Coffee is a noble drink; it lends itself to blending with other flavors; for starters, there’s milk, but there are many others, including vanilla and chocolate, but let’s face it, some combinations are better than others.
Today we’re putting together a chilly glass of caramel iced coffee because caramel and coffee were born to be served together. The golden syrup and its and molasses and nutty flavors contrast with coffee’s bitterness, which is why we love caramel and coffee drinks so much.
Although people have been adding caramel or butterscotch to their coffees for centuries, it was in the late 90s, when Starbucks launched their now-famous Caramel Macchiato, that the flavor combination became trendy. And by trendy, I mean insanely popular.
So, what is caramel anyway? Caramel comes to be when you heat cane sugar at the precise temperature of 340 degrees. That’s where you start to see changes in color, texture and even flavor. Caramel, though, is just the first step on the sweet treat’s path to greatness. The caramel hardens incredibly fast, so you can’t really pour it into your coffee. What you want is caramel sauce.
Caramel sauce is the combination of caramel, heavy cream or half & half and butter. It won’t harden as pure caramel does. Instead, it will retain a dense, shiny texture. Although store-bought caramel sauce suits our needs, if you want to make yours, here’s what you want to do:
Heat 1 cup of sugar over low heat while whisking until the caramel is formed (ten minutes), remove from heat and add 6 tbsp of salted butter while stirring. Once combined, slowly pour 1/2 a cup of heavy whipping cream while stirring and let it cool down. It will last for up to two weeks in the fridge.
For today’s recipe, I’m calling for store-bought caramel sauce, but not just any kind; I believe salted caramel sauce adds complexity to the caramel iced coffee but choose your favorite!
This recipe is tons of fun, mainly because we’re drizzling caramel sauce all over the place, so call a friend over and make some caramelly iced coffee!
Brew your medium roast coffee and let it cool to room temperature.
In a cocktail shaker or lidded jar, add the cold espresso, milk, and caramel sauce.
Shake vigorously until the ingredients are combined, and the drink is frothy.
Drizzle the sides of the glass with caramel sauce. Fill the glass with ice and pour your caramel iced coffee.
Top with whipped cream and drizzle some more caramel sauce.