Peanut Butter Cup Caramel Latte.

This warm mug of peanut butter, espresso and rich chocolate is just what you need to get your day started on a happy, cozy note. Or maybe you just a need an afternoon lift to perk up your mood. Skip the coffee shop and stay in with this homemade hot chocolate-meets-latte-meets-caramel-meets-creamy-peanut-butter sip. Call it a Peanut Butter Caramel Mocha or call it a Peanut Butter Cup Caramel Latte. Either way, this recipe is deliciously vegan and cravable on a chilly day.

And my homemade peanut butter caramel that is drizzled over top is ah-mazing. I used it to make some "leftover Halloween candy caramel apples" too - using leftover vegan peanut butter cups! recipes ahead...

My goodness. This week has just felt like such a roller coaster, yes?

Happy things. Sad things. Busy things. With a few calm moments thrown in thanks to the ZEN master of our household (the cat.)..

Up and Down. Halloween week (and into the start of November) usually brings much glee, excitement, silliness and fun. But with "Sandy" crushing so much of the east coast, my spirits have been quite dampened. I am feeling very lucky to not be in New York City right now, but hearing all the crazy stories from my friends and family makes my heart break. My sister has a giant tree down in her yard, some of my friends are still eating dinner by candlelight and scrounging to find some wifi via NYC's many crowded coffee shops (and bars!) - and then there are others who are without subway access, but still feeling lucky to have their lights on and stoves warm. To everyone out east, I am thinking of you all.

So with a heavy mind I am trying to figure out how to be happy about all the exciting things going on this week and into November. I am terribly excited about my contest announcement. Details here! And I am also quite excited because I am heading on an adventure this weekend and early into next week. I can't wait to return from my getaway and share photos and stories with you all. Lets just say there will be lots of ZEN-ing out, deep breathing, yoga, mindfulness, healthy food and relaxation involved. Exactly what we all need once in a while.

I also have a super fantastic giveaway + Pop-up Shop details coming up this weekend from Vaute Couture. So be sure to check back and get your entry in for an awesome vegan fashion prize.

But anyways....

THIS post is all about PEANUT BUTTER.

Because sometimes peanut butter saves the day. Or afternoon. Yesterday afternoon I was feeling the 4pm groggies and didn't really feel like prepping anything fancy to snack on. So I grabbed a shiny tablespoon from my drawer and stuck it into a fresh jar of organic creamy, velvet-y peanut butter. Snack: done. Lick, lick, lick. Peanuts are a good source of protein, healthy fats and other nutrients. It totally calmed my hunger, perked up my mood and made me feel satisfied. It also inspired me to experiment with this recipe for peanut butter caramel...

Before the caramel cools, and thickens it looks like this..

Then after cooling, THIS..

For my peanut butter version of caramel, I made a tiny tweak to my Vanilla Caramel (Apple) recipe. Homemade vegan caramel is so easy and adds such a fancy twist to coffee drinks, ice cream sundaes, brownies, pies, caramel apples and more.

I even made a few Peanut Butter Cup and Banana PB Caramel Apples..

..I dipped them in the peanut butter caramel, and some chopped up leftover vegan peanut butter cups and a few banana cubes and left them chill in the fridge. Delicious chopped up and served as a dessert treat.

Peanut Butter Caramel:
vegan, makes about 1/2 cup

3 Tbsp organic sugar
2 Tbsp coconut cream
2 Tbsp creamy peanut butter, salted

what is coconut cream? -> full fat coconut milk, chilled, then the firm white stuff that forms at the top of the can or bowl is the "coconut cream" - more info in my coconut whip post

Directions: Add sugar, peanut butter and coconut cream to a saute pan over high heat. Stir until melted together. Continue stirring as the mixture begins to bubble. Stir bubbling for about 45 seconds - 1 minute. Reduce heat to low. Stir for another minute. Turn heat off and pour mixture into a small dish. Continue stirring the caramel for about a minute just so it doesnt separate. Once it has cooled a bit, place the bowl in the fridge to chill until sticky (about 10-20 minutes should do it.)

Peanut Butter Cup Caramel Latte, aka a Peanut Butter Caramel Mocha
vegan, serves one

3/4 - 1 cup soy milk, vanilla
1-2 Tbsp vegan cocoa powder (100% cacao, unsweetened)
1-2 tsp agave syrup (or sweeten as you'd like)
1 shot espresso (optional. you could also use instant coffee)

soy or rice or coconut whipped cream (homemade coconut whip recipe)

-> heat milk, add ingredients above. stir, stir, stir.

-> Add a swirl of soy whip. Drizzle about 1 tsp peanut butter caramel over top. To get the caramel to a drizzle-able state, you may need to warm in microwave for 5-10 seconds.


* note: you may substitute soy with any non-dairy milk you'd like.

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