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…are so quick and easy and are absolutely perfect to make for the holidays!  We made a batch last weekend, and have been enjoying these little indulgences all week.

For chocolate-covered marshmallows you need:

  • 1 lb. dark chocolate
  • A bag of marshmallows
  • Sprinkles
  • Skewers

Simply melt the chocolate in a double boiler, then roll the tips of your skewered marshmallows in it.  Then, roll the freshly coated marshmallow in your favorite holiday sprinkles.  Set on some wax paper to harden, and you are done!

My mom gave us the great idea of enjoying these marshmallows in a cup of hot chocolate…delicious!!!!

When you dip the marshmallows in your cocoa, the chocolate and marshmallow begin to melt and just become heavenly!  And, the sprinkles make your plain old hot chocolate look quite festive.  What a way to start (or end!) the day!

*sc

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…are one of our absolute favorite things about Fall!!!  The day the pumpkin spice latte becomes available on the Starbucks menu is a happy day indeed.  This year, we decided to attempt to recreate this fall favorite at home, and these lattes are excellent!

For Schatzi’s pumpkin spice lattes you need:

  • 2 tbsp. pumpkin puree
  • 2 tbsp. vanilla
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. pumpkin spice
  • 2 shots freshly brewed espresso
  • 1 cup milk

Combine the vanilla, sugar, pumpkin spice, and pumpkin.

Make your espresso as usual and froth the milk. Before the milk reaches 160 degrees, add the pumpkin mixture and stir well.  Bring the mixture to 160 degrees.

Add the milk mixture to the espresso and top with a dash of cinnamon.

Well done, Schatzi!  Who needs Starbucks when you are practically married to a do-it-yourself baristo?!

*sc

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Schatzi’s Coffee Corner

Hi there. I’m not Lauren, I’m Michael. I am Lauren’s husband. I am known on this site as Schatzi, which is a very adorable name for me, which is nice. I come from here, but I will come to this site to talk about coffee, because Lauren loves coffee, and I love coffee, and we love each other, and coffee coffee coffee.

First off, though, I must say a few words about how I came to love coffee. I didn’t. Coffee changed until I loved it. Ok, that isn’t true. I’ll start over.

I can’t remember the first time I tried coffee because it was not memorable. The easiest place to find coffee is either a workplace or just a coffee shop. Sadly, at both places they either make it poorly or make it too drinkable by adding too much sugar or cream or whatnot. I definitely did not like coffee at first because the stuff I drank was burned rubbish that I had to use cream and sugar to be able to drink. I worked at a coffee shop during high school for a bit and that did not improve my experience. It was too difficult to learn how to make all the different combinations and again, I just didn’t like what the machines at that location produced. It was too burned, or too bitter, or it had been sitting in the pot for too long.

During college, I used coffee to keep me awake or to wake me up for early classes. Lauren would make me some at times, but due to our inexperience, again I had to fill it with half cream and half sugar, and see if the coffee had any room left. It tasted okay but only because the tastes I could find were sugar and vanilla, no more.

I’m here to wipe that all away. I thought I loved coffee, but I loved caffeine, and sugar, and cream. I thought I was cool, drinking coffee and talking about it. We even got a [blade] grinder so we could grind beans right before brewing like we were told, but we still didn’t know about good coffee. Due to what I thought was an obsession with coffee (even though it certainly is an obsession now) I researched what made coffee good. What goes into the beans, how they’re made, what actually makes a good cup of coffee, etc. I learned a lot. I’m practically a different man. I am a different man after my morning coffee. Let me share why:

I drink black coffee. You just said, “what?” or “eww,” or “they make that?” or something like that, or maybe you even said “what a cool dude.” Yes black coffee. I love it. I drink it at least once a day, sometimes twice. I can’t get enough! I love how it almost burns my tongue if I drink it too soon. I love how deep the flavors are. I love that I don’t put any more cream or sugar in (I used to put in 3 creamers and 4 sugars or something ridiculous like that). Really, it is awesome, and it probably doesn’t taste like any coffee you’ve had before.

Probably the most important difference is in the grind. If you want your coffee to be awesome from the start, get a burr grinder. A conical burr grinder. This is practically a must. Never mind it is a must. I have this one, Lauren got it for me! It works really well and is a great introductory burr grinder for what you need. I’ll go more in-depth on these later, but trust me for the time being. With a burr grinder, you can get different types of grinds ranging from fine to really fine or coarse or just plain medium. This is coarse and a penny for comparison:

This is important for the following section.

How To Make French Press Coffee

It’s in the name, you need a French Press. This is what I have.

It allows you to control the amount of coffee grinds, the amount of water, the heat of the water, and the time brewed. It also has neat filters to keep the grinds out of your coffee, which make for a bitter taste.

Next, you need to get some water pretty hot. You don’t want to pour boiling water on the grounds, but you do want hot coffee, no? While it is boiling, prepare the French Press and get the beans ready to grind. You don’t want to grind them until you are ready to go. When the water begins to boil, grind the beans and pour 1 heaping tablespoon per 4 oz of water into the French Press, like so:

Then get the water off the heat, and get ready to go. You’ll need a spoon, so grab that, and by the time you grab a spoon and come back, the water is close to the right temperature to pour, so start pouring the water on the beans, but slowly! If you pour too fast, it will excite the coffee and make it release all the delicious flavors more into the air than into the water. You also want to pour the water over all of the grounds, just go in a circle while you pour.

Then, once all the water is in, and the beans are at the top, use the spoon and give it a swirl to shake up the grounds a bit; this should produce a really nice crema at the top like so:

Now put the top on, but don’t press it all the way down, just get it sealed, and wait 4 minutes.

Once the 4 minutes are up, slowly, very slowly, push the little knob all the way down, while holding on the top to keep it steady. If you go too fast, the grounds can escape into the upper chamber and mix in with the liquid, and it will be too bitter.

Now, just pour it all out, simple! Don’t leave coffee in there though, it’ll keep brewing and make a pot that is too strong, and too bitter, so pour it into a thermos or something if you have to. Voila! Perfect coffee every time!

– Michael

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