First of all: Happy New Year! I hope you all had a great celebration ringing in the new year.
The HH, The Girls and I enjoyed some down time at home after a veritable whirlwind during the month of December; but by the 31st, we were kind of pooped and could think of nothing better than chillaxing in front of the TV (you know, because we’re old people). I did quite enjoy watching the ball drop, however (for about 45 seconds).
And now, with the new year upon us, I have a confession to make. (Don’t worry, you don’t have to sit down or cover your eyes or anything). No, it’s not that I’ve already broken my resolutions (I didn’t make any). It’s not that I consumed more than my fair share of chocolate and peppermint over the holidays (even though I did). It’s not that I secretly wish to fly away to warmer climes for the winter (though that’s not really such a secret, is it?).
Here it is: I have never consumed a Starbucks Chestnut Praline Latte. GASP! I know, right? Well, for that matter, I’ve never had a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte, either. (Double Gasp.)
It’s not that I don’t like coffee, believe me. In fact, even though I’ve not let even a single sip of java pass my lips since 1999–the first time I was diagnosed with candida–I still LOVE the smell of coffee brewing and remember it fondly. But since coffee is incredibly acidic (and anyone with candida wants to keep their diet as alkaline as possible), and since I’m not into the whole Bulletproof
fad trend silliness movement, I’ve chosen to stay away.
I tell you all this as a warning that, as alluring as it is, this libation may taste absolutely nothing like the coffee house version. In fact, this drink contains neither coffee nor a typical “hot” beverage of any kind (though feel free to sub Dandy Blend or another coffee substitute for some or all of the milk). To me, though, this drink was very reminiscent of my lattes of old, since my preferred coffee-like beverage was always fairly diluted in any case.
Throughout my twenties and thirties, my idea of “coffee” was a cup half filled with fairly weak brew, then topped up with boiling water and finished with a splash of skim milk, for a final result that looked like Chaser’s bathwater after a run in the woods (yum). In other words, my caffeine intake from “my” version of coffee was about the same as taking a mug of Joe and passing it quickly under your nostrils to inhale a few molecules through the steam.
Whether you’ve imbibed the Starbucks version or not, I bet you will love this rich, aromatic, comforting latte. You may recall my infatuation with chestnuts ; the romance has continued since then, and I still love their delicate, nuanced nuttiness. The combination of carob and chestnut here creates a synergy of toasty, smooth and sweet that’s reminiscent of chocolate milk without actually containing chocolate–almost like savoring the center of a chocolate truffle in liquid form. The perfect way to set off the new year!
Here’s to a year filled with happiness, fulfillment and healthy sweet sipping on warm chestnut lattes. Bring it on!
Chestnut Spice Latte
A perfectly warming, comforting and indulgent tasting treat. Mixes up quickly with a thick, rich texture. Whip up a batch of this latte and store leftovers in the fridge up to 3 days–it’s great cold, too.
3.5 ounces (100 g–about 12 whole) skinned, roasted chestnuts (I buy the kind in vacuum pack bags)
1 Tbsp plus one tsp (20 ml) carob powder
1 tsp (5 ml) cinnamon
1/4 tsp (1 ml) cardamom (optional, but highly recommended)
1 Tbsp (15 ml) pure vanilla extract
1 tsp (5 ml) pure almond extract
2 tsp (10 ml) whole chia seeds
2 cups (480 ml) unsweetened plain or vanilla almond or other nondairy milk of choice, or a bit more, if desired
pinch fine sea salt
40-50 drops (1/2-3/4 tsp or 2.5 to 3.5 ml) pure plain or vanilla liquid stevia
Whipped coconut cream, if desired, for garnish (I used the recipe from Naturally Sweet & Gluten-Free)
Place all ingredients in a high-powered blender (see directions for regular blender, below) and blend until very smooth. Transfer to a small pot and heat over medium-low heat, stirring frequently to prevent scorching, until warmed through. It will thicken as it heats up.
Pour into a mug and top with whipped cream if desired. Serves two. Store, covered in the refrigerator, up to 3 days. Reheat as above or consume cold.
Conventional blender method: Grind chia seeds in a coffee grinder or spice mill until powdered. Add to blender jug with remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. Transfer to a small pot and continue as above.
Suitable for: ACD all stages; refined sugar-free, grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, egg free, soy-free, corn-free, yeast-free, vegan.
Disclosure: Links in this post may be affiliate links. If you choose to purchase using those links, at no cost to you, I will receive a small percentage of the sale.
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This is great! I found a vacuum packed bag of chestnuts recently and wondered what to do with it. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen them in my store. Definitely a must try during this cold, wet weather.
Ricki Heller says
Yay! I love when I find a way to use something that’s been in my pantry for a while. 🙂 Hope you enjoy it!
Shirley @ gfe & All Gluten-Free Desserts says
First, LOL on your comment on Kathy Griffin and Anderson Cooper slinging barbs. You lasted about 43 seconds longer than I would have! Okay, 44 1/2 seconds really. I abhor KG and would love to see her get pummeled by AC. Now that would be great tv! I’d pay for that! Second, I’m glad you all had a good holiday. I’m really glad that Elsie is better and sorry about that Achilles issue. This Chestnut Spice Latte looks divine. It seems ideal to me to make a recipe that includes the actual ingredient in its name anyway. 😉 I love the idea of coffee and the smell and using it occasionally as flavoring, but a mug of coffee is not my friend, so this is much, much better! I still can’t do chia seed so I’d probably just add some sifted coconut flour. I love that as a healthy thickener in beverage. Gorgeous photos!
Happy 2015, my friend! xo,
Ricki Heller says
Ha ha! Yes, I think she really plays up on that annoyance factor on purpose! I loved Joan Rivers, so we’ll see if KG grows into the role. 😉 And I’m with you on the coffee. I used to enjoy a (very weak) cup in the morning, but it was never a beverage I sought out because I loved it so much. This one is a different story! Hope you and Mr. GFE had a great New Year’s, too! xoxo
We don’t have all the fancy-pants coffees that you seem to on the other side of the pond though they’re getting more and more each season but they usually sound pretty revolting to me anyway! This, however, sounds much more up my street. I also have an extra pack of chestnuts leftover from Christmas so I’ll definitely be trying it soon.
Ricki Heller says
Thanks, Emma! I love that, “fancy-pants coffees”!! I agree–most of them sound horrid. I hope you like this, though! 🙂