Healthier Homemade Peppermint Mocha

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I am addicted to Starbucks Peppermint Mocha. But it’s expensive at $4.35 a cup.  And even ordering it lo-co style – skim milk and no whipped cream – it still packs 290 calories and an astonishing 52g of sugar.

While that’s sad, it could be far worse.  Order the full-fat with whipped cream version and you’ll be drinking a scary 440 calories with 55mg of cholesterol and 54g of sugar.

Thank goodness I prefer skim milk – and my barista is kind enough to respond to my ‘skim milk’ request with, “so you want no whipped cream, right?”  To which I can nod – which is far easier than speaking that particular request out loud.

Oh, who am I kidding – I order this so often they don’t even ask – they make it as I get to the register.

But I digress.  So I’ll move on to something really handy. To calculate the impact of that whole milk or whipped cream, check out the Starbucks site. There, you can figure out the calorie, fat and cholesterol in your particular Starbucks vice. Go there only when feeling brave.

There is some good news, though, for all you peppermint mocha fans.  Ordering it with skim milk and no whipped cream, this drink is under 5mg of cholesterol – so at least it’s a decent lo-co treat.

Though all that sugar is distressing…and probably is raising my triglycerides.  Starbucks does offer a ‘skinny’ version – made with sugar substitute. Unfortunately, I despise sugar substitutes.

Thus began my quest to create an at-home recipe to deliver that delicious chocolate-mint coffee punch with less sugar. Plus, finding a way to make this at home preserves my right to this wintry treat once my beloved skim-milk, no whipped decaf peppermint mocha goes off-menu. (Why Starbucks deems this a ‘holiday’ drink is beyond me – it would be delicious all winter.) Oh, and making it at home saves money, too.

So I began experimenting. I tried mint tea (awful) and mint cocoa (flavor was too thin.) Then I found some Andes Thin Mints and that was good, but didn’t dissolve well.

A few more tinkers and I had it – a homemade Peppermint Mocha you can whip up in seconds, that costs mere pennies, and has FAR less sugar – and even fewer calories – than the Starbucks version.

Indeed, mine is so good my son keeps asking why I’ve not blogged about it yet…right after he asks me to make him one.

I make mine in my Keurig one-cup machine (which happily will not raise your cholesterol, as I wrote about in this blog post).  If you don’t have a Keurig, I’m sure it’d work to simply stir these ingredients into a cup of hot coffee.

Karen’s Keurig Lo-Co Peppermint Mocha

  1.  In a large mug, fill bottom with Andes Creme De Menthe Baking Chips. (You can use Andes thin mints but they don’t melt into the coffee as well). I use about 2 TB. The mints you can buy most anywhere, but the chips I found only at WalMart, my local food store did not stock them. So of course, I bought 5 bags on my last foray to WalMart. You can also find the Andes Baking Chips online.
  2. Add 1 heaping TB of Ovaltine Chocolate Malt. You could probably use hot chocolate mix, but I like that Ovaltine has a malt taste (if you don’t, they have other flavors) and also lists lots of vitamins on its nutritional label.  Am sure those vitamins are immaterial, but…hey, added vitamins is a bonus in my book.
  3. Make a cup of decaf or regular coffee right into the mug and STIR.  Stir a lot to make sure all those lovely chocolate mint bits & Ovaltine are fully dissolved.
  4. Add Silk Soy Creamer – as much as you like to get the coffee the color/lighness you like.  I add A LOT – like 4TB – as I like my coffee light. If you are making this for folks who don’t need lo-co, feel free to use half-half instead – that’s how I make it for my son. And if you haven’t discovered Silk Creamer – check out this post for a great way to reduce cholesterol without sacrificing flavor in your morning cup of joe.

The result? Delicious AND decidedly less sugar!

Using the nutritional values listed on all the ingredients, I calculate my version delivers fewer calories (mine’s about 220 vs Starbucks at 290), which is great. BUT the key – the real winner – is that my version only has bout 20g of sugar, instead of 52!

Less than HALF the sugar, about $0.50 per cup – and I can make one of these treats anytime I want?

I’d call that a minty, delicious lo-co success.


5 thoughts on “Healthier Homemade Peppermint Mocha

  1. Karen,

    This sounds delicious! I’m going to try making this for myself…I mean my son! I love the idea of transforming something out there that is really sugary/fatty…and really expensive!

    I will tell you this one bad thing about skim milk/Soymilk versus 2 % or whole milk, however. When you drink skim milk or Soymilk, your body treats it as a fast-acting sugar. It’s like drinking juice or lemonade basically. So what? Well, that means that your pancreas sends out a bunch of insulin to counter that sudden sugar spike. Unfortunately, without the fat, the sugar does spike and then it plummets (in non-diabetics). So unless you combine skim milk/soymilk with a high protein/some fat snack (cheese and crackers, for example) you’re going to feel very hungry after drinking it.

    On the other hand, perhaps the fat in the chocolate you add to your soymilk will counteract the defatted milk sugar.

    Just a thought…

    I agree with you about sugar substitutes, by the way. Much better, imho, to have a little of the real thing.

  2. Just made this to get my holiday drink fix here in Germany. I chopped up Andes candies that my mom sent, added “trinkschokolade”, and then coffee (plus a bit of sugar and milk). Yum! Thanks for sharing!

  3. So glad you like it! And it turns out that Starbucks will SELL you their peppermint syrup (!) so if you can’t get enough Andes mints, you can always ask to buy a bottle at Starbucks!

  4. This recipe is amazing. I skipped the Silk soy creamer and added probably a Tablespoon of vanilla Coffeemate because my cup was full. There is no compromise in the flavor at all. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Thanks for your comment – so glad this worked for you and the Vanilla Coffeemate idea is great! – Karen

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