Coffee Companion, aka Homemade ‘Coffee Mate’
1 pint half and half or cream, whichever you prefer
1 vanilla bean
1-2 T sugar, to taste
Heat half and half in a small saucepan over medium heat until it starts steaming, but is not yet boiling. Remove from heat. Split vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape seeds into half and half. Add the bean to the half and half.
Cover, and let infuse until mixture is cool. Remove vanilla beam, add sugar, and stir. Pour into a bottle or jar and refrigerate until ready to use.
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My last remaining vice in the high-fructose-corn-syrup-laden, partially-hydrogenated, machine-cuisine world I’ve been gradually opting out of is, believe it or not, French Vanilla Coffee Mate.
Eww, gross! you’re probably thinking…
This is the ingredient list, transcribed from the back of the container:
Water, sugar, partially hydrogenated soybean and/or cottonseed oil, sodium castenate, dipotassium phosphate, color added, natural and artificial flavors, sodium stearoyl lactylate, mono and diglycerides, polysorbate 60, carrageenan, beta-carotene color
Seriously, what the heck is ‘beta-carotene color’??
So now that we’ve seen all the un-pronounable things that ARE in there, let’s make a note of what’s NOT in there: Cream, vanilla.
But, oh the convenience of flavoring my morning coffee in one fell swoop! I’ve tried getting off ‘the Mate’ (as Steven calls it) a few times before, but before that first sip of coffee, it’s hard for me to motivate to get out the cream AND the sugar, let alone anything remotely resembling vanilla. I’ll go for a day or two or three, but eventually I make my way back to … the Mate.
And then it dawned on me — I can make my own coffee mate, and hence was born ‘Coffee Companion': vanilla-infused cream with a little bit of sugar, all conveniently stored in an easily pourable jar — eureka!! It’s absolutely as easy, and far more delcious than any industrial coffee additive.
Besides vanilla, one could make a coffee companion in a variety a flavors, such as:
– maple syrup (with this just mix the cream and syrup, and omit any sugar)
… to name a few.
And on a related note, check out the latest post (and the comments) over at Ethicurean about Reddi-Whip, Cool-Whip, and plain old whipped cream… very amusing