Cold-brewed coffee

I like iced coffee.

I don’t like single-use appliances. My kitchen is too small to house anything that doesn’t have at least two or three purposes. So a coffeemaker, while convenient, just isn’t going to work for me.

Our local purveyor of coffee and bad-for-diabetics-food, AKA Dunkin’s, serves cold-brewed coffee. Cold brewed coffee has less bitterness than traditional hot-brewed coffee, a true benefit for super tasters such as my wife.

I tinkered up a recipe for my own cold brewed coffee, since I don’t like the crowds and prices at the coffee shop.

If you’re caffeinating a crowd, you may need to use a large jar for this; I use a quart mason jar, which is plenty enough for two. The coffee is quite strong, as brewed, so if you prefer black coffee, you’ll want to reduce the amount of ground coffee you use.

This recipe is for two servings, but it multiplies easily. If you want less caffeine, use the same amount of coffee grounds but use either all decaf or a mixture of standard coffee and decaf.

Cold-brewed iced coffee

  • 2/3 cup  ground coffee
  • 3 cups cold water
  • 1 12-oz can of evaporated milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar or substitute
  • (optional) two oz coffee flavoring syrup (Irish cream flavor is the current favorite in our house)
  1.    Put the coffee grounds and water into a mason jar, shake a few times to get the grounds wet, then leave in a refrigerator for four hours to overnight.
  2.    Strain out the coffee grounds with a coffee filter. It’ll take a few minutes, as the liquid is cold.
  3.    Add the evaporated milk, sweetener and any flavor syrup, shake, and serve over ice.

Meet my new addiction: Smoothies

(No picture this time, sorry. But to make up for it, there’ll be two recipes at the end of this article.)

A good friend from Dell City recently had a yard sale, and he saved us an excellent old blender. Most newer blenders are victims of the throwaway mentality- they’re light, cheap, and flimsy. This one feels as though it was a tank in a former life.

Long ago, while Reagan was in office, I was free to roam upstate New York in the summer before my senior year in high school. There was a juice bar/farmer’s market on the side of the road. Woodstock doesn’t have a lot of entertainment for a mostly urban teenager, so I checked them out one day.

Among their offerings was the creamsicle, and since I already liked the ice cream bar by that name, I tried it. It was perfect! Crisp citrus flavor cut through the sweetness, with a yogurt tang and just enough brain freeze to make you slow down and enjoy it.

I tried to recreate the recipe a few times, but was young and impatient, and my results never really matched the genuine article that I knew they could, so I gave up on it and went back to my ‘normal’ life of being me in my late teens.

Many years passed. I mean, lots of them.

Now, with a blender, a lot more experience and not quite so much hair as the last time I had a creamsicle, I decided to recreate the smoothie. This time, I had patience, and I had Google.

Many of the smoothie recipes out there start with a banana. That’s nice, if you like bananas, but I really don’t. Once you add a banana, its flavor cloys through everything else I’ve tried. I suppose I could try stronger masking flavours but it’d take something like cayenne to really kill the banana flavour and I’m not looking for quite so, um, exciting a smoothie as that. To un-digress, though, it seemed as though about three recipes in four started out with a despicable banana, so were immediately rejected.

Vitamix (a great blender, which I do not currently own) had a recipe that looked promising. It has mango, which is not one of my go-to ingredients, but at least it eschewed the terrible yellow smilie fruit.

I had to shop a bit, as my fridge did not contain most of the ingredients; not that they are exotic, I just don’t usually keep coconut water on hand, for instance.

I’m not much for sweet tropical fruits, so I’d never opened a mango before. I found a video on BBC’s cooking page and followed it. Cut off the ‘cheeks,’ then cut a cross pattern on the inside of each, then turn the fruit inside out and cut away the fruit hedgehog that results. I’m pretty sure I wasted a lot of the fruit, but for a first time, it was not the worst I’ve done. I froze the resulting jagged chunks of bright fruit.

The rest of the recipe is pretty straightforward. I blended it, rejoiced at the pastel orange colour that I had remembered, and, upon tasting, was transported back to the sunny days of the late eighties. The recipe was a success.

Emboldened by this success, I decided to make  an iced coffee smoothie. I’d hoped to pretty much just substitute coffee for the OJ concentrate, but my son had seen me making creamsicles and had made his own, using up most of the remaining ingredients, so I had to go back to the improv table.

My normal iced coffee recipe (which I will post soon) seemed like a good place to start. So I blended two cups of frozen strong cold-brewed coffee, Splenda, ice cubes, and evaporated milk.

I discovered that evaporated milk foams. A lot. I nearly overflowed the blender. The recipe shows how to avoid this fate. Despite the huge head of foam, the recipe was quite a good eye-opener.

Creamsicle Smoothie (adapted from the Vitamix recipe)

  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 mango, cubed and frozen (optional)
  • 1/4 cup frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 2 cups ice cubes

Put everything in a blender, blend at medium-low speed for a minute until the grinding ice noises subside, then 30 seconds on the highest speed. Makes two servings.

Eye Opener

  • 2 cups of strong coffee, chilled
  • 1/4 cup sugar (or equivalent in Splenda, xylitol, stevia, or other sugar substitute)
  • 1 cup ice of ice cubes
  • 1 (12 oz) can of evaporated milk

Add everything but the evaporated milk and blend at medium-low speed until the grinding ice noises subside. Blend for 30 seconds on the highest speed.

Add the evaporated milk and pulse the blender a few times to just combine. If you add the milk before the blend, you will fill your blender with foam! Tasteless foam that has no caffeine. Bleah.