When I was growing up, there was no such thing as a coffee shop in my hometown, and while I was at college in Panama City going through my first degree program, we only had local coffee shops. There were two in town, and both were the perfect little hometown-type coffee shops where local musicians came to play, and people congregated inside and shared delicious homemade desserts while playing cards or old board games. When we came to Orlando to go to the University of Central Florida (now the second biggest college in the nation for enrollment), we couldn’t find a little coffee shop anywhere. On every street corner were the popular Starbucks, but since my husband and I are both so anti-corporate, when it comes to food anyway, we resisted. However, a former coworker kept raving about how wonderful Caramel Macchiatos from Starbucks were, and how I just had to try one. He took me by Starbucks the next day for one at lunch, and the rest is history.
I have had a deep love for Caramel Macchiatos ever since, but hate the calories and the high price tag. I only have them once in a while, and almost always make them at home to save on cost. It’s really easy to make them at home, especially if you have an espresso machine, but you can also make them with hot milk frothed in a blender and very strong coffee.
Caramel Macchiato Recipe
2 tablespoons vanilla syrup (recipe follows)
1/2 cup fresh espresso
1 cup milk, steamed and frothy with foam
3-4 tablespoons caramel sauce (I used the same jarred caramel sauce that is sold as an ice cream topping)
For the vanilla syrup:
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. To make the vanilla syrup, combine sugar and water in a sauce pan. Bring to boil over high heat and boil for 5 minutes. Let cool and add vanilla extract. Stir well and keep in a sealed container, refrigerated.
2. To make coffee, either use an espresso machine to make coffee and steam milk, or heat milk until hot, but not boiling, on stove-top and transfer to a blender. Blend until frothy. For espresso, if you don’t have a machine, just make double strength coffee.
3. Add vanilla syrup, espresso or strong coffee, and hot milk to mug. Add caramel sauce and serve.