Ever since beginning what I like to call "The Program" (what most people would call "a diet"), I've noticed that my sweet tooth has diminished. But strangely. I still love my brownies and my mom's chocolate chip cookies, and ice cream is still a wonderful treat. But I ordered a grande (that's small right?) Caramel Macchiato from Starbucks a few months ago, and I could only drink a couple sips before I decided to listen to my cringing teeth that were telling me "THIS IS TOO SWEET!"
So how do I get my fancy coffee drink fix without too much sugar (and money)? By making my own, of course!
Now, I understand that part of what you're getting when you go to Starbucks or Caribou is the convenience. But I happen to have my own espresso machine that my parents gave me for Christmas a few years ago, and it's not getting much use. Partly because of the time involved, but also because I like the flavors of the drinks at a coffee shop. And that's not the easiest thing to manage at home.
So yesterday, being in the mood for a latte, I started brewing one. And then I went to allrecipes.com to look for ideas for flavored syrups. Honestly, the website wasn't the most helpful. It did occur to me that probably, most of the flavors are a combination of simple syrup with an added extract. So I thought I'd try it.
1 part white sugar to 1 part water
Combine in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, making sure all the sugar dissolved. While it's heating, add some of your flavor extract. Regular extracts, like you'd buy in the baking aisle of a grocery store, take more than the concentrated flavors, like what you'd buy from King Arthur Flour. I used about 1/2 teaspoon of mint extract with one cup of sugar and one cup of water in one batch. The second batch was 3/4 almond flavor (hey, I'm Norwegian) to one cup of sugar and one cup of water. The third batch was about 15 drops of Washington Cherry flavor to one cup of sugar and one cup of water.
I put about 2-3 tablespoons of syrup in a coffee cup, added 2 shots of espresso and about 1/2 cup of steamed milk. This morning's Mint Latte was amazing!
Now I just need to find a marshmallow flavor so I can mimic Caribou Coffee's Campfire Mocha and I'll be set!