That’s Mancktastic: Cappuccino Edition

That’s Mancktastic: Cappuccino Edition

About a month ago, Bill randomly got a wild hair to go out for cappuccinos one night just before we went to bed. (Honestly, I think it was an excuse to drive around in his “new” car)

I decided to go with him for a mini-date night and was blown away by how much I loved the foamy, rich coffee!

Sidenote: I gave up caffeine this year, completely unintentionally. I went a few days in the New Year without it, and decided to just roll with it. My caffeine-addict of a husband finds this beyond the pale.

As the weeks went by, I customized my Starbucks order to just how I liked it: grande, decaf cappuccino with sugar-free vanilla syrup. Then… my (cappuccino) life changed forever when we went up to Albany for vacation and visited our favorite coffeeshop: Perfect Blend. -cue the angels singing for THE BEST COFFEESHOP OF ALL TIME-

There, the espresso was delicious, lacking the burned quality of most Starbucks roasts, and they were GENEROUS with the foam. Over our two week stay, I watched the baristas like hawks to deduce all their secrets.

Since we’ve returned to Houston, I am getting close to mastering the perfect homemade cappuccino – which is good for my wallet – and here’s a That’s Mancktastic! of my favorite tools 🙂

Espresso Machine: IMUSA 4-Cup Espresso Machine

We bought this espresso machine a few months ago to try and wean Bill off his Starbucks addiction since we needed to buy a new car and he had one priiiiicy habit… It’s super-easy to use, cleans up easily and, most importantly, is cheap!! I mean, $30 for an espresso machine? That’ll do. It’s a no-frills work-horse that doesn’t take up a lot of counter space and it’s just what we needed.

Milk Foamer: Kuissential Deluxe Automatic Milk Frother

One of my main loves of cappuccino is the FOAM! After our New York trip, and the deepening of my cappuccino obsession, a ManckWhite household decision was made that we must needs get a milk frother of some sort because I am incapable of steaming milk.

After watching this very informative video about which milk frother is right for you, we settled on the Kuissential because we wanted the heating and the frothing to happen all together instead of several steps. In addition to the hot foam for cappuccinos, it also makes warm, non-frothed milk and cold milk froth for iced drinks in COMPLETE SILENCE.

We’ve had this frother for a week now, and it’s just great. Works really quickly, easy to clean, and make yummy, yummy foam. I use the foam on every coffee now, not just cappuccinos 😉

Espresso: Lavazza Decaffeinated Ground Espresso

Before I was spoiled on the Perfect Blend home-roasted espresso, we’d been contenting ourselves on Starbucks brews and the in-house beans from HEB. Since we’re back, we’ve upgraded to the Lavazza which Bill said was his go-to before grad school made him poor 😉 Now that we’re DINKS (dual income, no kids), we’re back on the good stuff! Flavorful, no burnt essence, and beautifully ground.

Vanilla Syrup: Torani Vanilla Bean Syrup

This is the main takeaway from my Perfect Blend addiction – Vanilla Bean is the key! Something about the extra oomph of vanilla BEAN as opposed to straight vanilla brings the whole cappuccino together. The drink is traditionally unsweetened, but this makes it perfect for me.


So, there you have it. The perfect ManckWhite cappuccino tools are simply… Mancktastic!
Let me know what your home barista secrets are!

(note, these are affiliate Amazon links – thanks!)

Deeply Dark Delights: Chocolate-Espresso Sandwich Cookies

Deeply Dark Delights: Chocolate-Espresso Sandwich Cookies

Yesterday, I said that cinnamon-sugar was one of Bill & I’s love languages. Today, I’m here to share one of Bill’s love languages, in cookie form: Espresso and Chocolate! From mochas to chocolate-covered espresso beans, the man has a chocolate-coated caffeine addiction to be sure. He came by it honestly, though, since his parents have the same love, too.

Chocolate-Espresso Cookies from Mancktastic!

Since we were driving up to Albany, I decided to bring up some baked goods for my wonderful in-laws in the same vein as the love/addiction they share with their son: Chocolate-Espresso Sandwich Cookies! These fluffy dark chocolate cookies with espresso suggestions are wonderful on their own, but they really crank it up to 11 when sandwiched together with a chocolate whipped ganache.

Chocolate-Espresso Cookies from Mancktastic!

The whole effect is that of a grown up whoopie pie or simplified macaron that is a snap to whip up at home! By using both butter and shortening with exclusively brown sugar, you get a silky smooth, extravagant flavor from the get go that is deepened and enhanced with extra-dark cocoa powder and the special oomph of espresso powder that somehow makes chocolate taste even more chocolatey. Since the cookies are studded throughout with semi-sweet chocolate, you get 3 different levels of chocolate with each and every bite. The cookies are outstanding, but man I could just eat this whipped ganache up with a spoon (and I may have whilst assembling these dark delights)! It manages to be light and deep at the same time with a cool, rich taste that will leave you licking your fingers!

Chocolate-Espresso Cookies from Mancktastic!

Chocolate-Espresso Sandwich Cookies

  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup butter flavored shortening
  • 1½ cups brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ cup extra-dark cocoa powder
  • ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons espresso powder
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  1. Beat butter, shortening, and brown sugar for 2-3 minutes in the mixer. Add vanilla, salt, and eggs and beat for an additional minute. Add flour, cocoa, chocolate chips, baking powder, and espresso powder, then beat until well-combined
  2. Place dough in refrigerator for 1 hour while you prepare the filling.
  3. Heat heavy cream in a small saucepan over medium until little bubbles form. Whisk in chocolate chips until completely incorporated, then remove filling from heat and place in refrigerator for 1 hour.
  4. After dough has rested in the fridge for 1 hour, preheat oven to 375◦ F. Form dough into 1 Tablespoon balls and place on a baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 9-11 minutes, then allow them to cool slightly on baking sheet, then cool completely on wire rack.
  6. When cookies are cooled, beat the filling with a wire whisk attachment with your mixer until fluffy. Scoop into a ziptop bag, snip off the corner.
  7. Form sandwiches by piping filling onto one cookie, topping it with another cookie, and pressing lightly to adhere the cookies together.

Based on a recipe from Shugary Sweets

Chocolate-Espresso Cookies from Mancktastic!