Sometimes I like to blow my children's minds by suddenly stopping to get them an unexpected treat. I was out with Rob and Henry (of the five, they are the highest maintenance right now, so I take them out pretty much every Sunday to give Paul a break). I saw a Dunkin' Donuts and before they knew what was happening we were turning in.
I wanted a treat too, but I wasn't in the mood for a doughnut. Which made it perfect: one of the combo options is a medium coffee and two doughnuts. Each child got to pick a doughnut, and I got a coffee in a fun flavor (gingerbread) plus got cream and sugar in it.
Side note: did you know that a medium regular coffee at Dunkin' Donuts is 3 creams and 3 sugars? I found this HUGELY USEFUL, because even though I know we are now a nation of Perfectly Acceptable Coffee Pickiness, I still have trouble when I don't know what it is I'm asking for. The regular is both creamier and sweeter than I like, and I was in a particularly confident mood, so I said to the clerk, "I want cream and sugar, but, like, half to three quarters of the usual amount?" And she said, "Er, well, it's 3 creams and 3 sugars," and I said "PERFECT: 2 creams and 2 sugars, then," because those of us with math medals have instantly noticed that 2/3rds is right between 1/2 and 3/4ths. (Hey: why don't we put letters after 1/2?)
Where was I? Oh yes! The gingerbread coffee was good. I liked it. And I noticed the sign said that the gingerbread flavoring was pre-sweetened, which made me wonder if some flavorings were just simple syrups with spices in them.
Before I give the recipe I tinkered together, I need to warn you that this is not meant to be a COPY of the Dunkin' Donuts flavor: I'd only had one single cup of it, so I wasn't familiar enough with it to try to duplicate it. What I DID do was make a version that would please me if I ordered a gingerbread coffee at a coffee shop.
Swistle's Version of Gingerbread Coffee Flavoring
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 T. molasses
1/2 t. cinnamon
1 t. ginger
1/8 t. cloves
First, the simple syrup, which is just as simple as it sounds: 1 part sugar to 1 part water. Put 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan, bring it to a boil, and then turn off the heat. (In metric, 1/2 cup is about 120 ml. But it doesn't matter the precise ml as long as it's close to 120 and you're using one measuring cup of sugar and one of the same measuring cup of water.)
Add 2 tablespoons (30 ml) molasses. If you don't want to have to scoop the sticky molasses out of the measuring spoon with your finger, use the measuring spoon to stir the hot simple syrup and the molasses will dissolve off.
Add the spices: 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) of ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of ground ginger, 1/8 teaspoon (er, just over half a ml?) of ground cloves. Stir until they're evenly mixed in.
In a mug of coffee (my mug holds 1.25 cups, or about 300 ml), I used 1/2 tablespoon (7.5 ml) of syrup. Then I added a slosh of 2% milk, which is how I usually drink my coffee. It was still a little too sweet for me, but approximated the sweetness I remembered from the Dunkin' Donuts kind. If it's too sweet for you, too, you can half-again the spices in the same amount of syrup and then use a teaspoon (5 ml) or even half a teaspoon of it in the coffee.
The extra can be stored in a little container in the fridge, though you will need to stir like the charles dickens to make sure the spices aren't just hanging around on the bottom. And it'll be thicker, so again: to make measuring less messy, you can use the measuring spoon to stir the mixture, then use it again to stir the syrup into the coffee.
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