Maple Latte

 It's autumn. There is a chill in the air. It's time for all things butternut, pumpkin, maple, apple, tea, and cozy. I've been longing for this season for a hot month here in Baltimore, where September is just a less intense version of summer. And, I'm due to have a baby any day.

During this pregnancy, I have left a job, started a business, organized and cleaned the entire house, and begun a new hobby (sewing). Now that the business is winding down at the end of the market season (to be continued in full next spring) I have a lot of time on my hands. The extra time has been wonderful for my nesting frenzy and getting ready for a baby. I have a crib, a carseat, a stroller, and all that jazz. I'm ready...or not. I look forward to a cozy fall and winter of bonding with my baby and being all snuggly. And drinking maple lattes, of course.

No, I did not make the above latte, but isn't it beautiful? Justin and I went to our favorite restaurant, Woodberry Kitchen, as part of a pre-baby date. Brunch was just perfect, partly because of this maple latte. The amazing thing was that the foam art on top stayed until the very last sips. I was impressed.

Of course I wanted to recreate a version of this at home, and of course I cannot without an espresso maker and a lot of skill. But, I came close with my stove top espresso maker and a saucepan of milk. Have you seen one of these guys before? Stove top espresso makers are kind of like percolators that you brew on the stove. Water goes in the bottom, finely ground coffee gets packed on top of that, and the heat forces it up to the top where it is poured out. It is not exactly espresso, but it's really strong coffee that is good for making espresso drinks at home. If you don't own one, you can substitute double strength coffee. Just use half the water you normally would for whichever brew method you have.

A nice variation on the maple latte is a mocha. When you heat the milk on the stove, add a small square of dark chocolate (about 1/4 ounce) and whisk until melted. It's best to strain afterward to avoid getting little bits of chocolate in your mocha.

Maple Latte (or Mocha)
Serves 1

3/4 cup stove top espresso or strong coffee
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup (or 1/4 ounce dark chocolate)

Make stove top espresso, using filtered water, if possible, and finely ground coffee. My ratio tends to be about 3/4 cup of water to 1/4 cup coffee. Heat milk in saucepan until hot but not boiling. Stir in maple syrup (or chocolate). Combine milk and coffee in mug. Enjoy!