Updating your Coffee Bar for Fall Entertaining

This post has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. This post was sponsored by Starbucks as part of an Influencer Activation. I received compensation and complimentary products to facilitate my review. #StarbucksCaffeLatte #MyStarbucksatHome #CollectiveBias

It's time to start entertaining for the fall season, and that means making sure your coffee bar is well-stocked for guests. Make it look super cute with this sign DIY and a little seasonal update! #ad #StarbucksCaffeLatte #MyStarbucksatHome

Now that fall is in full swing, it’s time to recognize the fact that Thanksgiving is approaching pretty rapidly. I know, I can hardly believe it either, but now that Zack and I have our Halloween costumes squared away, it’s pretty easy to think that guests will be arriving soon for the various fall and winter holidays… That’s why I couldn’t put it off any longer– it was time to update my coffee bar to prepare for fall guests.

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Pumpkin Spice Dipped Biscotti

I partnered with the Roasterie Kansas City Air Roasted Coffee for this post. All opinions are my own.

Ah, biscotti... coffee's perfect friend. This delicious dipping cookie is easy to make at home, and ships well to friends and family across the country. Pumpkin Spice Biscotti is a great gift for your Thanksgiving hostess, a great cookie exchange item, and the perfect treat on a cold fall morning when paired with your favorite Roasterie Kansas City coffee blend. Plus, it's SO easy to make this simple biscotti recipe.

Fall is upon us, and it’s seriously starting to get chilly… temperatures are dipping lower and lower and I’m pretty much ready to turn my heat on. The only thing saving my heating bill right now is a nice steaming hot cup of coffee. And what’s better with coffee than a really delicious piece of biscotti? Nothing. Except maybe a delicious piece of pumpkin spice biscotti, especially if you’re dipping it into incredible Roasterie Kansas City Air Roasted Coffee. Plus, it’s so easy to make, which means it’s the perfect gift for your Thanksgiving hostess, your friends, and, well, yourself. And since biscotti is a treat that ships really well, it’s also great for those friends who live halfway across the country. Here’s how to make this sweet pumpkin spice treat.

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Tiramisu Dip

Need a crave-worthy dip for your next party? Want all of the elegance but none of the work? This easy tiramisu dip takes minutes to prepare and packs all of the flavor of tiramisu with none of the effort. It's the perfect party food!

I love tiramisu. It’s delicious. It just tastes fancy. There’s something about that blend of coffee and cream and everything delicious that makes my mouth water.

But it’s also kind of a pain in the butt to make. All of those layers! Don’t worry, though– you can totally serve the best tiramisu ever, without really serving tiramisu. With this easy tiramisu dip, you’ll give your guests (or yourself!) all of the flavor without any of the work that actual tiramisu requires.

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(Almost) Starbucks Peppermint Brownie Cake Balls

I did a bad thing, guys. I started rewarding Zach and I for successful shopping trips by occasionally grabbing a cake pop from Starbucks for each of us. It started out occasionally, but then we both really liked it… and it became the standard rather than the exception. And now, it seems inescapable. Every shopping trip, we’re lured in by the smell of coffee, cocoa, and pastries. And don’t even get me started on the amazing Starbucks Peppermint Brownie Cake Pops. Zach and I just can’t get enough.

However, I also realized I couldn’t always pay $3.00 for two cake pops. Especially since they’re surprisingly easy to make at home. So, after spending lots of time and money taste testing the Peppermint Brownie Cake Pops, I knew I had perfected a copycat. It took eating many, many Starbucks cake pops, though. Or, actually, it didn’t, but I really like those darn cake pops. It’s a tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it.

The best part about the copycat recipe is it literally only costs about $0.25 per cake ball versus $1.50+ each. And it tastes almost identical. Start out with a Betty Crocker Hershey’s Premium Cupcake Mix. The mix includes a filling pouch in addition to the cake mix, and you’ll use both for this recipe, eliminating the need for extra frosting to make these cake balls. You’ll also want to grab the ingredients listed on the back of the cake mix box to make the cake, some Nestle White Morsels (or your white chocolate of choice), and the Andes Peppermint Crunch Baking Pieces.

Prepare the cake mix as listed on the back of the box, but instead of putting it in cupcake liners, bake it in an 8 inch round pan at 350 for about 28-30 minutes. Let it cool completely.

Once it’s totally cool, you’ll practically massacre the cake. You’re just going to dig in and shred it up really fine. It’s especially fun to do in front of those people who haven’t seen cake balls made before. It also helps to add a cackle or two as you shred it, to make people think you’ve really gone off your rocker. I did this in front of my boyfriend, and you could see him cringing over me taking a beautiful cake and shredding it to bits. He, of course, stopped protesting once he tasted the finished product. Pour in the contents of the filling pouch and mix the destroyed cake with the filling pouch.

Then, roll them into balls with a diameter roughly the size of a quarter. You’ll get about 20 cake balls out of this.

Melt your morsels in the microwave in 30 second increments, then dip your balls into the melted chocolate and tap off the excess.

While the chocolate is still a little wet, sprinkle on the Andes Peppermint Crunch bits. You’ll want it to still be a little wet so they stick, but don’t slide off. If you waited too long and the balls hardened already, don’t fret– you can spoon a little extra chocolate over the top before sprinkling on the bits!

You can, of course, serve them Starbucks-Style on a stick, but I prefer to tuck them into cupcake liners (or just eat the whole batch while I’m topping them, more often).

I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I’ll never dip quite evenly enough to make them look like Starbucks does, but at least they’ll taste the same. If you happen to be a pro cake pop dipper, your friends and family will never know the difference between yours and the real deal!

 

What’s YOUR favorite coffee shop treat? Let me know in the comments below! Who knows, I may even try to duplicate it!

Cold For Cookie Blended Iced Coffee

When I was a teen I used to love buying bottled drinks from a certain coffee brand. These bottled coffee drinks had a specific name, but my younger brother had a specific name for these bottled coffee drinks: Crappucino.

Ever since then, though, cold coffee has been a definite hit with me. But getting that perfect mix of coffee flavor, non-coffee flavor, and getting a great temperature has always been near impossible.

I decided, however, that it was time to re-create these perfect bottled drinks. Now, I’m going to warn you now. There are dessert coffees that pair well with desserts… and then there are dessert coffees that ARE the dessert. This is the latter.

I started with my favorite plain Brew Over Ice coffee. You don’t want to go for anything sweetened or creamy at this point, because you’re going to add that in later.

I selected a Hazelnut variety from Green Mountain Coffee.

From there, we’re going to break the rules. Take everything you knew about Brew Over Ice and how you brew it, um, over ice, and forget it, because you’re going to brew this Brew Over Ice K-Cup like any other K-Cup– NOT over ice. Use the small cup setting on your Keurig Brewer. (Alternatively, you could use 6 oz of Coldbrewed coffee or 6oz of other coffee, but I felt the Brew Over Ice K-Cup added the best coffee flavor after trying all three).

Pour your coffee into a blender. Add 1 scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream (or two… I won’t tell).

Also add a small handful of ice cubes (I used 5 or 6 cubes).

Now for the good stuff…

Add in an ounce of Hot For Cookie Creamer Coldstone Creamery-inspired International Delight (or more or less depending on your taste… I found 1 oz to be just about perfect).

Now, blend the living daylights out of it until it’s creamy and perfectly smooth! It only took a few seconds. Pour it into a glass, top with Whipped Topping and a generous drizzle of chocolate syrup.

Perfection!

Now, you can definitely try this with any other International Delight creamer, but Hot For Cookie is PERFECT for giving that sweet, cookie-like flavor. Only this is way better, because it’s fresh, not from a bottle, and has that delicious whipped cream and chocolate. But it’s sort of reminiscent of the bottled beverage on performance-enhancing awesomeness.

Are you a coffee drinker? What’s your favorite way to serve coffee? Let me know in the comments below!

Oh, and while we’re talking Brew Over Ice, don’t forget to head over to my other post today and enter to win my Giveaway!

Chill Out! Brew Over Ice With Keurig (GIVEAWAY!)

I was on the phone the other day with a friend of mine, and suddenly, she asked “What on EARTH is that sound?” I realized that I had her on speaker, right next to my Keurig, and she heard me brewing. When I explained that it was my Keurig, she seemed really puzzled. “It’s hot out… how do you even drink that stuff in this heat?”

The question kind of… puzzled me. I mean, I use my Keurig year-round. Who wouldn’t? And then I realized, she is one of those crazy people living in the dark ages with no Keurig. Don’t worry, I was living in the dark ages, too, until last Christmas, when we finally broke down and invested in a Keurig as the Family Christmas Gift.

But that’s when I realized I needed to address a pretty common question when it came to Keurig brewers…. what do you drink when it’s hot? I mean, there are some people, myself included, who still enjoy a hot beverage even when it’s hot outside. But there’s also something magical about a Keurig brewer.

It’s called Brew Over Ice, and it’s pretty much the best thing ever. You take a specially marked Brew Over Ice K-Cup, a cup full of ice (preferably not a glass cup), and your Keurig, and then you just brew the K-Cup like normal… but…. over ice. 

That blue logo on K-Cups that says “Brew Over Ice?” That’s how you know it’s specially made to Brew. Over. Ice. Got it?

Anyway, it’s not just for coffee fanatics, either. There are like a gazillion Brew Over Ice varieties. Except not a gazillion, more like 18. We’re talking everything from coffee (of course), to Lemonade, to Snapple Tea! You can even get a little good ol’ half and half (Half Lemonade, Half Tea, that is!) if you’re down with the whole Arnold Palmer thing.

My personal favorite is the Vitamin Burst fruit brew. I pop in a Vitamin Burst K-Cup anytime I’m feeling a little under the weather (or anytime I want a delicious treat, but I digress), because it’s PACKED with Vitamin C! I also love the Snapple varieties, because they’re way easier to store than bottled Snapple, and they taste as awesome as the bottle.

I’m seriously obsessed with Brew Over Ice, honestly.

So, when Brew Over Ice told me they wanted to give one of my lucky readers a Brew Over Ice prize pack, I knew I had to jump at the chance to share Brew Over Ice with you guys!

The prize pack that I’m giving away to one of my awesome readers contains 3 Brew Over Ice K-Cup Samples (not necessarily the ones pictured here), a Brew Over Ice Tumbler (seriously, I can’t stop using mine), 4 Brew Over Ice coasters, and a LIGHT-UP Brew Over Ice Ice Bucket with Tongs. Because you never want to run out of ice, and how cool is it that it lights up blue?!

Before I tell you how to enter my giveaway, I have some other cool things that you should do.

First, you should head over to http://game.brewoverice.com to participate in the Brew Over Ice Sweepstakes. By playing every day, you could win instant prizes, or even be the $10,000 COLD hard cash winner! I don’t know about you, but I could definitely use $10,000.

After that, head on over to www.brewoverice.com/coolwaytobrew. Watch the Brew Over Ice Video, and you’ll get a $2.00 off Coupon for Brew Over Ice K-Cups.

From there, be sure to connect with Brew Over Ice on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with the latest happenings!

Now, how do you win the awesome, fabulous giveaway Brew Over Ice and I are offering up? It’s SO EASY!

First off, leave a comment below and tell me which Brew Over Ice variety you’d most like to try! You’ll be entered to win the awesome Brew Over Ice Prize Pack pictured above. Make sure you use a valid email address when filling out the comment section, because that’s how I’ll contact you (just enter it in the email field– it won’t be visible!)

But how about a second entry? I will be sharing the photo above on the Digital Era Mom facebook page later today, so keep an eye out for it. When you see it, make sure you LIKE Digital Era Mom and SHARE the photo, and you’ll have that second entry. Your friends can enter, too, by sharing the photo, but make sure they like Digital Era Mom on facebook to be entered to win!

You have until August 21 at 11:59pm CDT, so be sure to act quickly!

Want MORE Brew Over Ice goodness? Come back to the blog later today for a recipe that uses a Brew Over Ice K-Cup!

 

 

(Disclosure: I received a Brew Over Ice prize pack in exchange for my review; however, all opinions above are my own honest review. I will ALWAYS be honest with my opinion, and I will also ALWAYS let you know when I’ve exchanged product or compensation from a company when posting).

A Chance to Escape with Cafe Escapes–CLOSED

For those of you who follow me on Instagram (jengerbread88), you might have seen a few pictures from my weekend, including the fact that my mother and I hosted a Cafe Escapes House Party!

When we got a Keurig brewer as our family Christmas gift to each other, my mom was honestly a little hesitant. After all, neither she nor my brother were coffee drinkers. Would they truly use it as often? Would the brewer be difficult to use? Would it be a tough cleanup or big messy contraption?

But, after considering the reviews, we purchased it. We found out that there were many K-Cup options, including tea, hot cocoa, and apple cider, which meant that it was delightful even for the non-coffee drinkers of the family.

The best part is that the Keurig is SO easy to use! In fact, Zach is the one who gets most of our coffee for us (with supervision, of course– the Keurig water is HOT!) because all you do is put the cup in, press a button, and out comes the coffee!

This is why we were thrilled when my mom was accepted to host a party through House Party, featuring Cafe Escapes K-Cups, which I absolutely love.

When we first got the Keurig, we explored tons of different types of K-Cups (there’s over 80) but Cafe Escapes truly stuck with me… their six varieties were delicious and fun, especially the Cafe Caramel. And I loved that their coffees didn’t require cream or sugar at all– the delightful flavor and texture was all built in, smooth and perfectly sweetened. From Cafe Mocha to Hot Chocolate, and even Chai Tea, there are almost enough choices to have one each day of the week.

So, on the day of the party, we pulled out all the stops and invited some gal pals over for girl talk and hot beverages!

 

We made muffins, set out fruit, and some cookies. All of these pair very well with coffee, especially fresh fruit, because it complements the notes without being too overpowering.

The Cafe Escapes, of course, were the star of the show.

The coffee got the conversation flowing,

And after awhile, the laughs really got going!

We had a great group of ladies, and it was so much fun tasting the varieties of Cafe Escapes, perfect for any indulgence, anytime.

I find that Cafe Escapes are perfect for me, because I love to have a cup of something warm at night right before bed, in my favorite Mustache Mug. I always brew up some Cafe Escapes, in one of my favorite flavors, and sip it at night after Zach has fallen asleep, while reading a book.

Cafe Escapes are just right, with not too strong of a coffee flavor, with hints of sweetness and flavor that truly make them a delight to drink. They’re nice and smooth, just right. And, they provide me that little bit of escape at the end of each day.

 

Because of our very awesome House Party, we had a couple of goodies left over. And, I want to give YOU, one of my readers, a chance to indulge in a little escape of your own.

I’m giving away a fun Cafe Escapes prize pack, and it’s SO easy to enter. All you have to do is comment below and tell me which one of the Cafe Escapes flavors you would most want to try: Cafe Caramel, Cafe Vanilla, Cafe Mocha, Milk Chocolate Cocoa, Dark Chocolate Cocoa, or Chai Tea. I can personally attest that each and every one of the six flavors is fantastic.

Anyway, comment below for your chance to win! This prize pack is a lot of fun–the grand prize winner will get some adorable Cafe Escapes mugs, a few products to help you with your own little “me time” escape, and a few K-Cups, too.