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It's actually quite simple and tastes way better.
This story originally appeared on Myrecipes.com by Gille Houston.
There’s arguably no better way to start the day than with a cup of coffee topped off with a deliciously velvety flavored creamer. However, if you take a look at the list of the ingredients on that store-bought creamer you’ll see a lot of mysterious, unpronounceable ingredients that you might not want to put into your body first thing in the morning.
Luckily, making your own creamer—one that’s free of a long list of stuff you’ve never heard of—is actually a deceptively simple process that can be finished within minutes using a few household ingredients. So, rather than picking up a sugary, artificial-tasting creamer, take a few minutes every couple of weeks to craft your own delectable coffee creamer that you can feel good about pouring into your cup every morning.
Making Your Creamer Base
Every creamer—flavored or not—needs that signature creamy, indulgent base. Luckily, no matter which flavor of coffee creamer you’re aiming for, the base stays the same and only requires two common ingredients.
To craft your creamer, mix a 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk (for a vegan or dairy-free alternative, try sweetened condensed coconut milk) with 1 ¾ cup of your choice of milk or cream. This is a 1:1 ratio of the two liquids, so if you’re using a smaller quantity of sweetened condensed milk, you can easily calculate how much milk or cream to add.
While the sweetened condensed milk should always be included, you can play around with your milk or cream choice, depending on your taste and nutritional preferences. Feel free to use cream, whole milk, half-and-half, skim or 2 percent milk, and even almond and soy milks for different flavors and textures. While opting for cream will make for the thickest creamer, with a more velvety taste, it will also be higher in fat and calories than any of the milk options.
To combine the two dairy products thoroughly, whisk them together in a bowl vigorously, or add them to a lidded jar that you can shake well. Refrigerate your homemade creamer in an airtight jar, plastic container, or even a recycled leftover creamer container for up to two weeks.
For those who would prefer to use a natural or artificial sugar substitute in your creamer base to lower your sugar intake, you can also opt to make your own sweetened condensed milk. Simply whisk together 2 cups whole milk with ¾ cup of your chosen sugar substitute in a saucepan over medium-low heat, bringing them to a simmer. Allow the mixture to simmer for about 30 minutes, whisking often, until the milk has reduced by half. Remove from the heat and stir in 4 tablespoons of butter before cooling completely and using in your creamer base.
Fun With Flavors
Once you’ve got a handle on making your universal creamer base, then comes the fun part: playing around with flavors. There are two methods for adding your flavors to your creamer base. If flavoring with extracts or thin syrups, you can simply add these in with your condensed milk and cream when first crafting your base to produce a flavored final product.
If you’re adding dry ingredients, like spices, or a thicker ingredient, like honey, it’s best to take an extra step to ensure these additions will fully integrate into the creamer. To do this, combine your flavor ingredients with some of the base milk or cream in a small pot, heating it up to the point that the ingredient has completely dissolved into the liquid. Allow that mixture to cool completely before combining it with the condensed milk and remaining milk or cream to finish your creamer. While this step is optional, it will help to prevent your creamer taking on a grainy texture and your ingredients from a separating.
While the options for fun flavor combinations are endless, some of the ingredients we’d recommend playing around with include vanilla extract, almond extract, chocolate syrup, cocoa powder, cinnamon, instant coffee, pumpkin pie spice, maple syrup, and more. For each of these ingredients, you’ll want to add just 1-2 teaspoons at a time, as you don’t want to overpower the flavor and can always add more.
Use the following ingredient combinations as a guide to the myriad of possible flavors you can create, playing around with the ingredient quantities and combinations until you find the flavored creamer of your dreams.
French Vanilla: 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. Bonus points if you make your own homemade vanilla extract.
Milk Chocolate: 2 tablespoons chocolate syrup + 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
Dark Chocolate: 2 tablespoons chocolate syrup + 1 teaspoon cocoa powder.
Cinnamon Coffee Cake: 2 teaspoons vanilla extract + 2 teaspoons cinnamon.
Almond Joy: 1 teaspoon almond extract + 2 tablespoons chocolate syrup + 1 teaspoon coconut extract.
Peppermint Mocha: 1 tablespoon chocolate syrup + 1 teaspoon cocoa powder + 1 teaspoon peppermint extract.
Nutella: 2 tablespoons chocolate syrup + 2 teaspoons hazelnut extract.
Chocolate Raspberry: 2 tablespoons raspberry syrup + 2 teaspoons cocoa powder.
Pumpkin Spice: 2 tablespoons maple syrup + 1 teaspoon vanilla extract + 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice + ½ teaspoon cinnamon.
Hazelnut: 2 teaspoons hazelnut extract.
Gingerbread: 1 tablespoon maple syrup + 1 teaspoon vanilla extract + ½ teaspoon cinnamon + 1/8 teaspoon allspice.
Vanilla Chai: 2 tablespoons honey + 2 teaspoons vanilla extract + 1 teaspoon cinnamon + ½ teaspoon cardamom.
Not only will these homemade flavored creamers be free of all the artificial ingredients that come in a store bought creamer, but you’ll be blown away by how easy it is to craft your own completely delectable mixtures in no time.
This article originally appeared on Myrecipes.com