It’s been six weeks since I last posted a Thirsty Thursday post. Six weeks! That is not ok. This long, hard look at the calendar was the wakeup call I needed to start refocusing my efforts on this supposed “food” blog of mine. Thankfully, we just checked off two major items on the wedding to-do list (photographer and band!), and suddenly I feel a lot better about things. It also helps that I have some newfound free time for baking now that we’re staying put for the next several weekends. A full month into fall and I’ve been neglecting my oven big time. It’s time I fix that.
Just not quite yet. Today’s post didn’t require an oven, but the autumnal Caramel Apple Spice is a step in the right direction. It’s a copycat recipe of the pricey Starbucks version, and get this, Starbucks is the one supplying it! Check it out here. Now, to be fair, hot apple cider with whipped cream and caramel sauce isn’t exactly rocket science or patentable, and their act of sharing is likely just a ploy to sell their Fontana Cinnamon Syrup, but we appreciate the sentiment nonetheless. Too bad for Starbucks, we’ll be saving our money with a homemade cinnamon syrup, because we’re scrappy like that.
The small cast of characters: apple juice, cinnamon syrup (bought or homemade), whipped cream, and caramel sauce for topping. Super easy.
To make your own cinnamon syrup, combine ½ cup light brown sugar, ½ cup regular sugar and 1 cup water in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir well and bring to a slow boil. Once boiling, turn down heat and add 1 tablespoon cinnamon and stir some more until the cinnamon is mostly dissolved. Remove from heat, use what you need and store the rest in the fridge for future use.
The rest is even easier. To make one mug of Caramel Apple Spice, in a small saucepan, add 1½ cups of apple juice and a few tablespoons of cinnamon syrup to taste (I used 2 for mine). Stir and bring to a slow boil.
Remove from heat and transfer to a mug. I always use a measuring cup as my middleman because without it I inadvertently spill things all over the place.
Next, top with a generous swirl of whipped cream and a heavy-handed drizzle of caramel sauce. I love Smuckers Hot Caramel, not to be confused with the similar-looking jar of “Caramel Flavored Topping.” I’ve never actually compared the two labels, but one says “flavored” and that’s enough to know it’s not for me.
This though. So me. Apple cider with a sweet cinnamon kick, whipped cream and caramel, what’s not to love?
I’m not a coffee drinker so my Starbucks orders switch between green tea lattes and caramel apple spices. I’d already tackled homemade green tea lattes, and now I can say I know how to make both and save a little extra money. It’s a good feeling. Cheers to that!
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- ½ cup regular sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1½ cup apple juice
- cinnamon syrup to taste
- whipped cream for topping
- caramel drizzle for topping
- Combine ½ cup light brown sugar, ½ cup regular sugar and 1 cup water in a saucepan over medium heat.
- Stir well and bring to a slow boil.
- Once boiling, turn down heat and add 1 tablespoon of cinnamon and stir some more until the cinnamon is mostly dissolved.
- In a small saucepan, add 1½ cups of apple juice and a few tablespoons of cinnamon syrup to taste. Stir and bring to a slow boil.
- Remove from heat and transfer to a mug.
- Top with a generous swirl of whipped cream and a heavy-handed drizzle of caramel sauce.
- Makes 1 serving