This recipe will satisfy your candy cane craving, whether it’s during the most wonderful time of year or just an ordinary day that could use some festive flavor. We have two different methods for making a latte. One of them requires fancy equipment like an espresso machine, but the other allows you to make a latte using simple tools like a microwave and a milk frother. If you’re ready to experience a peppermint treat, grab some coffee beans and candy canes and head to the kitchen!
How to Make a Candy Cane Latte
1. Pour in the peppermint syrup.
A pump bottle is the easiest method of measuring syrup. Use three pumps of peppermint syrup or more if you like your coffee on the sweet side. If you don’t have a pump, add at least 1 Tablespoon of syrup to the bottom of the cup. Adding the syrup first allows it to blend with the coffee as it’s brewing, which caramelizes and mixes your drink with minimal effort.
2. Make the coffee.
The brewing method depends on your equipment, but the goal is to make two espresso shots. You can use instant espresso mix or pull two shots according to your machine as you normally would. If you’re using whole beans, grind them until they’re fine and smooth.
3. Heat the milk.
As your coffee brews, pour 6 ounces of milk into a microwave-safe cup. Heat the milk for approximately 45 seconds if warming in the microwave, or heat it up in the milk frother. Take care not to scorch the milk since it will give your latte an undesirable burnt flavor. If you want, you can use a food thermometer to measure it to the proper temperature for a latte (between 140° and 200°F, according to your preference). The trick is to heat the milk until the cup feels hot to the touch but doesn’t burn you immediately.
4. Froth the latte.
Once the milk reaches the desired temperature, pour it over the coffee and give it a good stir with the coffee stirrer or a spoon. Whip the top with the milk frother.
5. Make the topping.
To make the crushed candy cane topping, take the candy cane out of the wrapper and place it in a sealed sandwich bag. Pound it using your hand or a heavy object to break it into tiny, similarly-sized pieces. If you have a food processor that works, too, but we’ve discovered that the DIY route may help relieve holiday stress!
6. Finish with the whipped cream and crushed candy pieces.
To complete your holiday treat, top with a swirl of whipped cream and sprinkle on the crushed candy cane pieces. Enjoy!
The Candy Cane Latte Experience
Don’t be intimidated by the word “latte.” It’s a highly adaptable drink adored by coffee enthusiasts and seasonal drinkers alike. You can make it as fancy as you please or on a budget using instant powder.
The basic elements of a latte are one or two shots of espresso and frothed milk warmed to 140-200° degrees. That’s it.
You can use any dairy or non-dairy milk that you prefer. If you’re looking for a more indulgent experience, use whole milk or heavy whipping cream as a dairy choice or coconut for a dairy-free treat. If you’re looking for a drink on the lighter side, then opt for skim or almond for a low-fat option.
If you’re making your candy cane latte around November or December, peppermint syrup is easily found in grocery stores or places that sell specialty food items (think Homegoods or World Market). You also can buy them online year-round on Amazon.
Candy canes are also easily sourced around the holidays, even from the dollar store.
If you don’t prefer a latte experience, you can also make a peppermint coffee with these same ingredients. Simply brew a cup of coffee as you usually would and top with whipped cream and peppermint for a more average beverage that isn’t nearly so rich or sweet. You could also add a bit of heavy cream and 1 Tablespoon of peppermint syrup to your morning cup to make a homemade peppermint creamer that you can enjoy year-round.
This recipe is quick and easy enough to treat yourself on those stressful December mornings when you have to wake up earlier than usual to finish your to-do list. Alternatively, it’s decadent enough to be consumed as part of the celebration on Christmas morning to compliment brunch.
Simple Candy Cane Latte
- Coffee mug
- Espresso machine, unless you’re using espresso powder
- Coffee grinder if using espresso beans
- Measuring cup
- Microwave safe cup
- Microwave, steam wand, or milk frother with heating element
- Milk frother
- Coffee stirrer or spoon
- Sandwich bags or food processor for crushing candy canes
- Instant espresso powder or coffee beans for two shots 2 oz. espresso
- 6 oz. milk
- Peppermint syrup
- One candy cane
- Whipped cream optional
- Squirt 3 pumps, or approximately 1 tablespoon, of peppermint syrup into the bottom of your mug.
- Grind the espresso beans if you’re using whole beans.
- Make two shots of espresso using an espresso machine or follow the instructions on your package of instant powder.
- Heat the milk in the microwave for about 45 seconds or with a milk frother if it contains a heating element. You can use the food thermometer to make sure your milk is in the temperature range for a latte (140-200) if you prefer.
- Pour the heated milk over the coffee and syrup. Froth until slightly bubbly.
- Crush the candy cane in a food processor or by hand in a sandwich bag.
- Top your drink with a swirl of whipping cream and sprinkle the candy cane bits on top. Enjoy!
You can sip on this seasonal treat anytime with just a few tools and ingredients. Despite its fancy appearance, a candy cane latte is so simple to make and takes less than ten minutes to create a craft beverage that looks picture-perfect (and tastes delicious, too). This latte will give you another reason to gather around the fireplace with family and friends and enjoy the holiday together.
Featured Image Credit: Rimma Bondarenko, Shutterstock
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