My cup (or two) of coffee is my favorite thing about waking up in the morning. I actually kind of look forward to it each night when I’m going to bed. Especially if I can get up and drink it in peace and quiet, before my little ones wake up, looking forward to what the day will bring.
I like my coffee with a good amount of creamer, specifically vanilla flavored creamer. Awhile ago though, I decided that I really needed to ditch my addiction to store-bought French Vanilla coffee creamer. If you’ve read the ingredients on the package, you know that it: 1. Does not actually have cream in it and 2. has a long list of unpronounceable, chemical sounding words in it. Not something that I really should have been drinking every morning. In trying to move away from processed and industrial foods, I knew that was a habit I was going to have to kick. But, I wasn’t about to completely give up my morning coffee.
So, I set out to make my own replacement creamer. I found some recipes online that used non-dairy coffee creamer, or French Vanilla flavoring and powdered sugar, but I wasn’t really interested in using those ingredients either. Finally, I stumbled upon this recipe for vanilla caramel coffee creamer, and I thought I had finally found my answer. After a little bit of trail and error I worked out a recipe that I really enjoy. It’s not exactly the same as french vanilla creamer, but my taste buds have adjusted and I actually like this much better now.
- ¼ cup brown sugar (I’ve been using turbinado sugar from Trader Joe’s lately with great results!)
- 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract (use real vanilla, not the imitation – have you read the ingredients on that?!)
- approx. 2 cups of half and half
Combine brown sugar and vanilla in a small sauce pan over medium-low heat. Heat gently, stirring occasionally until sugar is melted. Don’t let get to hot or bubbly or it will solidify and you won’t be able to mix in your creamer.
Turn burner off and slowly wisk in half and half, letting the residual heat help the sugar mixture and the creamer to combine. Use immediately, or store in a glass container in your fridge.
Update 1/11 – I’ve been making a double batch of this lately using a quart of half and half because that way I don’t have to make it as often. I was almost out of turbinado sugar, so I decided to try some honey in place of it. So, I used 1/4 c. turbinado sugar, 1/4 honey, 2 Tbsp. vanilla and a quart (approx. 4 cups) half and half, and it was great! I like that I’m reducing some of the sugar while also using a more natural sweetener.
You can adjust the amount of brown sugar and vanilla to your tastes and preferences. I know it’s a lot of vanilla, but I recently found a more affordable source for pure vanilla, and also started making my own, and when you have homemade vanilla it is much cheaper.
When I first started making this I followed the recipe that I found and used 2 tsp of vanilla, but found that just wasn’t enough for me. Amazingly, my sister started making creamer the exact same way right around the same time that I did, and we didn’t even know the other was making it this way. Sometimes, it’s scary the way that sisters think alike! Anyway, she makes it with ½ cup of brown sugar and 1 Tbsp of vanilla. I decided to increase the amount of vanilla and it turned out to be perfect for me. So do a little experimenting and figure out how you like it best.
Enjoy your morning cup of coffee guilt free! (Well except for the sugar of course!)
What do you most look forward to about waking up in the morning?
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