Hello and welcome to my stop for the Heven and Hell Blog Tour! The tour is featuring the newest novel in the Heven and Hell series: Charade! Charade is currently traveling aroung the blogosphere with some really fun stuff! Look for special posts on: Dragons, witches and angels. There are interviews, short stories and recipes, and much more!
Today I’d like to introduce you to Cambria Hebert, author of Charade, who is joining us with a wonderful guest post. In addition, we’re also giving away a $10 Starbucks gift card and an e-book copy of Charade – how cool is that? So without further ado, please welcome Cambria Hebert!
A.k.a Cambria on Tea, Coffee, and Cinnamon Rolls
So glad to be here everyone! *Yawns* Oh my! Excuse the yawning… I am dragging today! Oh wait, I have just the thing for that. Coffee!!!
As many of you know (and if you don’t you will now!) I am a HUGE coffee lover. Starbucks is my homeland. Yes, I just said that, LOL. There is almost nothing better than walking into a Starbucks and getting a whiff of that intense coffee aroma. It’s rich, it’s bold and it’s relaxing. Yes, I know its caffeine but coffee never seems to hype me up, it relaxes me. But, it does help put a little re-start into my day, especially when I am dragging.
So when Vicky and I were deciding what today’s tour stop on the Heven and Hell Tour: Charade would be I got inspired by coffee and the name of this blog! No, it doesn’t say coffee. But it does say books and tea! Two of my other favorite things!
Books, particularly, the Heven and Hell Series (had to throw that in there), go so well with a mug of coffee or tea. Coffee and tea also goes very well with writing. I do admit that while I love coffee, I drink much more hot tea. But let me tell ya, if I had a barista in my kitchen I would drink coffee more. LOL. No matter how many gadgets I buy or times I try my coffee never tastes as good as a latte from Starbucks.
But hot tea… I can’t go wrong there. I like my tea in the plain variety. Lipton Black tea. I drink it black with just a little packet of sweetener. The sweetener I use is called Pure Via. It’s really yummy. I have tried many different kinds of tea. Cinnamon tea, lemon tea, peppermint tea, berry tea… so many teas, so little time. But I really only drink black. I hear about how good Green Tea is for you so I tried it one day. It tastes like grass. There is one green tea that I enjoy and it’s this one:
Bonus that it claims to help boost metabolism to burn fat. Note: It’s never made me loose a pound but a girl can hope, lol. But it does taste yummy and when I need a change I buy this. But I have to admit it’s pricey so I don’t buy it often. At walmart it’s just under $5 for a small box. You can get like three times the tea bags for Lipton for a lot less money.
Now… let’s get to the coffee!!!
The town I live in only has one lonely Starbucks. Well, okay, two. There is one inside the Barnes and Noble but only one Starbucks coffee house. It’s a twenty-five minute drive so I only get one when I am in town running errands or I meet a friend for morning coffee. There are a couple local places to get coffee here, but they are all about the same distance away and I think Starbucks is the best. Here are a few of my favorite drinks at Starbucks and what goes into making them.
Caramel Machiato – My all time favorite!!! Caramel is the best ever flavor for me. Here is the description for this delicious drink that I pulled off Starbuck’s website: We’ll tell you exactly what goes into it: creamy vanilla-flavored syrup, freshly steamed milk with a topping of velvety-rich foam, an intense hit of our Espresso Roast, a finishing of buttery caramel drizzle. It sounds like pure Heaven, doesn’t it?
Here’s another little FYI directly from Starbucks: Macchiato is an Italian word meaning “marked.” So a latte macchiato is steamed milk marked with a little espresso, while a caffè macchiato is espresso marked with a little milk.
Of course, when I order this drink I order it “skinny”. What does that mean? It means they make the drink using Non-fat milk and sugar free flavored syrups. The Caramel drizzle is still full of sugar but it really cuts out the fat and calories and I never get whipped cream.
Skinny Flavored Latte – This is my usual drink, I alternate between caramel flavoring or vanilla. I always order this or the skinny caramel macchiato. A fun fact from Starbucks: Nonfat milk is often referred to as skim milk. The term comes from the process of skimming butterfat from the milk.
Java Chip Frappuccino – Starbucks describes this drink as: Coffee with rich mocha-flavored sauce blended with milk, chocolaty chips and ice. Topped with sweetened whipped cream and chocolate-flavored drizzle.
I don’t ever order this but this is my husband’s go to drink. (You didn’t think that he wouldn’t get caught up in the coffee love affair that I have, do you?) He doesn’t like hot drinks (he’s crazy!) so he always orders Frapp’s. Even in the winter. On occasion he has been known to get a hot white mocha…. When my hubby gets this he always personalizes it by adding a shot of peppermint (meaning they add some peppermint flavored syrup to his drink). I’ve had sip or two. It’s tasty.
White Chocolate Mocha – Starbucks describes this coffee as: Espresso with white chocolate flavored sauce and steamed milk. Topped with sweetened whipped cream. When I go with someone who hasn’t been or doesn’t know the menu this is what I tell them to get – if they like sweet, rich stuff. This is a good, indulgent drink. If you like caramel get the macchiato.
So those are some of my favorite coffee drinks from Starbucks and some of my favorite teas to drink at home.
What goes perfectly with coffee?? Cinnamon Rolls. I brought along my favorite recipe for homemade cinnamon rolls. I make these for my husband and kids on special occasions. Everyone loves them and they are sooo Yummy! This is our traditional Christmas morning breakfast. The kids tear into their gifts while these “rise” then bake in the oven. Then we all enjoy them, dripping with sweet icing. I make them for other holidays as well, but I try not to make them too often because I like to fit in my pants. LOL.
The recipe is one I got from Food Network and its creator is Alton Brown. If you make this recipe be sure to email me and tell me how they turned out! Here’s a photo of what mine look like out of the oven (note- they only have icing on half because my grandmother likes hers without icing, lol):
Alton Brown’s Overnight Cinnamon Rolls
• 4 large egg yolks, room temperature
• 1 large whole egg, room temperature
• 2 ounces sugar, approximately 1/4 cup
• 3 ounces unsalted butter, melted, approximately 6 tablespoons
• 6 ounces buttermilk, room temperature
• 20 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 cups, plus additional for dusting
• 1 package instant dry yeast, approximately 2 1/4 teaspoons
• 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
• Vegetable oil or cooking spray
• 8 ounces light brown sugar, approximately 1 cup packed
• 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
• Pinch salt
• 3/4-ounce unsalted butter, melted, approximately 1 1/2 tablespoons
• 2 1/2 ounces cream cheese, softened, approximately 1/4 cup
• 3 tablespoons milk
• 5 1/2 ounces powdered sugar, approximately 1 1/2 cups
For the dough: in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg yolks, whole egg, sugar, butter, and buttermilk. Add approximately 2 cups of the flour along with the yeast and salt; whisk until moistened and combined. Remove the whisk attachment and replace with a dough hook. Add all but 3/4 cup of the remaining flour and knead on low speed for 5 minutes. Check the consistency of the dough, add more flour if necessary; the dough should feel soft and moist but not sticky. Knead on low speed 5 minutes more or until the dough clears the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface; knead by hand about 30 seconds. Lightly oil a large bowl. Transfer the dough to the bowl, lightly oil the top of the dough, cover and let double in volume, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Mix until well incorporated. Set aside until ready to use.
Butter a 9 by 13-inch glass baking dish. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently shape the dough into a rectangle with the long side nearest you. Roll into an 18 by 12-inch rectangle. Brush the dough with the 3/4-ounce of melted butter, leaving 1/2-inch border along the top edge. Sprinkle the filling mixture over the dough, leaving a 3/4-inch border along the top edge; gently press the filling into the dough. Beginning with the long edge nearest you, roll the dough into a tight cylinder. Firmly pinch the seam to seal and roll the cylinder seam side down. Very gently squeeze the cylinder to create even thickness. Using a serrated knife, slice the cylinder into 1 1/2-inch rolls; yielding 12 rolls. Arrange rolls cut side down in the baking dish; cover tightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator overnight or up to 16 hours.
Remove the rolls from the refrigerator and place in an oven that is turned off. Fill a shallow pan 2/3-full of boiling water and set on the rack below the rolls. Close the oven door and let the rolls rise until they look slightly puffy; approximately 30 minutes. Remove the rolls and the shallow pan of water from the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
When the oven is ready, place the rolls on the middle rack and bake until golden brown, or until the internal temperature reaches 190 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, approximately 30 minutes. While the rolls are cooling slightly, make the icing by whisking the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer until creamy. Add the milk and whisk until combined. Sift in the powdered sugar, and whisk until smooth. Spread over the rolls and serve immediately.
Thank you so much for being here and talking about one of my favorite things!! Be sure to tell us your favorite coffee or tea in the comments! And don’t forget to enter to win a Starbucks gift card and an e-copy of Charade – the perfect making of a wonderful afternoon!
Have a great day!
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Cambria is giving away a $10 Starbucks gift card and an e-book copy of Charade. For your chance to win these goodies, just leave a comment above, saying what your favourite tea or coffee is. The giveaway is open internationally and it ends on June 17, 2012. The two winners will be contacted by email. Good luck!
Update: the two winners are Stephanie and Tabitha. I’ll email both of you shortly. Congratulations!