We each have that “place”. It’s where you go when you need to get out of the house for a few minutes. Where you go when you need a warm cup of something that makes you feel nice. It’s where you find little recharge, maybe get to see a few friends, and always feel welcome. Even on a good day, it’s made better with a few minutes spent in that “place”. Especially when the owner is anything like Ally of Neat Coffee. This is my place. Where I go to meet friends, to get a quality drink I cannot find anywhere else. It’s where I go to interact with the people who work there, Ally and Tyler, because no matter my day – I leave with a smile and a feeling of joy. That may sound cheesy, but it’s true and inescapable at this place.
Neat Coffee is where you can go to get your quality brew of Stumptown Coffee (and now Arcade too), a specialty latte of the season, such as her butternut latte last month (!), a seriously strong cold brew, and Fermensch kombucha on tap. There is always a container with an assortment of Raw Balls from The UnBakery, and sometimes a plate of baked goods from Cafe Gratitude. Ally loves supporting others, and that community-vibe is felt instantly when you step into this cafe she has cultivated. Everything in this place is picked with intention, from the Rawmond Milk she steams for her lattes to the flowers that decorate the space (hello Blooms By Brooke). Even her beautiful, local ceramics too. Her passion is felt in the details, and her joy is transferred to you with her smile the moment you walk through the door.
Needless to say, I was incredibly touched when Ally asked if I might team up with her for a week this December with a specialty latte I created to share. This is the first time I was able to create a recipe for others to experience in person, and it is giving me all sorts of feels right now. If you live in Orange County, or are passing through this week, you can stop in to Neat Coffee and order my ‘peanut butter cookie latte’. I developed this recipe using a wholesome caramel made of coconut cream and maple syrup, boiled down with creamy peanut butter and a touch of cinnamon. The result is as if you are eating an actual peanut butter cookie, which I found fitting for the holiday season. I’ve included the recipe below for those of you intrigued to try but too far away to visit! Thank you again Ally for having me, I’m so touched to celebrate this season with a ‘place’ (and people) I love so dearly.
Speaking of people I love dearly, hello! **wink wink** I spent some time responding to all of your smile-inducing comments from the past two posts, and wish I could give you all a box of cookies (and a latte). How is your holiday season so far? We have been thoroughly enjoying being back in southern California once again, where everything feels like home. The trees are now changing colors, so there are bright red and yellow covered trees next to palms and succulents. The air is cool but still slightly humid from the ocean. And the low-clouds make it feel cozy and like the holidays. However, on this Wednesday I will be flying back with Scott to Denver for the first time since we moved eight months ago (!). He has to work in office, and there is a holiday party I wouldn’t miss for the world. So I’m tagging along on this trip and am so thrilled to see all of our friends! I never thought I would be this excited to go back to a city I left so happily, but some of my dearest friends and people who I miss so much at times my heart aches are there – and people are everything. Have a joy-filled Monday folks, and make sure to stop by that ‘place’ for some good feels and sips. – xx
PEANUT BUTTER COOKIE LATTE
Makes one 16 ounce latte.
1 shot of espresso
a spoonful of peanut butter caramel (recipe below)
1.5 cups of plant milk, steamed
peanut butter caramel
1 cup coconut cream (2 cans full fat coconut milk, chilled overnight)
1 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup natural peanut butter, salted
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Make the caramel: turn the chilled cans of coconut milk upside down and open. Pour off the water that has separated, and scoop out the cream (1 cup’s worth). Place in a saucepan on the stove. Add the maple, peanut butter, and cinnamon.
Bring to a boil, while whisking to incorporate the melted cream with the rest of the ingredients until smooth. Reduce the heat to a low boil (still good action happening, but not boiling over). Set your timer for 15 minutes, giving it a firm whisk every 3 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove the sauce pan from the stove and pour the caramel into a heat-safe glass jar. Cover with a towel and let cool on the counter.
Seal tightly with a lid once cooled, and leave on the counter to use as a sauce in your hot beverages (or to top on ice cream sundaes). Store in the fridge to thicken, and the freezer for extra thick caramel (would be lovely for scooping and dipping into chocolate to make homemade candies).
Make the latte: add the hot espresso and spoonful of caramel (to the level of sweetness desired) to the bottom of a mug and stir well. Pour the steamed milk on top, and enjoy hot.
This post was created in partnership with Neat Coffee. All words and opinions are my own, and I sincerely love this cafe and it’s sweet owner, Ally. Thank you for allowing me to share this special experience with you.