Good coffee is not hard to find in Europe. The varieties are endless and seem to change from country to country. I have had coffee and lattes in Norway, Estonia, Latvia, Poland and France, each of them a bit different and unique. Here in Tallinn, I had a most delicious small latte this past week for one euro! What?! That is rare, to be sure, but I definitely book-marked the spot in Old Town. If you want to read about why we are here and see other pictures of Tallinn, go here, and here!
One of the main differences is SIZE.
Unless there is a Starbucks nearby, and in the Baltics there is not, I have not found gorilla-sized lattes, frappes and cappuccinos. Everything is “normal”, as they like to say here. That, friends, is a good thing. Most of their drinks are not laden down with heavy syrups or flavored creams. I can handle that too! I just need one sugar and creamer and I am good, if the coffee is also good.
I brought a few individual International Delight French Vanilla creamers with me to Northern Europe. Okay, I brought an entire box. But it is not enough to last eight weeks. So what to do? The only coffee creamer I can find in the grocery stores here is plain and unflavored. That’s no fun when you are used to a cascade of vanilla’s, cinnamon, sweet cream, Girl Scout mint, amaretto, Belgian white chocolate macadamia, Irish Crème and the list goes on and on and on! Do I dare mention the name brand names, York Peppermint Pattie, Coldstone Creamery, Almond Joy, and Cinnabon! Gee whiz!
So, needless to say, morning coffee time was going to get boring, very quickly.
I have seen countless DIY instructions on Pinterest so, why not me?
I have made my own vanilla extract overseas (super easy and soooo much better!), my own ranch dressing (decided to bring Hidden Valley seasoning packets in my next suitcase), my own cream of chicken soup (kick Campbell’s out of the kitchen!) and always have to make my own whipped topping (taste the difference!). Why not creamer?
Friends, this is too easy! Someone is making way too much money off of coffee lovers around the globe with needlessly expensive, flavored creamers!
There are hundreds of recipes using sweetened condensed milk floating around the virtual bulletin boards; mine is NOT made that way.
- First, there is no such thing in Estonia.
- Second, I didn’t want anything from a can!
- Third, I am a honey fan.
No cans, no additives, no preservatives. Not only is this recipe easy and delicious, it is nutritious; if you don’t count the heavy cream. There are no “processed” sugars, powders or canned anything. (smile) Even better, you could use Almond Milk, one of my favorite substitutes for regular milk! It tastes so good! We do have that here in Estonia.
Follow this recipe and tweak it to your own taste. Then, begin experimenting with the different flavors! You can halve the recipe as well, if you don’t want to drink the same thing forever and a day.
Did I mention that the sweet missionary’s home I am staying in also has a coffee grinder?! Yikes! I am enjoying grinding my own beans every morning as well. Coffee connoisseurs look out!
Here is the basic base recipe and then several flavor varieties.
1 cup Milk (2% or skim is fine)
1 cup Heavy Cream
2- 3 T. raw honey (you can also use pure maple syrup!)
1 ½ tsp. real vanilla extract
Heat all ingredients just until the honey is dissolved well. Store in Mason jars or other see-through containers. Mark the date, or don’t forget the date on your milk, should keep a week refrigerated.
Now for the extras! Begin with the base and add in the flavors.
Vanilla Caramel – 2 T caramel topping, 2 tsp. vanilla extract
Cinnamon – 1 tsp. vanilla, 1 T. ground cinnamon
Chocolate Almond – 1 T cocoa powder, 1 tsp. almond extract
Irish Cream – 2 T chocolate syrup, 1 tsp. instant coffee, 1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract, 1 tsp. almond extract
Pumpkin Spice – ¼ cup pumpkin puree, ¼ cup pure maple syrup, 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice, 1 tsp. vanilla extract…whisk this all together with the milk and cream, heat just until simmering. Cool, store in refrigerator.
Gingerbread – ¼ cup molasses, 1 tsp ginger, ½ tsp. cinnamon, ½ tsp. ground cloves, ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg, 1 tsp. vanilla extract. Again, simmer until heated together, cool and store in refrigerator.
Eggnog – 1 ½ tsp. nutmeg, 1 ½ tsp. rum extract.
Peppermint Mocha – 1 T cocoa powder, ¼- ½ tsps. Peppermint extract. Begin with the ¼ tsp…be sure not to get too much! Heat to simmer, cool, store in fridge.
Almond Joy – 1 T. coconut extract, ¼ cup chocolate syrup
Hazlenut – Start with the same cream base and just add 1-2 tsps. hazelnut extract.
French Toast – Combine 1 whole cinnamon stick, chopped into tiny ½ – 1 inch pieces, with the cream, milk and honey. Heat for two minutes then cover and let steep for 30 minutes. Strain, cool, fridge!
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