Greenies Like Us: This Is Joe With Creamer

Got cow? No? Well, got half-and-half? Good. Want to avoid non-dairy ingredients, preservatives and artificial color and flavoring? Great. Try this alternative – real creamer! Good old-fashioned cream and sugar still tastes the best. It reminds me of the neighborhood coffee shop days when the hubby and I would occasionally meet for breakfast after the kids went off to school. There is something about it that rings ‘back to basics’ to me, and I prefer it to the fancied Starbucks concoctions or the grocery store super-sweet creamers. (They do give you a jolt though! If that’s what you’re after then more power to ya.) But at least we’ve taken care of the convenience part by combining steps in making your morning cup o’ Joe.

Coming soon: Sugar alternatives for this recipe. (Can you say ‘stevia’?) And a cost break-down because you know your saving money by making it yourself!

Ingredients:

3-parts half-and-half (you can also use cream or heavy cream if you prefer it)
1-part sugar
Flavored extract of choice (optional)

The easiest thing to do is to subtract one cup from a quart and set it aside, and pour the remaining half-and-half into a saucepan. Add one cup of sugar to the saucepan and turn the heat on low. Using these measurements makes the recipe more convenient to store in the end, because you can add the finished creamer back to the carton, label it and be done. If you don’t plan to do anything with the leftover cup, then just add 1 1/3 cups sugar to the entire quart. Also, we love the flavor of hazelnut, so I add about 1/4 teaspoon hazelnut extract per quart. If using vanilla, I would double the amount since the flavoring is so much more subtle. And I would use only a 1/8 teaspoon of malt extract since it is so strong. Get the idea? This is all subject to your own taste, of course, so test away!

Next, heat the mixture on low heat for about 10 minutes. You just want the sugar to blend well and to cook off the alcohol in the extract, but you do not want it to curdle or have a ‘burnt’ taste. Stir constantly. When the 10 minutes is up, just stick ‘er back in the fridge.

That’s it! Sweet creamy goodness for your cup of Joe. Yum.

Tip: Don’t know what to do with the subtracted cup of half-and-half? Stir it into your hot breakfast cereal. Or just cook up a recipe that calls for milk or cream for dinner tonight and you’re set.

Tip: Want even more convenience? How about adding the creamer to your cup before adding the coffee? It instantly blends without needing a spoon. Cool!

Tip: Make sure to buy good, organic Fair Trade coffee. (groundsforchange.com) Unless you grow your own of course!