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Too busy to drive to Starbucks this Christmas season, or do you just want a coffee that's free from unhealthy ingredients? The answer: make your own peppermint mocha at home with real food ingredients, and enjoy the Christmas flavors that you're craving.
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What is a peppermint mocha?
At Starbucks, it's a mixture of espresso, steamed milk, sweet mocha sauce, and peppermint syrup. The baristas typically garnish it with whipped cream and chocolate shavings. My recipe consists of coffee, homemade chocolate milk, and peppermint syrup.
What does it taste like?
It tastes like creamy hot chocolate with subtle hints of coffee and a festive touch of mint. It’s definitely a hot drink to get you in the Christmas spirit!
Is peppermint mocha a seasonal drink at Starbucks?
Yes, it is a seasonal drink at Starbucks. It’s usually released in November, a few weeks before the start of the Christmas season. Fortunately, you can make your own at home anytime of year!
Does it contain coffee?
Yes, it does contain coffee. If you’re making this drink for kiddos or don’t want the caffeine, you can skip the coffee and use hot chocolate instead. Just realize it won’t taste the same without the coffee!
Is there caffeine in peppermint mocha?
The Starbucks one does contain caffeine, because it’s made with espresso. You can make it decaf by using decaf coffee instead of espresso.
Is it vegan?
Nope; the Starbucks version isn’t vegan. If you want to make a vegan one, use full-fat coconut milk instead of dairy and cream. Use coconut cream to make the whipped cream garnish. Make sure your cocoa powder and chocolate is vegan, too.
Peppermint Mocha vs. Peppermint Latte
The difference between a mocha and a latte is simple: a mocha contains chocolate, while a latte doesn’t. Also, a latte is often topped with foamed milk instead of whipped cream.
How to Make It Healthier
The real-deal mocha can sometimes feel a little heavy with all the other seasonal indulgence, right? Here’s some ways you can get your coffee fix with a healthier spin.
- Sugar. Don’t want to use white sugar? Try stevia or monkfruit.
- Milk. Use full-fat coconut milk. Nut milks won’t get foamy like coconut milk does.
- Cream. Use coconut cream to make the whipped cream.
- Chocolate. Use chips (60% cacao or higher) to cut down the sugar and increase the health benefits.
How do you make a skinny peppermint mocha?
- Use the healthy ingredient substitutions in the question above.
- Take a smaller serving. This will automatically reduce the calories!
- Skip the garnish. You’ll cut a lot of calories this way.
- Pour it over ice. The drink will look like more than it really is.
How to Make an Iced Version
- Pour it over ice. This is the fastest method and definitely my favorite. Just mix it up and pour it over a cup of ice. Voila!
- Use cold brew coffee and chill the other ingredients so everything’s cold. Pour over ice and enjoy.
Ready to make some Christmas goodness? Let's do it!
How to Make
Let's start by making the syrup. You'll need granulated sugar, water, and peppermint extract.
Whisk the sugar and water over medium heat until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from the heat, let it cool for 1 minute, and whisk in the extract.
Grab the ingredients for the next part. You'll need milk, heavy whipping cream, unsweetened cocoa powder, and some dark chocolate chips.
Sift the cocoa powder into the same small pot, then gradually whisk in the cream. Whisk in the milk.
Heat the mixture over medium heat until it just begins to steam, then dump in the chocolate chips and whisk until smooth.
Pour the mixture into the blender and blend for 60 seconds, until well mixed and frothy.
Brew some coffee. Grab some milk, the syrup, and the chocolate milk.
Pour 3 tablespoons of the mint syrup, ¼ cup of the chocolate milk, ⅔ cup of coffee, and ⅔ cup of milk into a glass and stir well. Garnish with whipped cream, chocolate shavings, and a peppermint stick. Enjoy while it's still hot!
- Make it ahead. You can make the syrup and chocolate milk ahead of time and refrigerate them for up to 5-7 days.
- Use full-fat milk for the best taste.
- Blend the chocolate milk for 60 seconds to ensure that it's frothy and evenly mixed.
- Make sure that the coffee is freshly brewed. Coffee that's over 20 minutes old isn't fresh anymore.
- Eating healthy? Use coconut milk instead of dairy, substitute the sugar, or skip the whipped cream decoration.
- Emeril Lagasse 1-Quart Saucepan: this small saucepan is great for making the syrup.
- Set of 3 Stainless Steel Whisks: these sturdy whisks are one of our favorite tools.
- 2-Cup Glass Measuring Cup: we love this for measuring and pouring liquids.
- Hamilton Beach Hand-Held Mixer: making whipped cream is easy with this mixer!
Other Starbucks Copycat Drinks
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This homemade peppermint mocha is an easy Christmas coffee drink that’s the perfect peppermint treat to enjoy during the holiday season. Make it hot, iced, or skinny and enjoy a taste of festive cheer!
For the Peppermint Syrup (Makes about ¾ Cup)
- ¾ cup granulated sugar (150g)
- ½ cup filtered water (120 ml)
- ½ teaspoon peppermint extract
For the Chocolate Milk (Makes about 1 Cup)
- ½ cup whole milk (120 ml)
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream (120 ml)
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder (6g)
- ¼ cup 60% cacao chocolate chips (45g)
For the Mocha (14 fl oz or 416 ml)
- 3 tablespoons mint syrup (45 ml)
- ¼ cup chocolate milk (60 ml)
- ⅔ cup strong coffee (or ⅓ cup espresso) (160 ml)
- ⅔ cup whole milk (160 ml)
For Decorating One Mocha
- ¼ cup heavy whipping cream (60 ml)
- ½ teaspoon grated chocolate
Making the Peppermint Syrup (5 minutes)
- Pour the sugar and water into a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar has fully dissolved.
- Remove the syrup from the heat and let it cool for about 1 minute, then stir in the peppermint extract. Set aside.
Making the Chocolate Milk (10 minutes)
- Sift the cocoa powder into the same small saucepan you used for the peppermint syrup. Gradually whisk in the heavy whipping cream until the cocoa powder has dissolved into the cream, then stir in the milk.
- Heat the mixture over medium heat until it just begins to steam, then remove it from the heat and dump in the chocolate chips. Whisk vigorously until the ingredients are fully incorporated.
- Pour the mixture into a blender and blend for 60 seconds. It should be well combined and frothy.
Making & Decorating the Mocha (10 minutes)
- Make the coffee or espresso.
- Pour 3 tablespoons of the mint syrup and ¼ cup of the chocolate milk into a mug. Add ⅔ cup of coffee and ⅔ cup of whole milk. Stir well to combine.
- Whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Snip the corner off of a sandwich bag and slip a star piping nozzle into the corner to create a piping bag. Spoon the whipped cream into the bag and pipe the cream in a mound on top of the mocha.
- Use a fine cheese grater to grate some dark chocolate on top of the mocha. Garnish with a candy cane and enjoy immediately.
- For the best flavor, use full-fat milk and freshly brewed coffee.
- Blend the chocolate mixture for 60 seconds to ensure that it's evenly mixed.
- Skinny Version: use coconut milk, substitute the sugar, and/or skip the whipped cream.
- Iced Version: use cold brew coffee and serve over ice.
- Make Ahead: mix up the peppermint syrup and chocolate milk and refrigerate for up to 5 days.
- Category: Beverage
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: starbucks peppermint mocha recipe, starbucks peppermint drinks
This post was originally published on November 15, 2017.