Traverse City Record-Eagle

June 28, 2010

Foodie With Family: Peel me off ceiling

Local columnist

---- — I am a total wimp when it comes to caffeine, much to the dismay of my parents, siblings and husband, each of whom has gradually replaced the plasma in their blood with super-strong coffee. A normal human receives a pleasant energy boost from a cup of coffee that helps them get through the day. That same cuppa joe shoots me up to the ceiling where I hang, gecko-style, like a nervous Chihuahua with a jittery rictus-like smile until the caffeine wears off or someone pries me down.

Most of the year this is not a problem. In the winter I happily sip my hot tea and keep my feet firmly planted on the ground.

But, oh, when it is hot outside I am a glutton for punishment. I love the taste of coffee and anything made with it; I can't get enough of mocha brownies, coffee ice cream and red-eye gravy. And I am a sucker for an ice-cold mocha frappe or iced latte. I'm powerless against creamy, sweet, blended frozen coffee drinks crowned with piles of whipped cream and drizzled with chocolate or caramel syrup. I drink my iced coffees and the kids find a long-handled broom to knock me down from the roof. I like to think of it as a summer family tradition.

That's the other part of the tradition; around here, iced coffees are made with honest-to-Pete, hardcore, hair-on-your-chest coffee. Why not make the iced coffees with decaffeinated java? I have only my taste buds to blame. If you — unlike me — don't think decaf tastes like it was boiled in a rusty metal pan and filtered through a dirty sweat sock, you're welcome to make that substitution.

Being who I am, I am constitutionally incapable of paying someone good money (and those iced coffee drinks do cost good money, ringing in at $3 each at a minimum) to make something I am more than capable of producing in my own kitchen.

Iced coffee drinks are more than just inexpensive when made in the home kitchen; they're simple.

I have three different customizable iced coffee recipes for you to try out. All of them are simple, but the three approaches use differing amounts of hands-off waiting time.

MacGyver Iced Lattes start with a hot shot of espresso or double-strength coffee and give you icy relief using nothing more than a Mason jar and a couple extra ingredients; no duct tape or chewing gum required. Iced mocha frappes take a blender and one extra step to put you on the road to cool with just a few more seconds of preparation time.

And super thick coffee froths — an oldie but goodie straight from The Evil Genius — take a couple hours of forethought, but not much else.

As a bonus, super thick coffee froths are a good way to use up leftover coffee.

MacGyver Iced Lattes

A generous ⅓ c. (3 ozs.) of fresh double- or triple-strength coffee

1 c. (8 ozs.) cold milk

1 T. sugar or 1½ T. chocolate syrup

1 c. ice (preferably crushed)

Optional, but tasty:

Whipped cream

Additional chocolate syrup for drizzling

Pour the coffee, cold milk and sugar or chocolate syrup into a clean quart jar that has a tight fitting lid.

Screw the lid on tightly and shake well. You may want to shake over the sink as this sometimes leaks a little.

Add the ice to the jar, replace the lid tightly and shake very well for 30 seconds.

If desired, you can pour into a clean glass, top with whipped cream and additional chocolate syrup or just sip as is with a straw!

Iced Mocha Frappes

A generous ⅓ cup (3 ozs.) of fresh double- or triple-strength coffee

1 c. (8 ozs.) cold milk

2 T. chocolate syrup

1 c. ice (preferably crushed)

Optional, but tasty:

Whipped cream

Additional chocolate syrup for drizzling

Add coffee, milk, chocolate syrup and ice to a blender carafe.

Add lid and process until smooth.

If desired, drizzle a little chocolate syrup down the insides of the glass before pouring in the Iced Mocha Frappe.

Top with mounds of whipped cream.

Drizzle a little more chocolate syrup over the top and beware the brain freeze!

Super Thick Coffee Froths

1 c. (8 ozs.) double- or triple-strength coffee, fresh or leftover

¼ c. (1.75 ozs.) granulated sugar

1 c. (8 ozs.) cold milk

Optional but tasty:

Whipped Cream

Additional chocolate syrup

Use a whisk to stir the coffee and sugar together until the sugar dissolves. Pour into ice cube trays and freeze until solid all the way through.

Add 4 sweetened coffee ice cubes to the blender with the milk.

Pulse until the cubes are broken up and then process until smooth, adding more milk if necessary. Check the froth.

If it needs to be sweeter, add a little chocolate syrup and pulse three or four times.

Pour into a tall, cold glass and top with whipped cream and chocolate syrup.

For a heartier helping of Foodie With Family, go to or Rebecca's new blog, Write to Rebecca at to share your adventures and favorite recipes. For more of Rebecca's Record-Eagle columns, log on to