Chocolate and coconut is one of my favorite combinations – after chocolate and coffee, of course. Starbucks and other coffee chains tend to put coconut on their spring and summer menus, when consumers are in the mood for a cold beverage with a tropical flair. While I enjoy coconut mocha frappuccinos, I also enjoy hot coconut mochas. Fortunately, they’re easy to make at home, so you don’t have to wait until your favorite coffee shop deems it the “correct” season for the menu!
There are two options for getting coconut flavor into your drink. One is to buy a coconut syrup, like Torani, and the other is to make your own. The advantage to making your own is that it is easy to tweak the flavor to suit your tastes and that you can never run out of it when you’re in the mood for a coconutty drink. This simple syrup is made with three ingredients: sugar, water and coconut extract. Coconut extract has an intense coconut flavor and is often use to enhance the flavor of shredded coconut in cakes and cookies. Putting it into a syrup dilutes the flavor of the extract a little and balances it out, making it much more beverage-friendly than extract alone. The syrup can be stored in your refrigerator for at least a week after you make it.
The syrup is combined with cocoa, coffee and milk to finish the drink. You can adjust the amount of syrup used to suit your own personal preferences, so feel free to make it sweeter if you like. You can use coconut milk in this drink but coconut milk won’t dramatically increase the overall coconut flavor, so I tend to use regular milk. Coconut, soy and almond milk can all be used, however, if you’ve already got some in your kitchen.
Top this mocha off with a dollop of whipped cream and a few shreds of toasted coconut. The one pictured here is topped with a homemade coconut marshmallow – and I’ll be sharing that recipe very soon, so stay tuned!
6 oz hot milk
1 oz coconut syrup (recipe below)
1 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 tbsp sugar
4 oz strong coffee*
In a large mug, milk, coconut syrup, cocoa powder and sugar. Using a small whisk, vigorously stir (rub the handle of the whisk back and forth between the palms of your hands to create a nice froth) until the cocoa and sugar are dissolved and the milk is foamy. Pour in coffee or espresso. Top with whipped cream, if desired.
*If you have an espresso machine, you can use espresso instead of the coffee specified above, but use 2 oz espresso and 8 oz milk.
Coconut Simple Syrup
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp coconut extract
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
In a small saucepan, combine sugar and water. Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat and stir in extracts. Set aside to cool and refrigerate until ready to use.
Makes about 3/4 cups.