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DIY Cappuccino Stencils!

February 6th  •  Posted in Craft

Latte art has always been fascinating to me, but don’t ask me when I started actually trying to achieve it. It’s really not meant to be – everything I needed started falling apart, beginning with the milk-frother and then the whole coffee machine. Nice! Not to mention I really should invest in more adequate utensils to get some tangible results… but I’m not really sure I’ll actually be up to it!

It was only when I stumbled across this beautiful movie that I had the idea of using cappuccino stencils to facilitate the whole thing. I had a browse online and realised I didn’t want to pay that much for something I would actually do myself almost costless, and also, I really loved the idea to come up with different designs, figures and texts and reflect my mood in my morning coffee. So I designed and created my first stencils and since then I made others and others (and if you have had a look at my Instagram profile, you’d had realised how excited about the whole thing I am!) and sharpened my technique until now I’m able to share how to make DIY cappuccino stencils from scratch with you!

DIY Cappuccino Stencils.
DIY Cappuccino Stencils.
DIY Cappuccino Stencils.

You’ll need:
Printable cappuccino stencils templates (download them here)
Clear stencil sheet
Pencil
Cutting mat
Small and big scissors
Precise cutter
Clear tape

Method:
1 :: First off, print the stencils on A4 paper. Use the top of a mug to draw the shape of your stencil and make sure it would be the exact size of your mugs. Create the stencil handle using a small round object, then cut the stencil using your scissors.

2 :: Trace the design onto the stencil sheet using a pencil and making sure it’s in the middle, then cut the stencil with a precise cutter and small scissors onto a cutting mat.

3 :: Use the tape to fix any mistakes!

4 :: Wash your stencils before using them, then make your cappuccino, place the DIY stencil on top of the mug and sift the cocoa over it! Use the handle to easily remove the stencil and enjoy your beautiful coffee!

On a milk-frothing note, I’m not one to give tips as I do things that are not exactly professional (no, I don’t always pour too much milk and no froth at all and then end up trying to reduce the amount of milk in my mug in the most embarrassing ways, which I won’t tell here to avoid to embarass me even more) but I’d say as much as something like the IKEA Milk-Frother is so easy and quick to use, you won’t go any far by using it before creating a cocoa design on top of your latte: it creates too many bubbles and once the cocoa powder hits them, they will pop and ruin the design! Steam is the way to go, and trying and avoiding bubbles as much as you can. Try swirling the pot or tapping it onto a surface before pouring the milk in your mug to eliminate the air. The trick is to not overdo with the cocoa powder, the less the better!

I love the idea of creating DIY stencils for my food so much that I might start designing something for my cakes too! It’s so fun to create a different creative cappuccino every morning, it totally brightens up my day!

DIY Cappuccino Stencils.
DIY Cappuccino Stencils.
DIY Cappuccino Stencils.
DIY Cappuccino Stencils

DIY Cappuccino Stencils.
Let me know if you try this project and tweet me a picture of your cappuccino if you do!

Homemade Gingerbread Latte.

December 19th  •  Posted in Recipe

Now, we sadly don’t have Starbucks here in Italy so we can actually save most of our money that would otherwise be gone in years of coffee, but at the same time I’ve tasted Starbucks lattes only in a few rare occasions during the past years, and there’s been no chance to try any of their seasonal drinks. When I realized of the existence of their Gingerbread Latte, I felt a bit more excluded from the club of delicious drinks’ enjoyers, which is sad but instead of complaining I decided I’ll have my Gingerbread Latte anyway and made an homemade version of it. Now, obviously I’ve never tried the original which is good because I quite like my result and I’m not tempted to try the real one (I actually am tempted but it’s not possible, same, right?) but at the same time I can’t quite say it tastes exactly the same as the original for obvious reasons, however it does taste pretty delicious, so maybe you cool people that have access to Starbucks lattes can confirm it tastes at least similar?! Both cases it’s worth a try, since it’ll come out super delicious and quite gingerbread-y anyway!

Also I’m super impressed I was able to shoot this recipe, as I tested it out in the last few days at my boyfriend’s place where there’s a nice coffee maker as well as a milk frother, but then I came home and my coffee maker doesn’t work anymore and the milk frother is gone as well. You’ll be wondering how I did… well, a part from the old moka being brought up again, a few secrets for achieving a good latte without any equipment at all (and also for cleaning up the post-syrup mess) will be revealed somewhere below!

Ingredients | 1 Gingerbread Latte:
1 Espresso
150ml milk
For the gingerbread syrup:
125ml water
80g brown sugar
2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 vanilla bean
A pinch of ground cinnamon

Homemade Gingerbread Latte
Homemade Gingerbread Latte
the syrup ;
1 :: Pour the water and the brown sugar into a saucepan together with the cinnamon, ginger and half vanilla bean (if you don’t like your coffee to be extra sweet reduce the sugar to 60g).
2 :: Bring the mixture to a boil over a medium heat, then lower the heat to a minimum and leave the mixture to simmer for around 15 minutes stirring only when necessary not more than a pair of times.
3 :: Remove from heat and set aside.

TIP!

You’ll have enough syrup for three gingerbread lattes, so you might want to store the left over into a tiny jar. It can be conserved somewhere fresh and dark (not in the fridge but room temperature) for a pair of days so you’ll be able to enjoy two other drinks for the next pair of breakfasts!

Homemade Gingerbread Latte
Homemade Gingerbread Latte
assemble it! ;
4 :: Make an espresso and heat up and froth your milk.
5 :: Assemble your latte by firstly pouring the espresso into a mug, followed by 1/3 of the gingerbread syrup you’ve previously made and lastly by the frothed milk.
6 :: Enjoy when still warm without adding any sugar (it will be pretty sweet already!) together with other gingerbread festive treats!

DID YOU KNOW?

This might be obvious to some of you but it wasn’t to me, so I’ll share it anyway just in case some of you are still not conscious of it! You can froth your milk in a standard blender if you don’t own a milk frother (like I do at the very moment): just heat your milk up, pour it into a blender and then blend it away until it’s fluffy on top! 

Homemade Gingerbread Latte

I can’t say I’m a fan of ginger all year around, but it’s definitely the classic Christmassy flavour that I love to have around this time of the year and this latte is super delicious, extra sweet (just as I like it) and I think would pair amazing with some gingerbread men dipped into it – even though it’s a combo I’ve yet to try! I love the fact that you can definitely taste there’s something sweet and quite citrus-y in your latte, but it still doesn’t cover the flavour of fresh coffee. You can obviously garnish with whipped cream if you like, however I do quite like it to the minimal as well.

CLEANING UP THE SYRUP-MESS

The syrup is sticky and it will surely stick to your saucepan and be hard to take off, it solidifies if washed with room temperature water, which make the cleaning a real hell. Here’s the other genial but obvious tip for you: fill the saucepan with water and then put it onto a medium heat until the water is hot enough to melt the syrup residues on the bottom and sides of it – you’ll see the water will become darker, then just empty the saucepan and it will be ready for being cleansed without any sticky mess going on!

Let me know if you give it a try and tweet me a picture if you take one!

Homemade Gingerbread Latte
Homemade Gingerbread Latte
Last chance to enter my Christmas Giveaway is today!

Almond Chai Latte

October 1st  •  Posted in Recipe

Almond Chai Latte | A Recipe

WARM COMFORT DRINKS

Yay! It’s that time of the year again when it’s totally a-okay to dust off all the tea and get cracking with warm drinks and I couldn’t be happier! I’m relatively new to chai as I tried it last March for the first time ever, but since then it has been my warm drink of choice. Chai latte reminds me of chilly London where a huge plaid scarf was required and where I tried it the first time and in fact it’s probably my number one favourite warm comfort drink. Only recently I came up with the perfect non-dairy combination for a great delicious chai latte recipe. This is seriously the coziest, most comfortable, sweet yet spiced drink ever, and here is my recipe for you to try!

Ingredients || For a mug of Almond Chai Latte:
150/200 ml of sweetened almond milk (or almond milk + sugar to taste)
1 Black Chai Tea bag (I’m using the Yogi Organic Black Chai Tea which tastes amazing and comes with the cutest quotes, all different for each tea bag!)
1 Vanilla Bean
Star Anise

Almond Chai Latte | A Recipe
Almond Chai Latte | A Recipe
Almond Chai Latte | A Recipe

HOW TO

1. Start by measuring out your almond milk according to how large your mug is. Should approximately be around 150/200ml for a mug of chai latte. Then pour the milk into a trusty small saucepan.

2. Take your black chai tea bag and place it in some water for just a second – this helps in releasing the flavour when in the milk.

3. Then pour the tea bag with the milk in the saucepan and place the latter on a very low heat.

Almond Chai Latte | A Recipe

4. Cut a vanilla bean in the middle to release the seeds and pour it in the almond milk when it’s still warming up together with some star anise to taste to enhance the chai flavour.

5. Let the mixture of tea, milk, vanilla and anise warm up mixing with a spoon along the way until the milk reaches its boiling point, then turn off the heat.

Almond Chai Latte | A Recipe
Almond Chai Latte | A Recipe
Almond Chai Latte | A Recipe

6. Press the tea bag with a spoon on the sides of the saucepan to release more flavour, then strain the almond chai latte on a strainer directly into your mug to remove the anise and vanilla bean and seeds.

DONE!

You’ll be left with the best deliciously smelling chai latte as well as coziest, sweetest yet spiced warm drink for this autumnal chilly days! The star anise enhance the flavour of the chai and make it more interesting, while the vanilla add sweetness and delicacy – I also find the almond milk is the best non-dairy choice to be paired with black chai (my fave). You can also make your own chai at home by mixing black tea, ginger, star anise, cloves, black pepper in some boiling water, however I definitely prefer using tea bags for it because the consistency of the final chai latte will be much thicker and creamier!

{ Enjoy! }

Almond Chai Latte | A Recipe
Almond Chai Latte | A Recipe
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