I’m not a latte girl. I prefer a medium strength, boring filter coffee or Americano with a splash of skimmed milk. Before Christmas, however, I noticed that one of those ‘everywhere’ high street coffee shops (we, unfortunately, have very few little independent ones near us) were selling a Salted Caramel Latte. It was cold outside, I was shattered, me and the little one needed a rest, so I stopped and I promptly ordered one. It was delicious and soon, whenever I passed one of these shops in town, I couldn't walk past without buying. When you total the cost and, not to mention, the calories of all those lattes, I decided there must be a better way to drink your coffee. But Christmas has now come and gone, the weather has turned a little milder, and I still hanker after the sweet salted caramel fix.
It was with the thought of saving money in mind that I then trawled the net to find the perfect homemade syrup idea. I found two main ones: the first being a sugar / water caramel syrup mix; the second being a basic salted caramel using cream and butter. Now it was decision time. Did I opt for the rich and creamy salted caramel, or a more simple syrup? Deciding that the closet to what I enjoyed in the coffee shops was a syrup, I chose that version. I could always add cream on top after, although that sort of defeats the point of being able to control your calorie intake!
I chose this recipe, a simple combination of 2 US cups (450g) white sugar, 0.3 US cups (66g) brown sugar and 2 US cups (473ml) of warm tap water. Tip everything, along with some vanilla essence and the scraped inside of a pod, into a pan, mix and simmer gently for 10-15 minutes. When cool, pour into a sealable bottle.
To make the latte, tip a small amount, (1-2 tbsp) syrup into the bottom of a cup. Add a small espresso and top with milk. To make it even easier, use instant coffee in hot milk and add to the syrup. If you want a lower calorie version, make a ‘mini’ latte, use skimmed milk and don’t add whipped cream to the top, although I must say, this gives a lovely topping through which to drink.
I felt the syrup was a little thin, even after cooling, so I couldn’t use it to drizzle over the top of the cream, Next time, I’d use maybe three quarters of the water and add more if it was becoming too thick. That or rapidly boil for a short amount of time to help it thicken.
After all of that, I noticed (as you may have too) that I forget to ‘salted’ part to this drink. Well, it seemed to be one or the other – a plain syrup, or a salted caramel which would possibly be the wrong consistency to add to coffee, and doesn’t last as long in the fridge. A small sprinkle of salt over the top of the syrup would definitely do the trick though, just don’t overdo it!