Cold Brew with Vanilla Almond Milk Creamer

 
  This post is sponsored through a partnership with    The J.M. Smucker Company © 2017. DD IP Holder LLC  . A ll thoughts and opinions are my own.

This post is sponsored through a partnership with The J.M. Smucker Company © 2017. DD IP Holder LLC. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

With warmer days approaching (and the end of the school year), my mind drifts towards the slower days of summer.  I've stuffed the sweaters into the back of the closet, bringing the t-shirts front and center.

A defining line between the cold and warm months, however, is my switch from hot coffee to cold brew. 

As a teacher, I drink my fair share of coffee. My favorite moments to enjoy a cup is relaxing after a long day at work, with my feet up on the couch, or on a slow-moving weekend morning.

Lately, I've been drinking Dunkin' Donuts Cold Brew. It's easy to prepare and has a smooth finish, with no acidity or bitter taste.

On Sunday nights, I prep the cold brew by placing two coffee pouches into a two-quart pitcher with four cups of water and leave it to steep in the refrigerator overnight. The next morning, I remove the pouches, add a few cups of water to dilute it to my taste, and it is ready to enjoy. Best of all, the pitcher lasts the rest of the week so the work is complete in two simple steps.

One of my favorite cold brew tricks is to freeze some of the cold brew into ice cubes after it has finished brewing. Then, when it's time to enjoy the coffee, I add a few cold brew cubes. The drink stays cold longer, and the coffee cubes prevent the drink from becoming watered down as the ice melts. 

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I prefer my cold brew with creamer to add a hint of flavor and sweetness. After finding disappointment with dairy-free brands, I set out to create my own. As I often do for a dairy-free alternative, I reached for the can of full-fat coconut milk. While homemade coconut milk creamer works well in hot beverages, the fat separates to the top when it hits a cold beverage, rendering it undrinkable.

Almonds, however, do the job and do it well.

This homemade almond milk creamer holds together well in a cold drink and lends itself to customization. To give the creamer its creaminess, I follow a similar approach as I do with my recipe for homemade almond milk. The difference is that I add less water when blending so the almond milk is concentrated. 

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With pure vanilla extract for flavor and maple syrup to sweeten to taste, this homemade almond milk creamer is complete. I adore this creamer because it mimics the coffee house experience with simple, wholesome ingredients.

The coffee creamer may appear to separate if it is left to rest, but a quick swirl of the glass will bring it back to a uniform appearance. Use as much or as little as you like in your next glass of cold brew.

 
 

This cold brew with homemade vanilla almond milk creamer works as a great afternoon pick-me-up. Brewed with Dunkin' Donuts Cold Brew Coffee Packs, the coffee has a smooth, rich finish. I prefer to enjoy it with homemade creamer flavored with vanilla and sweetened with maple syrup, but you can customize the drink to your taste. Enjoy!

One Year Ago: Strawberry Scones
Two Years Ago: Chocolate Hazelnut Rolls
Three Years Ago: Blueberry Oat Bars (GF)  & Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies (GF)
Four Years Ago: Chocolate Blackberry Cupcakes
Five Years Ago:  Sunflower Seed Bread, Blackberry Fool, Lime Curd Tart, & Honey Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Six Years Ago: Tiramisu Cake, Peanut Butter Cornmeal Cookies, Honey Wheat Cake, & Chocolate Almond Ice Cream
Seven Years Ago:  Chocolate-Filled Buns, Malted Chocolate Chip Cookies, & Parmesan Poppy Seed Crackers

Cold Brew with Vanilla Almond Milk Creamer

Yields 6 servings

1 pouch Dunkin’ Donuts Cold Brew Coffee Packs
1 cup (120 grams) raw almonds
3 1/2 cups (830 mL) filtered water, divided
3-5 tablespoons maple syrup, to taste
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

The cold brew and almond milk creamer need to be started the evening before serving.

To prepare the cold brew coffee, follow the directions according to the package.

To prepare the almond milk creamer, place almonds in a container and cover with 2 cups filtered water. Seal container and allow to soak overnight, for at least 8 hours or up to 2 days.

Strain almonds and rinse with fresh water. (The almonds release phytic acid while soaking, which prevents the body from absorbing nutrients; rinsing the almonds removes this acid.) Place almonds and 1 1/2 cups filtered water in a blender. Blend on high for 2-3 minutes. Using a nut bag, layered cheesecloth, or fine mesh strainer, strain the almond milk to remove the pulp. If using the fine mesh strainer, run the milk through several times to eliminate pulp. The leftover pulp can be used in smoothies, muffins, or bread, or it can be dehydrated and used in the same manner as almond flour. Add maple syrup and vanilla extract to the almond milk.

Keep the almond milk creamer refrigerated. It should stay fresh for 5 to 7 days. The creamer may undergo separation in the refrigerator. Give the creamer a good shake and it will come back together quickly.

To prepare the cold brew coffee drink, place prepared cold brew in a glass with ice and add almond milk creamer to taste. For best results, freeze some of the cold brew into ice cubes in advance. This method keeps the cold brew chilled and prevents it from getting watered down as the ice melts.


©The J.M. Smucker Company © 2017. DD IP Holder LLC

Plum Almond Tart

In the midst of the chaos that accompanies the beginning of the school year, my mind has been absent from the kitchen, fixating on my new students and lesson plans instead. These early school days can be long and exhausting, as we all look for a new footing and gradually settle into a routine, developing the new rhythm of another year.

Knowing of the movement on the horizon, on the final day of summer vacation I made it a point to spend a slow afternoon in my favorite location—the kitchen. Since plums have been especially sweet this year, I wanted to make the fruit the feature of my next pastry. With this tart, I consider the goal accomplished. The bright flavor of the plums stand out, complemented by a buttery crust and a sweet, rich almond filling. It was difficult to keep my fork away for longer than a few hours, as I pilfered bites between meals.

While eating another rushed meal from a box for dinner this evening, my mind drifted back to the lethargic days of summer. The setting of the sun feels too early recently, the dark evenings making the summer months seem more than a couple weeks away. I sliced a plum for dessert, eating it while watching the sky turn orange. While I am excited for the weeks ahead, it is nice to take a moment and bring back the flavors of a simpler moment in time.

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This Plum Almond Tart allows the sweet summer fruit to shine. It begins with a buttery tart crust filled with a rich almond filling. Then, sliced ripe plums are pressed into the top before baking. In the oven, the fruit roasts and the filling toasts. The tart can be served warm or chilled, depending on personal preference. I prefer the first slice warm from the oven and the second slice chilled as I steal a few bites the next morning for breakfast.

One Year Ago: Blueberry Plum Pie & Fig Oatmeal Bars
Two Years Ago: Olive Oil Pound Cake, Iced Matcha Coconut Latte, & Blueberry Honey Scones
Three Years Ago: Salted Chocolate Chunk Cookies & Citrus Zucchini Muffins
Four Years Ago:  Nutella Espresso Rolls, Brownie Cookies, Cookie Dough Cake, & Honeyed Apricot Granola Bars
Five Years Ago: Almond Butter Cupcakes, Berry Pavlova, Mango Striped Popsicles, French Silk Pie, Blackberry Coffee Cake, & Blueberry Cupcakes
Six Years Ago: Cherry Almond Muffins, Plum Clafouti, Banana Cake, S'mores Pie, & Malted Chocolate Cupcakes
Seven Years Ago: Chocolate Prune Cake, Wild Blueberry Muffins, Chocolate Pear Cake, & Strawberry Shortcake

Plum Almond Tart

Yields 9-inch tart (8 to 12 servings)

Tart Dough
1 1/4 cups (150 grams) all purpose flour
1/3 cup (66 grams) granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (113 grams) butter, cold
1 large egg, lightly whisked
1 teaspoon vanilla

Filling
3 tablespoons (50 grams) butter, room temperature
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 2/3 cups (160 grams) almond flour
3/4 pound (340 grams) ripe plums, cored and sliced

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Cube the butter and add it to the dry ingredients by rubbing it between your fingers until the dough resembles coarse sand. Add the lightly whisked egg and vanilla extract, folding the mixture until the dough comes together with a uniform appearance.

Form dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes, or until cold.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Line a 9-inch tart pan with parchment.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a 12-inch circle. Transfer into the tart pan and trim the edges. To blind bake, line the inside of the dough with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans to help the dough keep its shape while baking (alternatively, you can also poke the bottom of the pan with a fork several dozen times). Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Remove weights and parchment, if necessary. Keep the oven temperature at 350 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, vanilla extract, almond extract, and salt. Stir in the almond flour until uniform. Spread the filling evenly into the tart shell with an offset spatula.

Place the plum slices upright in the filling and press down gently. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the almond filling is baked through and appears lightly browned. Cool to room temperature before slicing and serving.

Blueberry Basil Galette

The heat of summer has settled in, bringing lazy afternoons, layers of sunscreen, and produce ripening on the vine. In the Upper Midwest, locally grown fruit and vegetables are finally making their way into the markets. Blueberries are one of my favorite summer fruits (for years now, I've enjoyed a half cup of berries in my morning cereal). While I regularly use fresh and frozen berries in my baking, I hold out for the farmer's market blueberries for my berry-centric desserts. When the berries first appear at the market, I make it a habit to pick up a weekly purchase of two pints, exchanging new recipe ideas with the farmer each week.

These sweet blueberries have a rich, concentrated flavor with a depth I haven't found anywhere else. It should come as no surprise that the quality of fruit dictates the quality of the finished product when it comes to fruit-based desserts. While I adore the blueberries fresh from the vine, butter and sugar have a way of making anything taste even better.

Earlier this summer, I bought a basil plant for the kitchen—a promising start to what I hoped would become a small herb garden. In a few short weeks, the basil quickly began taking over the counter top. It now towers an inch shy of 3 feet over the kitchen sink (which means I have much more basil than I know what to do with). As a result, the basil has been unexpectedly finding its way into dishes.

With this free-form galette, I tossed together the chopped basil and fresh blueberries before folding up the pie crust and placing it in the oven to bake. The basil adds a subtle, but present flavor to the galette, adding a new dimension to the classic blueberry flavor. I like to believe it brings out the flavors of summer.

This Blueberry Basil Galette features a sweet blueberry filling held within a buttery, flaky crust. Almond flour is sprinkled below the berries to absorb the blueberry juices as it bakes and to keep the crust crisp. With chopped basil to add a unique twist, friends and family will be sure to enjoy this summer dessert.

One Year Ago: Chocolate Chunk Coconut Oil Cookies & Homemade Almond Milk
Two Years Ago: Banana Peanut Butter Green Smoothie & Cherry Hand Pies
Three Years Ago: Lavender Vanilla Cake & Plum Almond Galette
Four Years Ago:  Berry Cheesecake Tarts, Mint Sugar, Frozen Strawberry Bars, Coconut Sorbet, & Cherry Almond Crumble
Five Years Ago: Cherry Cream Cheese Muffins, Blueberry Breakfast Quinoa, Vegan Brownies, Banana Peanut Butter Protein Smoothie, Chocolate Cherry Cake, Coconut Scones, & Roasted Strawberry Coconut Ice Cream
Six Years Ago: Blueberry Hand Pies, Harry Potter Treats, Cauldron Cakes, Butterbeer, & Butterbeer Cupcakes
Seven Years Ago: Mocha FrappuccinoBlueberry Lime Panna Cotta, & Grilled Peaches

Blueberry Basil Galette

Yields 6-8 servings, depending on size

1/3 cup (38 grams) almond flour*
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar**
1 1/2 pints (18 oz or 510 grams) fresh blueberries
Large handful (about 1/4 cup) fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
Recipe for single crust pie dough 
Egg wash (1 large egg + 1 tablespoon water, whisked)
2 tablespoons demerara or raw sugar, for sprinkling

In a small bowl, whisk together almond flour, all-purpose flour, and granulated sugar together. Set aside.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pie dough into a circle roughly 1/8-inch thick and approximately 14 inches in diameter. Spread the almond flour mixture evenly over the pie dough, leaving a 2-inch border around the outside. Layer the fresh blueberries and chopped basil over the almond flour mixture. Fold up the pie dough over the filling, pleating the dough every two or so inches. Brush the visible pie dough with egg wash and sprinkle the demerara sugar evenly over the dough and the filling. Refrigerate for 20-30 minutes to firm up the crust.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (204 degrees C).

Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the blueberries have released their juices. Cool slightly before serving. Serve with a topping of whipped cream or side of vanilla ice cream.

*To make almond flour, process almonds in a food processor until fine.
**Add more or less to taste, depending on the sweetness of the berries.