The Caramel Brûlée Latte is a popular seasonal drink that Starbucks brings our around the holidays. The brûlée flavor is that of the dark, caramelized sugar that is on top of a creme brûlée and the drink is garnished with a few caramel shards. I am a big fan of the drink because I like that dark caramel flavor, which has a toaty, bitter note that takes away from the sweetness of the usual caramel sauce. And that means that the drink isn’t too sweet, even if I get a big one.
This homemade version is a little more playful because I actually added a layer of caramelized sugar to the top of the drink using a kitchen torch! The torch is a small, handheld blowtorch that is used in kitchens to easily finish off creme brûlée and is available in most well-stocked kitchen stores. I simply topped my drink with a thick, dense foam and plenty of sugar, then caramelized it with the torch. Be generous with the sugar to ensure you get a good crust.
If you don’t have a kitchen torch (and I recommend it, since they are a lot of fun), you can caramelized the sugar in a small sauce pan and let it set on a piece of parchment or a Silat, then break it into shards to finish your drink off.
Homemade Caramel Brûlée Latte
2 oz espresso (or 4-oz strong coffee)
2-3 tbsp caramel sauce
2 tbsp sugar
In a large mug, whisk together espresso and caramel sauce.
In another mug or small pitcher, steam milk until hot and very foamy. (Instructions for ‘steaming milk’ without an espresso machine here). Pour onto espresso mixture. Sprinkle remaining sugar very generously onto the top of the foam and brûlée with a kitchen torch until darkly browned.
Without a kitchen torch: Caramelize sugar in a small saucepan until dark golden. Pour onto a piece of parchment and allow sugar to cool. Break sugar into small pieces and garnish drink.