12.17.2014

Coffee, Tea, & Hot Chocolate Hacks


Cozy pjs, a crackling fire, a good movie or a book, and a hot beverage...the makings of a perfect evening (or an entire wishful weekend!). But wait--before you put down the computer and start making a drink, check out some of my favorite hacks to change up your usual coffee, tea, or hot chocolate. There's something for just about everyone!

For my tea drinkers, you've got to try making your own sugar cubes! It is SO easy and makes a cute decoration for tea or as a gift. You can use any type of sugar you want, like raw and brown sugar. Next, choose your shapes. I used small silicone molds and small cookie cutters--for Christmas I've done trees, candy canes, snowflakes, and gingerbread men. Mix 1 part sugar with one fourth of water and press into molds. Let dry over night. Remove and serve (or store in air-tight container). BONUS HACKS: Add flavoring to these, like vanilla or peppermint. I've added food coloring too--lightest colors work the best.

A way to enhance any drink is to add a tasty candied rim. I've used finely crushed candy canes, colored sugar, and nonpareils (pictured above) to decorate. Simply pour your candy into a bowl or saucer or plate that is bigger than the rim of your mug or glass. Dip the rim into something to make the candy stick, like water, cream, icing (no judging!), chocolate, honey, etc. then dip the coated rim into the candy.

Marshmallows and hot cocoa are just meant to be together. But instead of the traditional ones, try Christmas Peeps (they have all sorts of shapes) or these Gingerbread ones (not Peeps). They really taste like gingerbread, fyi. Tons of whipped cream, optional.


Remember those cookie cutters I mentioned in the first hack? You can reuse them to make a decorative top on your cream. Simply place on top and add cocoa. If you want to do a lot of these quickly, I suggest tracing your design (mine's a candy cane) onto paper (I've even used a disposable drink cup lid) and cutting it out and then placing over the top. Dust your cocoa over it and your drink automatically looks fancy. Aaand because I cannot make any of that fancy latte art with frothed milk!

Speaking of the top of the drink, if you're a fan of whipped cream, I've got an easy recipe for caramel sea salt. You can use store bought or make your own, like I did. Just add a couple of drops of caramel flavoring, pinch of sea salt, your whipped cream, and mix together before adding a dollop onto your drink. Drizzle caramel sauce and extra sea salt if desired. I usually make enough for a few servings and keep in the fridge.

Sticking a candy cane in a drink is something we've all done, right? But let's make it extra festive this year and try a candy cane twist or spoon. I'm so glad I found these at Walmart (and Michaels) because I've tried to diy my own versions in the past, and let's just say it was a disaster. How cute are these? BONUS HACK: Dip these in chocolate! Add nonpareils! Ok, I just want another excuse to use the nonpareils. Btw I've used the spoon in my tea and loved it.

Here's the spoon and my peppermint mocha. I added crushed candy cane and chocolate sauce at the top because I could. I cannot cook or bake worth a dang flip, so this is how I contribute to the Christmas desserts.

Here's the peppermint twist in a peppermint white hot chocolate. Special thanks to my friends who volunteered to drink the "props" so they wouldn't go to waste.

Which hacks would you like to try?

66 comments:

  1. That first photo just makes me wanna curl up back to bed with a cup of chocolate milk. Sadly I need to go to work :(

    www.RainyAllie.com

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  2. I loved reading through this post! So festive :) I'm not craving a hot chocolate with looots of whipped cream! haha x

    Angela | The Sunday Chapter

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  3. Mmm I love hot drinks in Winter, caramel sea salt looks super tastey and sounds incredibly easy!

    Heather x
    http://heatherrrrm.blogspot.co.uk/

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  4. These are such great ideas! How cute is that peppermint spoon? I am stocking up on hot chocolate supplies for that storm I know we are going to get this year.
    xo, Whitney and Blaire
    Peaches In A Pod

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  5. Nothing better than a hot drink, a good book and sitting in front of the fireplace! Those peppermint spoons are so cute!

    Jill
    Doused In Pink

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  6. I love the candy cane from the cookie cutter- great idea! Now I want something delicious to drink this morning!! xo, Biana - BlovedBoston

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  7. Oh I honestly love this post. It is my favorite one that you have done, ever! Lol The hubby wld love the caramel one. My best friend is coming Sunday to make xmas cookies. I think I will surprise her and greet her with one of these. Soo clever and festive!

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  8. These are all so fun and great ideas. I loved the idea of the Christmas themed peeps in hot chocolate. I have got to go find those peppermint spoons! Loved this post.

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  9. mmmm soo many good ideas! i want that caramel sea salt whipped cream! xo jillian - cornflake dreams

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  10. Awesome hacks, Elle. I really want those candy cane spoons:D

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  11. These are all such great ideas! I didn't know you could make your own sugar cubes! And I love the idea of using gingerbread peeps for hot cocoa! Yum!

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  12. Those just make them so much cuter! I love the candy cane spoons and twists! I usually just add whipped cream and caramel.

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  13. your whip cream looks so good!

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  14. Mmmm! All of the above sound delicious!

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  15. Holy cow, these hacks are amazing! I forget how easy it is to do a sugar/sparkle rim and how fancy it makes a drink look. Love the candy cane design. :)

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  16. The candy cane spoon is such an amazing idea! I usually just throw a candy cane into my hot chocolate. And I NEED that penguin mug. So cute!

    <3, Pamela
    Sequins & Sea Breezes

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  17. I love these ideas! The candied rim is such a cute little touch!

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  18. OMG, all of these are so cute and look delicious!

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  19. Holy yummy! I'll take one of each right now thanks!

    <3 Shannon
    Upbeat Soles

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  20. So cool! I didn't know you could make these. Thanks.

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  21. I would never have thought to use cookie cutters to make little designs in the whipped cream. Like duh! I cant wait to impress my Christmas morning guests! (; Thanks for the tips Elle!

    www.accordingtokiki123.blogspot.com

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  22. I need to find the candy cane spoon, that is so perfect for Christmas! Another great post, Elle, thank you!

    Reflection of Sanity

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  23. Great tips! I love the tree shaped sugar and candy cane spoons :) xx

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  24. Cutest drinks ever. I love the candy cane spoon.

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  25. Using the cookie cutter to make art on the cream, genius!

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  26. Oh c´mon don´t make me hungry! ;-)xoxo, Sissi www.beauty4free2u.com

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  27. Brilliant hacks and I love those mugs! :)
    Detox Days

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  28. How cute!! I have to try some of these soon!!

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  29. I love every single idea & hack.
    I want sugar cubes in fun designs all year long!!!
    That santa mug reminds me of one I had when I was little :)

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  30. Oh my gosh, these are the most fun ideas ever! I love them all!

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  31. Well isn't this the cutest?? I love that cookie cutter/ cocoa idea!!

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  32. Oh man I want a nice festive holiday drink now! The caramel sea salt and peppermint mocha sound great right now lol

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  33. I try to make myself fancy coffee drinks at home from time to time. My favorite hack was the idea use paper to cut out the shape you want for the cocoa detail over the forth - genius! xo

    Beauty Isles | An Island Girl's Beauty and Lifestyle Blog

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  34. This is such a cute post! I love each idea here :)

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  35. These are all so cute! Those candy cane spoons are awesome. My kids would flip out!

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  36. Such fun and easy ways to fancy up the holidays!

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  37. All of these are too cute! Loving the candy-coated rim. May have to do this on Christmas Eve!
    xo Southern Style

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  38. i want a candy cane spoon! and the caramel stuff. i love a good hot choccie but i'm not a fan of marshmallows in them, don't know why. whipped cream though... yes please.

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  39. holy moly - i love the idea of making sugar cubes with my fave brown sugar in the raw and i'm going to use my star molds i usually put the kids jello in! so festive!

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  40. These are so cute! Perfect for a holiday party. I love all of these ideas.

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  41. This is a really cute idea. ;-)
    Lovely greets...

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  42. Oh WOW what a wonderful job you did with all of these. And those candy cane spoons what an awesome find. Thanks for posting these ideas!

    Allie of ALLIENYC
    allienyc.com

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  43. You really have some great ideas! I love tea and coffee so I can defo see myself doing some of these!

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  44. The penguin mug is just too cute!! I'm definitely going to pick up some candy cane spoons for my tea. Yum!

    xx, Kizzy
    KizzyKingston.blogspot.com

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  45. The candy rim is ADORABLE! I'm definitely gonna do that on Christmas morning! :D

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  46. I love when you share these holiday hacks, these are all great!

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  47. All the drinks look delicious! I've got to find some candy cane spoons :)

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  48. I want to try the caramel salt whipped cream... With or without coffee ;)

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  49. These all look delicious! I will definately be trying some of them.

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  50. I wish I was there to help drink the props!

    xo, Yi-chia
    Always Maylee

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  51. Okay, my mouth is officially watering! Everything sounds amazing but I think I'd go for the salted caramel whipped cream... and put that on everything :)

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  52. How CUTE (and yummy) are these drink tricks? I'm loving the sea salt + caramel whipped cream because hello, I'm addicted.

    -Ashley
    Le Stylo Rouge

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  53. Such fun ideas! I really like the "art" on top of the whipped cream and the salted caramel

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  54. Such an amazing post, absolutely great ideas! I will definitely be trying them soon :) you have a lovely blog, I'm so glad I discovered it! New follower xx

    alexandraabeauty.blogspot.com

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  55. The candy cane twists and spoons look so fun and festive!

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  56. Oh my goodness, Elle, you come up with the cutest ideas! I love all of these! So festive! :)

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  57. Wow, you certainly know how to make the most out of Christmas! Mine looks so dull compared to all the sweetness here! x

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  58. desperately want a hot choc now!

    from helen at thelovecatsinc.com

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  59. OMG these look delicious, I want a cup of hot chocolate right now!

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  60. These are so fun, what great ideas! I love the cocoa candy cane and the caramel sea salt whipped cream!

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  61. Loving these yummy festive drinks! Nothing better than a hot drink on a cold day! T. http://tickledpinkwoman.blogspot.com

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  62. We're seriously trying all of these but first we have to go get some candy cane spoons. Seriously, where have those been all our lives?

    xx 365hangers

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