Hot, steamed milk is always a nice addition to a cup of coffee even if you’re not setting out to make a specialty drink with it. But when you’re brewing drip coffee, or any other type of coffee that doesn’t come straight from a high powered espresso machine, steamed milk is usually not an option because the machine doesn’t come with any kind of attachment to make it easy to make! Fortunately, there are all kinds of neat gadgets out there that will make it easy and convenient to get steamed milk at the drop of a hat – and your coffee drinking experiences will probably be the better for it.
The Capresso Froth Pro is a good example of this. This machine delivers enough steamed milk for a couple of drinks in a small pitcher that actually looks a lot like a coffee mug itself. It will froth or steam and it works for both hot and cold milk (or soy/other nondairy milks, per the manufacturer). Perhaps the best part is that the gadget has a very small footprint and a nice, tight lid on it. This means that you can park it on your desk at work and be enjoying your own lattes without treking down the street to a more expensive coffee shop when you want one. You’re not going to be able to make latte art with this, but you’ll still get a creamier cup of coffee.
I was recently asked to be one of the judges for Cupcake Project and Scoopalicious‘s 2011 Ice Cream Cupcake Contest. As a judge, I had to pick my three favorites out of a field of 60 entries and it was a tough job! I definitely wanted to choose more than just a handful, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to spotlight the two coffee-infused entries to the contest here. They were only slightly edged out of the top three (based on my very scientific judging process), but that doesn’t mean that they look any less delicious. The one pictured about is a Cappuccino Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cupcake from Elizabeth of A Girl In Her Kitchen. It has a chocolate cupcake with cappuccino Chocolate Chip ice cream and is topped with Whipped Cream and a chocolate covered coffee bean. Another caffeinated entry came in the form of some Chocolate Cherry Mocha Delight Cupcakes by Alana (no blog given). These chocolate cherry cupcakes were like mini ice cream sundaes, topped with coffee ice cream and chocolate syrup. The final coffee-infused cupcakes were the Sunken, Crackle–Top Mocha Cupcakes with Toasted Pistachio Gelato and Burnt Caramel Drizzle by Leah of Wine Imbiber. These decadent cupcakes have a generous dose of Kahlua in them and that little bit of coffee flavor makes the cake base even richer.
Check out my other top picks and you’ll probably get some inspiration for coffee-spiced cupcakes of your own (I know I did!).
I was making strawberry syrup for a dessert when I was inspired to try to combine strawberries and coffee. Generally speaking, coffee and strawberries don’t mix much. Even at coffee shops, strawberry drinks are usually coffee-free. That being said, raspberries, oranges and other fruits/fruit syrups are frequently combined with coffee with great results. Encouraged by this line of thinking, I did a little bit of experimenting and realized that strawberries and coffee do go quite well together!
I made my own strawberry syrup for this drink by combining strawberry puree and sugar. I mixed the sweetened syrup with some espresso, topped it with steamed milk and had a very grown-up version of strawberry milk to enjoy! Since I was making a big batch of this for a dessert sauce, I strained mine, but the strawberry seeds are so tiny that they won’t impact the drink if you want to skip that step. I like this drink hot, but if you add an extra tablespoon or two of syrup to your drink, it should make an nice iced version, as well.
I usually prefer coffee that is prepared fresh than a drink that comes out of a can, but with that said, I will also admit that I have had some pretty delicious prepared coffee drinks (mostly in other countries) and so I am always happy to try a new drink if I spot one in the grocery store. I like Seattle’s Best cold-brewed iced coffee in their stores, so I didn’t have to think twice before picking up a can of Seattle’s Best Coffee Iced Vanilla Latte.
This coffee drink is basically made with just coffee, milk, sugar and vanilla flavorings – no thickeners or anything to try and give it an unusually “creamy” consistency. In short, there is nothing weird in the can to screw up the drink and the result is a fresh-tasting, perfectly sweetened coffee drink with a good vanilla flavor and a great milk-to-coffee ratio. I didn’t honestly expect to like it as much as I did when I opened the can, but once I had finished, I definitely put it on my shopping list for the future. I still have my vanilla syrup in the fridge when I want to make my own, but as a quick and refreshing coffee drink (that is cheaper than a coffee shop), I’ll take one of these any time.
I should note that Seattle’s Best also makes a mocha version of this drink, as well as a plain version that is sweetened, but not flavored. I preferred the vanilla to the mocha, although the mocha was also quite good, and I’m still keeping an eye out for the Iced Latte flavor to give that one a try.