Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Copycat Starbucks White Chocolate Mocha that Elf would Love by Cleo Coyle

New York City dazzles in December. The Big Apple is sparkling, magical...and a little coconuts.

The crowds, the lines, the traffic...all of it can feel overwhelming, but then so are the little moments of happy surprise, like a Buddhist monk I saw digging the holiday shopping at Macy's.
In the middle of a crazy, busy, cell-phone yapping public, here was this sweet man, sharing a moment of joy in a beaming smile, and that is what I hope each of you finds this season.

If you're having trouble finding it, I recommend a viewing of Will Ferrell's Elf. The film acknowledges our Age of Alienation but undercuts the snarky cynicism with humor, surprise, and a character so filled with innocent joy that it's impossible to dismiss him. (Okay, maybe some people dismiss him, but then some people are snark monsters, and I wouldn't let Elf get closer than hawking distance of them, anyway. :))

In the clip below,
Elf (Buddy) "Discovers" New York

...including the
"World's Best Cup of Coffee"


Which brings me to today's recipe. It may not be the world's best copycat Starbucks recipe, but it's pretty darn good; and, given Elf's love of drinking sweet things (especially syrup), I can't help but think he'd recommend this heavenly drink to the big man himself.

Cleo Coyle, who thinks
we should just say no to
"Bah! Humbug!", is author 
Cleo Coyle's
Copycat Starbucks
White Chocolate Mocha

This is one amazing cuppa joe. It tastes like a rich, warm, coffee-infused milkshake--perfect for a snowy winter night. 

If you're a reader of my Coffeehouse Mysteries, you might also recognize this drink as one of the many recipes that I included in my yuletide culinary mystery Holiday Grind. To learn more about this book, click here. To learn more about my entire series, click here.

Enjoy the season, everyone!
~ Cleo

To download a free PDF of this recipe that you can print, save or share, click the link below: 


½ cup milk
¼ cup white chocolate, chopped;
    or white chocolate chips
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
1–2 shots hot espresso or double-strength coffee
      (*see my note at the end of this recipe)
Whipped cream (optional)
White chocolate curls (**see my note below on how to make these) 


Step 1: Combine milk and white chocolate in a heatproof bowl and place over a saucepan about one-third full of boiling water. (The water level should be under the bowl and not touching it.) Stir constantly until chocolate is melted. 

Step 2: Whip in the vanilla using a whisk, hand blender, or electric mixer. Continue to whip about a minute until the warm mixture is loosely frothy. 

Step 3: Pour the espresso into a large mug. Add the steamed white chocolate milk and stir to blend the flavors. You can top with whipped cream and white chocolate shavings, but it’s just as delicious without.

**Cleo Note: To create chocolate curls, start with a block of room temperature chocolate. (If you want to grate chocolate, chill or freeze it; but if you want to create curls, room temp is the ticket.) Using a simple vegetable peeler, scrape the block and you'll see curls of chocolate peel away (truly a thing of beauty). 

*Cleo Note: For double-strength coffee, simply make a strong version of your regular cup. For instance, in a drip coffee maker, instead of using 1½ - 2 tablespoons of ground coffee for every six ounces of water, use 3 – 4 tablespoons and...

Drink with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle, author of

My December Newsletter will be going
out this week! 
To subscribe, 
e-mail to CoffeehouseMystery@gmail.com 
that says Sign me up. All subscribers are
entered automatically in my
weekly drawings 
for a free package of my monthly Coffee Picks.

To download more of my recipes 
or learn about my two national
bestselling mystery series, visit my
online coffeehouse at:


Congrats to my
Penzeys Spice winners!

Libby Dodd of


My Overnight Oatmeal Cookies
(no butter, no flour, but lots of tasty flavor)!
Click here to get the recipe.
Libby and Tamara left comments on my Overnight Oatmeal Cookie Brittle blog post and were chosen as winners by random number generator. Thanks to all of you who entered my contest and stay tuned for tasty new comment-to-win contests in the near future! ~ Cleo


  1. OMG, this looks SOOO good. I cant wait to try it.. later this morning IF I have white chocolate in the house.

    I love my coffee. I have a frother and use it all the time. I might try touse this to make it.

  2. I could use some copycat Starbucks today, for sure! This looks delicious, Cleo! Love the picture of the monk with the Macy's bag, too!

  3. Anything with whipped cream, Cleo. Yum!!! Love the share of a joyful smile, too. Sweet.


  4. WOW...I could use this super charged coffee treat and a super charged smiling monk right about now!!

    We don't see too many monks out here is the sticks but the occasional deer walking down the driveway does make me smile :-)

    The newsletter looks terrific...can't wait!!


  5. I always enjoy these copycat drinks. How nice to be able to enjoy them at home with friends!

    ~ Krista

  6. Thanks for the kind comments, everyone. I hope you're all enjoying the holiday season!

    ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  7. Shopping must be coming up in my future...out to get white chocolate! Thanks for sharing all your recipes :)

  8. This white chocolate mocha is amazing and really simple to make! Love it and thanks so much for the recipe.

    1. Aw, thank *you* for taking the time to stop by and let me know. Cheers! :)

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter