I love winter. I really do, I love snow and being cold, and even the short days. But even I get anxious for spring to arrive. Last year, we missed the growing season and could not have a garden because we were in between houses. This year, we have the teeny-tiniest yard and have to be really creative with planning a garden in such a small space. I do not have a green thumb, but I am always hopeful. A few afternoons ago, it was cold and rainy, I made myself a latte and started daydreaming about our summer garden. I have been reading some books on gardening in small spaces and am amazed at how much yield you can get from a few feet of garden space. Do you have any tips to share about planning a garden?
I was so excited when Starbucks did their vanilla campaign. I love vanilla anything, and usually order a vanilla soy latte. I fell in love with the vanilla spice latte, but it is gone already! I think that was only around for a month. I loved them so much that I had to create a copycat version. I think that I like mine better. The vanilla spice syrup keeps for a few weeks in the fridge and would make a really nice Christmas gift. I know that a latte is usually made with espresso, but I just use a dark roast coffee. Bodum sent me a french press and milk frother to use and I am thrilled with how easy it was to get a coffee shop quality latte from my kitchen. I don’t drink milk, so I used Almond Breeze, and the result was a light and frothy latte. A treat on a cold, winter afternoon.
In a medium saucepan, combine water and sugar. Crush cardamom pods and add to the pot. Break the cinnamon sticks in half, add the vanilla bean and grate some nutmeg into the mixture.
Bring to a boil, cook until the sugar is dissolved. Let the syrup come to room temperature. Pour the syrup through a sieve. Pour into a bottle. I like to keep the vanilla bean in the bottle, I think that it looks pretty.
Add the coffee to the bottom of the french press. Pour water over the beans and stir with a wooden spoon. Top with the plunger, but do not press it down yet. Let the coffee sit for 4 minutes. Press the plunger down.
Fill the frother with cold almond milk to the fill line. Microwave for 30 to 60 seconds. Froth until the milk triples in volume.
Add a Tablespoon or two of vanilla spice syrup to the bottom of the cup. Fill halfway with coffee. Fill the rest of the cup with frothed milk. Grate nutmeg on top.
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