I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m still getting over all the snow that was dumped on us a few days ago, so it’s only fitting that today’s weekly Friday drink is a warm and comforting one. In my humble opinion, there is no better hot drink than coffee, and no one does coffee better than (you guessed it) the Italians.
This is an alcoholic drink, but it’s also very good without the liquor as well, if you’re looking to have it before work in the morning! I’ll give fair warning, this one probably uses a lot of things you don’t already have, but I’ll make sure to link you to where to buy everything, and give potential substitutes, as well!
Start off by making your coffee. This recipe makes two cappuccinos, so you’ll need 2-3 shots worth of espresso (or 3/4 cup of very strong coffee). I like my coffee strong, so I always use 3 shots to split between two drinks.
I make my espresso using what’s called a Moka Express by Bialetti. I bought mine in Italy, but you can buy direct from their website or from Bed Bath and Beyond. Mine is the 3-cup style; just remember, “cups” means “servings,” not actual 8 oz. cups (a measurement that they do not use in Italy, since they have the metric system!) – instead, a “cup” is equal to one “shot” of espresso. It technically works with any kind of coffee, but I prefer Lavazza espresso ground coffee. (I get mine from Wegmans.)
You can read more about how they work on the Bialetti website, but the end result is that the coffee ends up in the top. Alternatively, if you have a Nespresso machine, you can make your espresso shots that way. If all you have is a regular old coffee maker, use 2-3 tablespoons of coffee for only 1 cup of water to make very strong “American” coffee. It won’t be espresso, but it will be strong enough coffee to handle everything else going into it.
At the same time that you start making your coffee, you’ll want to heat up 1 cup of milk. I do mine on the stove using a milk frother, since I’ll be foaming it later. Mine looks like this one (meant for the stovetop) but there are other options available at places like Bed Bath and Beyond where you would heat the milk elsewhere (such as in the microwave) and then transfer it to the frother. If you don’t have a frother and don’t want to buy one, just use regular old hot milk without foaming it. It just won’t be a cappuccino since the milk isn’t foamed, but it will be just as delicious 😉
In order to make this a truly Amaretto coffee, you have to use an Amaretto liqueur. A very good Italian amaretto is Disaronno. You’ll need 2 ounces of that, along with 1 ounce of Kahlua.
Put half of each liquor amount (1 ounce Disaronno, 1/2 ounce Kahlua) into the bottom of two coffee mugs. I like Irish coffee mugs for photos, but white cappuccino mugs are much more Italian. 😉
Once the coffee is done, split it evenly between the two glasses. This would also be the time to add any desired sweeteners. I like 1 tsp of sugar per cup and a 1/2 ounce of french vanilla flavoring syrup. (I use Torani.) To still get the hint of vanilla without using the syrup, just add a few drops of vanilla extract instead.
Once you’ve stirred in your sweeteners to the coffee, add in the milk, going back and forth between the cups to make sure each one gets equal foam.
It will be layered because of the different liquid consistencies, so make sure to stir before drinking, but it does look so pretty while it’s layered! Top it with whipped cream and cocoa powder, if desired, and serve!
If you’re on the fence about buying a Moka Express, I’m telling you, the $30 you’ll spend is an extremely worthwhile investment. I have a Keurig machine and I used to use it every day, and then I brought home my Moka from Italy. I hardly touch my Keurig now – the 5 extra minutes it takes to brew true Italian coffee every morning is so worth it for real coffee lovers! (You might never go to Starbucks again!)
Italian Amaretto Cappuccino
Yield: 2 cappuccinos
2-3 shots of brewed hot espresso
1 cup hot milk
2 ounces Disaronno
1 ounce Kahlua
2 tsp sugar
1 ounce Torani French Vanilla syrup (or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract)
Whipped cream & cocoa powder, for garnish
1) In two mugs, split the espresso, Disaronno, Kahlua, sugar, and vanilla flavoring evenly. Stir each well to combine.
2) Foam the hot milk in a milk frother, then pour it evenly between the two mugs, alternating back and forth to ensure equal amounts of foam.
3) Stir well, then garnish with whipped cream and cocoa powder and serve!