a. Stupid expensive
b. ungodly sweet
c. full o'fat and sugar (and by sugar I mean high fructose corn syrup)
d. full of random other ingredients like artificial flavors and preservatives, and other strange things
e. ALL of the above
Good thing there's an alternative... you can Make It Yourself!! << you may be seeing a pattern in my posts, snicker>>
Yes folks, the little luxury of having pre-mixed flavored coffee syrup can be yours with 5 minutes of prep or less a week, and you have control over the FAT content, SUGAR content, and FLAVOR. You can make it with things you probably have on hand! Whoo hoo!
Today I was playing around with different proportions of these ingredients and I found what puts me in coffee bliss (I just got a like-new condition Senseo one- or two-cup coffee maker AND two bags of unopened pods... for FREE, thanks to Freecycle! So I've been endlessly playing with cups of coffee).
By making variations to this recipe to suit your taste (it is do it yourself, after all) you can customize your own flavored creamer for that perfect coffee treat!
Before I begin.. let me just point out some stats for the commercial stuff:
Prices (via Google Shopping query)-
Nestle Coffee-Mate in french vanilla, $4-5.07 for 15 oz
Good Kind Natural Coffee Creamer, French Vanilla, $7.20 for 8oz
International Delight, French Vanilla, $3-4.50 for 13 mL
Ingredients for Nestle Coffee-Mate French Vanilla creamer
(copied directly from their site HERE):
WATER, SUGAR, HYDROGENATED COCONUT OIL, SODIUM CASEINATE (A MILK DERIVATIVE), FLAVOUR AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOUR, DIPOTASSIUM PHOSPHATE, SALT, MONOGLYCERIDES, ACETYLATED TARTARIC ACID ESTERS OF MONO- AND DIGLYCERIDES.
Now to make your OWN you can use:
Heavy Whipping Cream (choose your fat version, organic, lactose-free, whatever)
Milk (choose your own milk alternatives, organic, lactose-free, fat percentage, etc.)
Sweetener (sugar, Stevia, I abhor non-natural artificial sweeteners, but if you like them- it's your body, agave syrup, etc.)
Flavor (I definitely recommend pure extracts, you can choose vanilla or whatever else you like, or mix and match, like vanilla & cinnamon, butter & rum, etc)
I recommend using a glass container with a lid for storage and ease of shaking up: recycle an empty glass jar, such as from pasta sauce or "canned" fruit or veggies, etc.!
To this container, add UP TO equal proportions heavy whipping cream and milk OR reduce the ratio of cream to milk to lower the fat content. Obviously the less cream to milk, the less "creamery" it will taste. Shoot for one-cup total, or whatever you will consume in one week for best quality.
I recommend starting at 1:3 cream to milk and go up from there to taste. I don't recommend more cream than half and half, because the fat in the cream will float slightly on your coffee--you'll see little "oil slicks."
Taste, Taste, Taste! You can always add more of something! Keep tasting, adding a bit at a time, because what I think is yummy, you might not.
When you've arrived at your ratio of choice for cream and milk, add your flavor extract(s). For one cup of cream-milk mixture, start with 1/2 teaspoon of extract, shake well, taste, and go from there.
Next add your sweetener. If you are adding a sweetener in crystal form (as opposed to liquid) it would be best to dissolve it in a little bit of warm water first. The benefit of doing this is that you get an accurate picture of the sweetness, whereas the sugar crystals may not dissolve right away in the cold milk-cream mixture and you might keep adding more and more because you can't taste it right away, then end up going EW! Too Sweet! later.
For one cup of the milk-cream mixture I started with one tablespoon and ended up going to about two and a half. Remember you're not going to be drinking this straight, but very diluted in coffee so think about how much you end up sweeting your coffee... if you use a whole spoonful of sugar in one cup of coffee you're going to want your stir-in much sweeter, whereas I normally add NO sugar to plain coffee, I just like my flavored creamer to have a *hint* of sweetness.
So there you go! Have fun experimenting (and saving money, and avoiding yucky additives!) Remember to keep refrigerated and shake well before use!
Image credits (Featuring some of my fave brands!): Heavy whipping cream, Kemps brand; Organic low fat milk, Organic Valley Co-op Brand; Vanilla extract, J.R. Watkins Brand; Stevia, Stevia Extract in the Raw Brand.