In The Kitchen With…Coffee Creamers

Coffee. I love coffee. We all know that. I also like my coffee sweet. I’ve tried it black, straight, strong, weak, medium, fresh ground, pre-ground, cheap, and not so much… No matter what the brand, the price… I don’t like straight black coffee.

When I started drinking coffee, I started out on the sweet kind and well, you know how it goes.

My preferred coffee of choice now is cold-brewed iced coffee, but I drink my fair share of hot coffee. I drink flavored lattes only on rare occasions now, because frankly they’re too sweet and too heavy. I like a good mocha and my favorite is from Caribou Coffee. They have a dark chocolate campfire mocha that’s amazing. It’s the only mocha I like really and I only have one of those every now and then. They are rich and sweet and so yummy that I can’t have them very often.

I have found in my drinking of and experimenting with coffee that different sweeteners work better in hot coffee than in iced coffee. Some don’t really work in either one because, if you like your coffee sweet, you’d have to use so much more than the suggested serving size of 1-2 tablespoons.

When I would get iced coffee from the coffee shops, I’d get a shot of vanilla or caramel syrup followed by milk. Sometimes soy, sometimes almond, sometimes regular. When I started moving away from refined sugars, I stopped buying iced coffees already prepped behind the counter. I’d instead use sugar in the raw and half and half. That one works in hot coffee too and isn’t too bad. It wasn’t enough though, I still needed to play and try things out.

My favorite store bought creamer was Bailey’s. Their caramel was my favorite, their French vanilla, a close second. And unlike most of the other coffee creamers on the market, there was no partially hydrogenated oil in it. And at the time, I wasn’t concerned with the fact there was sugar AND corn syrup AND artificial flavors. Eventually, I did become interested and stopped using them. That was a very sad day. I tried Coffee Mate’s new Bliss creamers and they were very good, only sugar, cream, and milk. Still though, one needed to use more than the recommended serving size if one was going to be able to taste it. For a small cup of coffee, 6oz, 2 tablespoons was good for me. In a large cup, 10oz or more and we’re talking 4 maybe 5 tablespoons depending on the strength of the coffee.

All this aside, I do understand why there are serving sizes and my coffee seems to be the one area I have the biggest portion dilemma in.

For the time being, I am using So Delicious French Vanilla Coconut creamer. It is great in hot coffee. It is awful in iced coffee.

I’ve tried Silk French Vanilla Soy Creamer and I don’t like it in either hot or iced. Almond milk and regular soy milk? Same thing. Rice milk? Ick!

The flavored coffee creamers in the stores are delicious. But I don’t know how much sugar is in them, what kind of cream, or milk. I don’t want artificial flavors, oil, water, corn syrup. So Delicious has organic coconut milk, and does have sugar in the form of dried cane syrup. I don’t use a lot of it at one time. It doesn’t have an over the top coconut taste either and that’s great considering I don’t really like the taste of coconut.

One of the things I love for iced coffee now now is homemade coffee creamer. I’ve used three different recipes… And the one with Sweetened Condensed Milk (Organic), Milk (Organic), and homemade vanilla extract is my favorite for iced coffee. I’ve used Eagle Brand Fat Free Sweetened Condensed Milk too and nothing in the flavor is compromised. It’s a very thick creamer and I measure it out to my tastes.

For this kind:

1 1/2 cups milk (2% for me)

14oz can sweetened condensed milk

1 T pure vanilla extract

Put in a glass bottle or jar and shake vigorously. Keep refrigerated and shake before use.

I’ve made it with evaporated milk as well and didn’t care for it as much, but it’s still good and I may try it again…

12 oz can evaporated milk

14 oz can sweetened condensed milk

1 T pure vanilla extract

Put in a glass bottle or jar and shake vigorously. Refrigerate. Shake before use.

The other that I’ve tried is from one of my favorite food blogs… Deliciously Organic. She has a ton of flavors and even an organic dairy-free, sugar-free recipe. This is the recipe, I’ve used before and it’s excellent.

French Vanilla

1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons maple syrup
1 vanilla bean

Whisk together milk, cream and maple syrup in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cut vanilla bean in half, and scrape out seeds. Add seeds and vanilla bean to milk mixture. Turn off heat, cover the pot and steep for 30 minutes. After mixture has steeped, strain through a fine mesh sieve, pour into a glass bottle and store in the refrigerator. (If you don’t have a vanilla bean on hand, simply replace it with 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract)

This a thin creamer but it’s delicious.

And here’s the sugar-free/dairy-free recipe from Deliciously Organic… (she even has an Almond Joy flavor)

French Vanilla Coffee Creamer

For the creamer:
1 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons date paste (see recipe below)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Directions:
Whisk all ingredients in a bowl. Strain through a fine mesh sieve. Will store in a glass jar in the refrigerator for one week.

Here’s the recipe she uses for the date paste:

Date Paste

For the syrup:
1 cup medjool dates, pitted
1 cup hot water

Directions:
Place dates in a blender or food processor. Turn blender or processor on and slowly add in hot water. Leave the machine on for about 1 minute, until smooth. Pour into a glass jar and store in the refrigerator.

I haven’t tried the sugar-free/dairy-free recipe yet, but one of these days, I will. I’m always up for trying new things.

If you’re so inclined, give some of the homemade creamers a try…I haven’t yet tried to make homemade sweetened condensed milk. It’s on my list though. I do make my own homemade vanilla extract.

What do you use for creaming and sweetening your coffee? I want all the details…grins.

~lissa

In The Kitchen With…Lissa

I cook all the time. I love cooking and baking and trying new things in the kitchen. New products, new foods, new appliances. I love trying to substitute ingredients in recipes that might be more flavorful or healthier than what was originally called for.

And I only hate going grocery shopping if I don’t have the money to splurge on anything different or new. Because it’s such a big passion of mine, being in the kitchen, I always try to shift funds around to make sure I can get a few things I am curious about trying.

I’m the one who views food and recipes and cookbooks and appliances and food stores the way some women view shoes, clothes, and jewelry…

Do you try new things? New ingredients? Switch out favorites?

A few of my newest finds that I’d read about or wanted to try on my own lately, or that I have tried and found I wanted more of, have been:

Larry’s Beans… whole bean coffee in awesome varietal names such as Cowboy, Bad Kitty, Mightier Mocha Java

So Delicious French Vanilla Coconut Coffee Creamer... now, because of my coffee love, I try different creamers all the time. I have made my own, I have used half and half plus sugar/flavored syrups (until I stopped using the syrups unless I can make my own), Organic Valley French Vanilla Half and Half (my fave, honestly, but high in carbs and sugars and calories), Coffee-Mate Natural Bliss, Bailey’s non-alcoholic, Silk, etc… I decided to try this product when I saw it in Earth Fare the other day. I’m not a fan of coconut unless it’s straight out of the shell, but there are a few products with coconut or made with coconut that I do love (coconut oil, homemade granola). The coconut creamer is good. Very good. I’ll be using it more often. It’s light on coconut flavor, but creamy and full of vanilla flavor.

Trader Joe’s Fire Roasted Peppers and Onions… frozen peppers and onions, but I use these in all recipes calling for fresh onions and peppers. They give an excellent flavor to everything.

Trader Joe’s Sprouted 7-Grain Bread… I don’t like sprouted grains very much. I’m not big on nutty texture in food and I’ve tried sprouted grain breads before like Ezekiel brand, but couldn’t get beyond the price and texture. But the Trader Joe’s brand…delicious and the texture is just right for me.

Sucanat… I use this in place of white and brown sugars. It’s a deeper flavor and I love it.

Coconut Palm Sugar… It smells like graham crackers, but has a different taste. It can be used in place of other sugars as well and it’s low on the Glycemic Index.

Whole Wheat Pastry Flour… I use this in muffin recipes, have used it in chocolate chip cookie recipes, waffles, pancakes, etc… It’s wonderful in place of all-purpose white flour. Harder to find (I buy mine from Earth Fare in the bulk bins), costs more, but it’s worth it to me.

Quinoa… I’m still getting used to this super grain that is high in essential amino acids. It’s got an odd taste, I can’t quite describe it. An odd texture, not unlike couscous. I don’t like couscous, but I’m able to eat the quinoa, especially mixed with other foods like chicken, vegetables…

I am always up for trying new things, eating different foods, researching foods that may be more flavorful, healthful, etc… Do you try new foods and ingredients? If so, what have you found lately that you have grown to love?

~lissa