Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Caramel Cream

It’s been a long time since we’ve done any beverages, so I thought it was about time to pull out another one.  Neither Robbie nor I are coffee drinkers.  Yes, we both made it through four years of college without coffee, as did Kimiko and her husband.  Nevertheless, we still really appreciate all those Starbucks cards Robbie gets from his students every Christmas.  Thanks to all of you who contributed to our Starbucks dates for the year!  We really like the cream-based drinks.  In the winter, I go for a vanilla crème with a shot of caramel and he orders a vanilla crème with whatever seasonal syrup they have at the time—pumpkin spice and gingerbread are two of his favorites.

Unfortunately, the gift cards always run out before the next Christmas.  But that’s okay, because I can mimic the pricey coffee shop drinks at home for a fraction of the price (not to mention a fraction of the calories)!

You could use regular milk, but since we consider these special drinks that we only have occasionally, I splurge and buy vanilla almond milk.  I discovered almond milk a few years ago when we had the boys on dairy-free diets.  It is sooooo good!!  Unfortunately, even on sale and with a coupon, it is still more expensive than cow milk.  On a rare occasion I can get a half-gallon for $2-3, but that probably only happens once a year.  I presume you can get a pretty good deal if you live in an area that doubles coupons.  Even if you have to pay full price, about $4 for a half-gallon, you’re still saving a TON of money over buying a single drink at Starbucks.  One half-gallon carton will yield more than 10 6-oz. drinks—more than 5 talls (12-oz.), 4 grandes (16-oz.), or more than 3 ventis (20 oz.).

I heat the almond milk in the microwave.  If you’re having a party and preparing drinks for a crowd, feel free to heat it on the stove.

I also only used 6 ounces of milk in my recipe because that’s what my Irish coffee mugs hold.  Making small cups also helps you control your calorie intake.  If you want to make a larger mug, simply double the recipe.

The Torani syrup can be pricey if you don’t know where to shop.  WinCo carries the large bottles for about $6, I believe.  But I discovered that our Cash & Carry sells them for under $5!!  (Find a list of the flavors they stock here.)  And they have a much larger selection.  If you don’t have a Cash & Carry, try Smart&Final, Beverages & More, or any restaurant supply store.  If you know where you can get a good deal on the syrups in your area, please let us know in the comments!

I only have caramel syrup in my pantry right now.  You can certainly substitute any flavor for a different drink.  And don’t be afraid to change the ratios—more syrup for a stronger flavor, less syrup for a milder flavor.

As for the caramel sauce, I just use the cheapest ice cream topping I can find. 

Only 3 ingredients!
Caramel Cream
6 oz. almond milk, heated
½ oz. (1 Tbsp.) caramel (or other flavor) syrup
Caramel sauce for drizzling (optional)

Heat almond milk in microwave, about 1 minute, 30 seconds (time will vary depending on microwave).  Meanwhile, drizzle sides of mug with caramel sauce.  Stir caramel syrup into hot milk; pour into prepared mug.

Love my shot glass for this!!

So yummy!!

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