Monday, March 23, 2015

Pointless Experiments: Homemade vanilla latte

Me! I did that!

I think we've already established that I am a huge coffee fan. One of my very favorite treats is a vanilla latte, which I get at very fancy coffee shops Dutch Bros.

Look, you don't judge me and I won't judge you, okay? I'm a fan.

Since it's Lent, and I've given up processed foods, vanilla lattes have not been on the menu. I don't buy flavored syrups, so I'm not sure of the exact ingredient list, but I think it's safe to assume there's more than four, plus: High fructose corn syrup. I hate that stuff. Unless you are a major manufacturer of HFCS, in which case, it's great! It just makes me feel dizzy and kind of pukey is all, but that's totally on me.

Um, never mind.

Anyway, the moral of this whole story is that I was missing my vanilla lattes (because some days are just hard) and it finally occurred to me that there HAD to be a way to make these suckers at home, even if I don't have an espresso machine.

Right? How hard can it be?

So I tooled around on the internets for a little while, searching for "homemade latte." Apparently everyone just has espresso machines because wow, that did not go very well at first. But eventually I caught on that what I really needed to be searching for was "latte in a microwave." Bingo! That produced the results I was looking for.

Everything you need. P.S. I'm not the only one who stores my vanilla
syrup in a repurposed whiskey bottle, right?

It's taken some tweaking, but here's how I've managed to pull this off. You will need:

  1. Milk (apparently the higher the fat content, the better, but I buy 1 percent so that is what gets used)
  2. Glass jar with plastic lid (lids here)
  3. Coffee!
  4. Coffee cup and filter cone! And an actual filter
  5. Vanilla syrup (homemade recipe below)

While you boil your water, place coffee inside filter. I mean, just like you'd make any ol' cup of joe, except maybe add a couple extra scoops to give this thing some strength. We like strong around here.

Not much to look at yet.

Time to make the coffee.

It's hard to take a photo one handed.

Time to make the magic milk. Step one: Add to jar, place on lid and shake like mad.

Photo by Johanna. I just eyeball it as far as measurements go.

You truly do have to shake like mad because that's how you're going to get the foam, my friends. That's science! Next, place that in the microwave for a minute.

When it comes out, you get this!

Foamy! I kind of can't believe this works.

P.S. I'd be remiss if I didn't tell you that every single time the milk leaks out from the lid and into the microwave. That's just opportunity cost.

Now add some vanilla syrup to your cup.

Again, I just eyeball it. But the more the merrier, really.

Finish by pouring in warmed milk and spooning foam over the top.

I cleaned my counter for this series so you get to see IT ALL.

Let's take a closer look, shall we?

Meet my best friend, the vanilla latte.

You guys, this is like one of those things that has completely revolutionized my life. Like when I learned to make Naan. Or spice rub. Which is why I'm so excited to get to share it with you.

As a little bonus, here's how I make my own vanilla syrup. The recipe is originally from Paula Dean's website, but I've modified it. Okay, I just add more water and vanilla and have traded the brown sugar for sucanat. What do you want from me?

Vanilla Syrup
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup brown or sucanat sugar
2 cups water
2 tablespoons--or a good glug--of homemade vanilla

Stir sugars into water and bring to a low boil; simmer 10 minutes. Is it syrupy? Then it's good to go. Add vanilla. Cool. Or not. Store in refrigerator.

You're welcome.

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