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When I was a kid accompanying my mom on her morning coffee run, there was nothing I loved more than seeing a cafe well stocked with Torani syrups. My drink of choice at the time was the Italian soda and I loved having different flavors to choose from: raspberry, blackberry, blueberry—the world was my fruit-flavored oyster.
Although my coffeehouse order may have grown up from Italian soda to vanilla latte, I’m still loyal to Torani, and I love that it’s run by the third generation of the family that started it all 90 years ago. That’s why I was thrilled to incorporate their delicious caramel sauce into my first holiday-themed recipe of the season. This deliciously over-the-top milkshake features all the spicy, nostalgic flavors of gingerbread, laced with caramel and topped with the cutest little mini gingerbread house you ever did see.
The premium caramel sauce really adds depth of flavor to this milkshake recipe, but I can’t wait to try it out in other treats like my morning latte or a dessert-style Dutch baby for breakfast. I picked up this flavor, as well as the white chocolate (hello, white chocolate peppermint mochas) at Walmart in the coffee aisle and I can’t wait to go back to grab the dark chocolate sauce as well. I also love that the sauces are made with simple ingredients like pure cane sugar and natural flavors.
Now though the end of the year, if you visit Walmart and purchase two bottles of Torani sauce, you can get one for free. Just pop by your local Walmart, then snap a photo of your receipt and enter the rebate experience to upload your photo. Once your receipt is verified, you’ll get your money back for the second bottle. The sauces are super easy to find at Walmart—just take a trip down the coffee aisle and they’ll be right there waiting for you.
Mini Gingerbread Houses
adapted from Martha Stewart
• 3 cups flour
• 1/2 tsp baking soda
• 1/4 tsp baking powder
• 1 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
• 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
• 2 tsp ground ginger
• 2 tsp cinnamon
• 1 tsp allspice
• 3/4 tsp ground cloves
• 3/4 tsp salt
• 1 egg
• 1/2 cup molasses
• 2 eggs
• 1 1/3 cup powdered sugar
1. Stir together flour, baking soda and baking powder in a bowl and set to the side.
2. Add butter and brown sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on medium until light-colored fluffy. Add spices and salt and mix to combine.
3. Reduce speed to low, then add eggs and molasses. Once those ingredients are combined, slowly add the flower mixture. Beat until just combined.
4. Divide the dough into two even sections, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour. Keeping the dough nice and chilled ensures it won’t puff up to much when baked.
5. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
6. Roll out half of dough to 1/8″ thickness, making sure to keep the work surface lightly floured.
7. Cut out the four walls and two roof pieces of your miniature houses using a simple paper temple. The dimensions I used were 1 1/2″ x 2″ for the side walls, 1 1/2″ x 1″ for the front and back walls and 1 1/4″ x 2″ for the roof, with a little 1/2″ notch cut out for the chimney.
8. Place the pieces of gingerbread on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 9 minutes, turning the baking sheet after the first 5 minutes.
9. Let the gingerbread cool on the baking sheet for about a minute, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
10. To make the royal icing, beat two eggs until frothy, then add the powdered sugar. Beat for six or seven minutes until the icing is super shiny and can hold a soft peak. Transfer to an icing bag with a very fine tip.
11. Decorate the roof of your house as you like (I added a bit of sanding sugar to my scalloped design), then use the royal icing to assemble the house. Let dry completely.
makes 2 servings
• vanilla ice cream
• 1 cup whole milk
• 1 1/2 oz Torani Caramel sauce
• 1/4 tsp ground ginger
• 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
• 1 Tbsp candied ginger (I use this recipe)
• chocolate sprinkles
• fresh gingerbead
• whipped cream
1. Add four large scoops of ice cream and milk to a blender along with the Torani caramel sauce, spices and candied ginger. Crumble up a couple of your gingerbread cookies into the blender, and blend until well combined.
2. Do a quick taste test to make sure the spices and consistency are right. If it’s too thick, add a bit more milk; if it’s too thin, add a bit more ice cream.
3. Drizzle the inside of your cup with some more of the Torani caramel syrup and rim the edges with chocolate sprinkles, then fill with milkshake.
4. Top the whole thing with a dollop of freshly whipped cream, another drizzle of caramel syrup, and a mini gingerbread house with a straw threaded through the chimney hole.
Man, these milkshakes were good. Like, drink-the-leftovers-straight-from-the-blender good. I can’t wait to try this recipe with some dark chocolate syrup next time (in addition to the caramel—more is more, right?).
I also love the idea of serving this as a festive party dessert this winter season. You can make the gingerbread toppers ahead of time and even monogram them with your guests’ initials to use as place cards. Then, whip up a big batch of milkshakes after dinner and let everyone thread their personalized gingerbread houses through the straws in their milkshakes.
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