Well, it’s my first Valentine’s Day as a married woman. And guess what- I won't even be home! I will be traveling on business, so I decided that we should celebrate early. Adam and I don’t really go all out for Valentine’s Day. We never did while we were dating and probably won’t this year either. The restaurants are crowded, reservations are difficult to get, and quite honestly, I'd rather just stay home! I started thinking about what we could do to celebrate, and the obvious came to mind: make him dinner. But that’s so unoriginal - I make him dinner every night. So, why not a brunch?
Breakfast has always been my favorite meal of the day, and Adam always enjoys a good breakfast, too. So I decided to make us a feast for breakfast a few days early. And let me tell you, it’s going to be a big one. What’s on the menu so far: Lemon Ricotta Hotcakes (a favorite of ours from Hell’s Kitchen in Minneapolis), bacon (Adam’s second love, next to me), and a new favorite- Hearts Afire Coffee. The name definitely screams Valentine’s Day, and Adam loves a good cup of coffee.
I decided to try out the coffee before our brunch and, wow, it’s delicious. I don’t usually enjoy coffee but this is such a great blend of creamy, sweet, and spicy flavors (ever tried red pepper with chocolate? Unexpected, but I bet you’ll love it!)
So here’s how it goes. Not many ingredients required here, and you’ll probably have most of them in your kitchen.
Pour the coffee into a small saucepan. Any flavor of coffee will do here. Adam likes his coffee as strong as it can be made, so I used extra coffee in ours. Just use whatever coffee you normally drink!
Now stir in the chocolate syrup, vanilla, cinnamon and red pepper. Red pepper might sound like a strange thing to add to a sweet drink, but the contrast between the spice and the sweetness of the chocolate is amazing. It really adds a nice touch of warmth.
Add the half & half. I used fat free half & half, and I really couldn’t tell any difference from regular.
Cook over medium heat until it is heated through.
Meanwhile, grate some chocolate. Sprinkling this over the coffee really takes it to another level.
Pour the coffee into pretty serving mugs. Add the chocolate shavings and aeresol whipped cream.
I definitely felt like a professional barista making this coffee- it looks beautiful!
Make Hearts Afire Coffee for your special someone on Valentine’s Day, or on any day you want to make them feel appreciated.
Come back and let me know if you make Hearts Afire Coffee for your Valentine, and make sure to rate and review the recipe, too.
Mallory is a Product Specialist in the Test Kitchens at Land O'Lakes and writes for the Recipe Buzz® Blog.