Peppermint syrup

This is another one of those “I can’t believe I ever spent money on this” sort of recipes. I love those!

Last year I sweet talked a barista into selling me a bottle of peppermint syrup so I could have my own peppermint coffees at home. You know, for less than $6 a cup. This year I thought I’d go one better and make it myself. As with so many things, it is ridiculously simple to make on your own.

Peppermint syrup


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 tsp. peppermint extract


  1. I did this in the microwave in my trusty Pyrex but in a saucepan on the stove is fine too — just stir together the sugar and water and heat till the sugar dissolves, then stir in the peppermint extract (which, I have found, varies a lot from bottle to bottle, so be sure to taste and adjust accordingly)

You can also replace the peppermint extract with vanilla for quick and easy vanilla syrup.

That’s all, folks! Then add about a tablespoon to your coffee, hot chocolate or whatever floats your boat. Enjoy!

Pumpkin muffins

Behold: my breakfast from now till Christmas!

These are such a lovely start to the morning. Warm and comfort food-ey and delicious even without any butter on them. I’m afraid this is another one of my scrawled-on-a-piece-of-paper recipes so I’m not sure where I originally got it, but I’ve been making them forever.


Pumpkin muffins

Yield: 36 muffins


  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 can pumpkin
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda


  1. Mix all ingredients till just combined — lumps are okay — and fill prepared muffin cups 1/2 to 2/3 full; bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean

Some easy edits if you have the urge to health these up a bit:

  • Cut the sugar — these are lovely and sweet but would still be yummy with less sugar (although when you divide the sugar by 36 muffins it’s not so bad)
  • Replace 1/2 cup of the oil with 1/2 cup applesauce
  • Replace half the flour with whole wheat flour

These freeze wonderfully! I freeze them flat on a cookie sheet then drop them in a zip top bag; I take out one every night and it’s thawed by morning when the coffee is ready. You can also pop it in the microwave for a couple seconds to warm it up. Quick and easy comfort food!

Edited to add 11/12/10: Ooh I just found something! For a decadent version of these involving cream cheese check out these from Family Bites!

Homemade Irish cream

St. Patrick’s Day is coming! Why not celebrate with your own Irish cream? This is kind of cobbled together from a bunch of different recipes, adjusted for what sounded good to me.

I used:

  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1  cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups Irish whiskey
  • 1 packet VIA instant coffee (or 2 Tbsp. strong brewed coffee or espresso)
  • 2 tbsp chocolate syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Your goal here is to blend this all really, really well — I used an immersion blender, but just tossing it all in your regular blender will work fine too. Store it in the fridge in a container that can be shaken up because the chocolate will settle to the bottom as it sits. Serve over ice or in coffee. Enjoy!

Cappuccino fudge crinkles

Kiddo and I had the urge to make cookies, and since he doesn’t actually eat any of them, I get to pick the recipes. This one jumped right off the page at me, I swear: cookies plus chocolate plus coffee? Sign me up.

This one is from the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook — you know, the red and white one. It’s a classic.

You will need:

  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 packed cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 Tbsp instant coffee (I used two packets of Starbucks VIA sent to me gratis by the awesome Maris)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/3 cup vanilla yogurt
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

To make:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. With a mixer, beat butter on medium to high speed for about 60 seconds to soften it up, then add in brown sugar, cocoa powder, coffee, baking soda, and cinnamon (not granulated sugar). Beat till combined, scraping bowl as necessary
  3. Add in egg whites and yogurt, and beat till combined
  4. Add in flour, 1/2 cup at a time, beating till just combined (if you’re using a hand mixer you may need to finish off with a wooden spoon — the batter gets pretty thick and sticky)
  5. Pour granulated sugar in a shallow bowl, then drop teaspoons of the cookie dough into the sugar, a few at a time. Roll the dough into balls, coating with sugar as you go. The dough will be crazy sticky, but you’ll be able to handle it easier once the white sugar is stuck to it
  6. Place cookies 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 350 for about ten minutes, or until edges are firming up. Cool on a wire rack
  7. Eat with abandon Carefully pack up to give away

Savebucks! How to make incredible iced coffee at home

One taste of this and I promise you’ll think twice about dropping $6/cup for iced coffee.

This all started when I stumbled upon this article about cold brewed coffee. “Cold brewed” just sounded… odd. How does that work exactly?

Turns out: pretty well. It further turns out that it’s likely what you’ve been drinking from the mermaid all this time. AND it turns out that you can so easily make this at home!

Like all good drinks at my house, it starts in a Mason jar:

It’s like moonshine, but for morning.

Okay, write this down — it gets complicated:

  1. In a one quart Mason jar, pour in 2/3 cup of coarsly ground coffee
  2. Fill jar with cold water
  3. Let sit for 12 hours at room temperature

Oh. Hmm. Not really that complicated, is it?

After 12 hours, strain the coffee. I strain it through a paper filter into another jar, but you can use a sieve or cheesecloth, too. Now you have coffee concentrateStrong stuff. Keep it in a jar or container in the fridge; mine has lasted up to three weeks still tasting great.

For hot coffee: mix 1/2 concentrate with 1/2 water (or part water part milk, depending on how you take your coffee) and microwave.

For iced coffee: mix half concentrate, half milk and pour over ice. If you want to get super fabulous, shake your milk and concentrate in a cocktail shaker with ice, which makes a nice little foam on top. I do this, and add a spoonful of sweetened condensed milk, too; this makes it a little sweeter and a little thicker.

Also fun for iced: make an tray of coffee ice cubes! Use half coffee ice cubes, half regular ice cubes and your drink will never be watered down.

Some notes:

  • If you want your iced coffee sweeter add some simple syrup (sugar will never dissolve in there — go with the syrup)
  • Go crazy with the add-ins! Vanilla? Caramel? Cinnamon? Chocolate syrup? Whipped cream? It’s yours. Go nuts
  • Like it blended? Throw your concentrate and milk in a blender with ice and a little powdered milk to thicken it up
  • Be sure to stop and snicker periodically at how much money you’ve saved