Fancy up your coffee

It can be a nice treat to pull into your favorite coffee shop and warm up with a flavored cup of joe. When you want to serve family or friends, however, that trip can become an expensive one. Instead, try making flavored coffee at home for you and yours.

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Gingerbread Coffee

1/2 cup molasses
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 cups hot brewed coffee
1 cup half-and-half cream
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1-1/2 cups sweetened whipped cream

In a small bowl, mix together the molasses, brown sugar, baking soda, ginger, and cinnamon until well blended. Cover and refrigerate for at least 10 minutes. Add about a 1/4 cup of coffee to each cup, and then stir in about a tablespoon of the spice mixture until dissolved. Fill cup to within an inch of the top with coffee. Stir in half and half to taste, and then garnish with whipped cream and a light dusting of cloves. Makes 6 servings.

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Mexican Coffee

6 cups water
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 3-inch cinnamon stick
1 whole clove
1/2 cup ground coffee beans
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup chocolate syrup
1 cup whipped cream

Bring the water, sugar, cinnamon, and clove to a boil in a large saucepan over high heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved; remove from the heat and stir in the coffee grounds. Cover and steep for 5 minutes. Stir in the vanilla and chocolate syrup, and then strain through several layers of cheesecloth to remove the coffee grounds and spices. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream. Makes 6 servings.

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Cinnamon Dolce Coffee/Latte Syrup

1 cup water
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Place a saucepan over medium-high heat; add water, brown sugar, and granulated sugar. Whisk until sugar dissolves, about 3 to 5 minutes. Whisk cinnamon into sugar mixture until incorporated. Continue whisking mixture until just before boiling and syrup-consistency, about 3 to 5 additional minutes. Remove saucepan from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Cool syrup completely, at least 1 hour. Pour syrup into a glass container and seal; store in refrigerator for up to 10 days. Makes 8 servings.

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Pantry Pointers

While your coffee brews, fill your mugs about one-third full with hot water to preheat your mugs.

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