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THE MEAL PLAN

INGREDIENTS: • Five (5) fresh

• ¼ cup sugar

whipping cream

chestnuts(or pre-

• ½ cup pecans

• 2 shots espresso (or

1.

cooked ones)

• ¼ brown sugar

extra-strong coffee)

If using raw chest-

• ¼ cup heavy

• Milk (recipe follows)*

nuts, heat oven to 350° F and roast for 35 minutes. 2. Meanwhile, in a saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar with ¼ water and stir until dissolved. Remove

* STEAMING

from heat and stir in

MILK WITHOUT A

pecans. Transfer with

STEAMER 1. Pour milk into a jar

a slotted spoon to a baking tray lined with

with a lid, no more

parchment paper.

than halfway. Screw

Roast with chestnuts

the lid on and shake

for 10-12 minutes.

vigorously for 60 seconds, or until the

3.

milk is frothy and has

Add a sprinkling

doubled in volume.

of brown sugar to

2. Remove the lid

cooled pecans and

You Deserve a Chestnut Praline Latte

and microwave for 30

combine in a food

Because nothing says “holiday season” like obnoxiously spiced milk drinks, here’s a recommendation and recipe for one that’s ac tually wor th burning your tongue.

warm milk into your

seconds.

processor until

3. Using a spoon,

roughly chopped.

obstruct the foam

This is your praline

while you pour the

topping.

desired amount of drink. Spoon milk foam onto the top.

BY TERRY NGUYEN, USC

4. When chestnuts have finished, crack and chop them, then place into a food processor. Over me-

t’s hard to feel the spirit of the season (aside from those dangling fairy lights in every girl’s dorm) when all you want for Christmas is a 4.0 GPA, which may explain why, comes finals season, so many of your friends have crammed themselves into a Starbucks to study. The draw of cheaply brewed energy helps explain the coffee corp’s appeal, but there’s more to it than caffeine. Whether it’s the inviting scent of peppermint or the distracting hiss of milk steaming, something about Starbucks makes the torture of all-nighters a little more bearable, the crippling fatalism a little farther out of reach. Maybe you associate the chain with home, or maybe it’s their contrived recreation of a homey environment, but whatever it is,

I

24

// DECEMBER 2016

you’ll likely find yourself lured by the green siren song into a Starbucks at least once this finals season. So, while you’re there, camped out near a power outlet and entering Platinum status on Quizlet, do yourself favor: Indulge in a little self-care with a Starbuck’s Chestnut Praline Latte. The CPL may not be the most popular seasonal drink, but it is perfect for conjuring up the perfect pitch of holiday nostalgia. The whiff of roasted chestnuts will transport you to a toasty fireplace, devoid of any imminent student responsibilities, while the bitter shots of espresso, strong enough to snap even a post-library slump, will whet your appetite for all the sleeping you’ll be able to do when finals have finished. Remember, the golden rule is death before decaf — no matter what time of day it is. You

might be rapidly approaching your quarter-life crisis, but only at a midlife crisis is anything close to depresso allowed. As your drink will likely be brewed by baristas who are nothing more than your classmates working a part-time job, prepare yourself to savor the caramel aftertaste of a burnt tongue. Cauterizing your taste buds will help mask the bitterness and bile of your exams, so drink deep. But, if Starbucks’ godless red cups offend you, or the cross-campus trek proves too daunting, making your own Chestnut Praline Latte is not out of the question. No promises that it holds up to Starbucks’ gold star standards, but saving a couple of bucks does seem equally appetizing. Here is a quick recipe for homemade CPL that requires only basic kitchen utilities.

dium heat, combine ¼ cup brown sugar with ¼ cup water until dissolved, then pour over chestnuts. Blend until syrupy, then strain. This is your chestnut syrup. 5. Prepare espresso or strong coffee. Pour desired amount of syrup into the bottom of a mug, and then pour espresso over. 6. Add warmed milk and top with milk foam.

Photography via Ian Friedel

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