which not only would be a fraction of the cost, but with wonderful ingredients like my favorite Blue Smoke Coffee, I wagered that I could make something that tasted even better!

I found a few copycat recipes online, and I tried a few of them, but they all used chocolate syrup, which ultimately resulted in too wimpy of a chocolate flavor. I thought I might have some Ghirardelli cocoa in the cupboard to try, but in rooting around, I unearthed some Trader Joe's European-Style Sipping Chocolate. THAT WAS IT! It gave my chilly beverage a darker color and a richer, more complex flavor, though I did end up having to add a little extra sugar. My friends, I kid you not, you won't BELIEVE how delicious this drink is! And are you ready for the costs savings? According to an online recipe cost calculator that I used, I can make two "grande" mocha frappuccinos (or because I'm using my beloved Blue Smoke Coffee, I'm calling them Frozen Smok-accinos!) for about $1.80 for BOTH, which is less than a QUARTER of the Starbucks price! WHOO-HOO! You can thank me now....I'll wait.

(Photo Credit: Kevin Price --->)

Frozen Smok-accinos

1 cup double-strength Blue Smoke Appalachia blend*, brewed then chilled
3/4 cup half-n-half
3 tablespoons high-quality sipping chocolate (like Trader Joe's**)
3 tablespoons sugar (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
12 standard-sized ice cubes

Add everything except the ice to a blender and mix until the sugar and cocoa powder are fully dissolved. Add the ice cubes and blend until the ice is completely pulverized and the mixture is smooth. You may garnish with whipped cream, if you insist, but you needn't gild the proverbial lily. Makes two decadent frozen treats!

*You can substitute your favorite medium-roast coffee, but I love Blue Smoke's Appalachia for this, as it has complimentary notes of chocolate and spice! You could also try a darker roast (like my very favorite, Blue Smoke's Canopy) at one-and-a-half strength, or an espresso roast (like Blue Smoke's Crossroads) at regular strength.

**If you don't have access to a Trader Joe's, subsitute any high-quality, European-style sipping chocolate. I might also try Ghirardelli's Double Chocolate Hot Cocoa Mix or maybe even their Sweet Ground Chocolate and Cocoa, though I'm sure you'd have to add more sugar in that case. (For my local peeps, the Ghirardelli products can be found at Hannaford.)


Blue Smoke Coffee said...

For folks requiring a low-glycemic version, I love agave nectar, a natural low-glycemic sweetener, safe for even diabetics. Just replace the sugar in this recipe with about 1 1/2 tablespoons of Agave Nectar (it is sweeter than sugar, so you can use less) and use a sugar-free gourmet sipping chocolate and you're all set.

Joy Bugaloo said...

Great idea(s), Kevin! Thanks!

J S Grant said...

Hey Gina that sounds good, but what's the difference between sipping chocolate and cocoa? I'm sure that if you have "Sipping Chocolate" that that is somehow different than the powdered cocoa that us old folks use to make hot cocoa or sift into oh, I don't know, our favorite madelline recipe in vain attempts to recreate the pistachio chocolate madellines from Balthazar in NYC.

Joy Bugaloo said...

Hi, Scott. Ok, it's not baking cocoa because it's sweetened. But it's more like a very high-quality hot cocoa mix with a much larger amount of actual chocolate solids in it but still not as sweet. Observe the difference:

Land O Lakes Cocoa Classics Hot Cocoa Mix

Ingredients: Sugar, nonfat dry milk, whey, coconut oil, cocoa (processed with alkali), corn syrup solids, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, salt, dipotassium phosphate, cellulose gum, sodium caseinate (a milk derivative), mono and diglycerides, natural and artificial flavor, soy lecithin, silicon dioxide, tetrasodium pyrophosphate, polysorbate 60.

Trader Joe's Sipping Chocolate

Ingredients: Cocoa powder, cane sugar, chocolate liquor, cocoa butter.

Besides higher-quality, non-artificial ingredients, it's a matter of intensity. If you'll allow me an analogy: as hot cocoa mix is to coffee, sipping chocolate is to espresso!

Joy Bugaloo said...

Here's a great tip: try looking for high-quality sipping chocolate/cocoa mixes at T.J. Maxx. I found a caramel-flavored one there from a French company called Monbana that they sell on their website for about ten (U.S.) dollars a tin. It was four bucks at T.J. Maxx, and it makes a DELICIOUS homemade caramel frappuccino!