Coffee. Mmmm… coffee.
After college, I worked as a barista until I could get a teaching job. It was easily my favorite job in that pay range.
Customer service can be a tricky business. People who come to you need a problem solved, or they need to check off an errand so they can get on with their lives. Whether you are working the grocery check-out line, answering phones, or working the fast food drive through, you probably encounter some grumpy people.
But in a coffee shop, it’s a different experience.
People usually like getting coffee. Whether they are in a hurry or whether they want to sit and study a couple hours, they know coffee is about to improve their day.
I also loved sampling the drinks and being able to play with the different flavors. There are so many possibilities for a range of taste preferences.
A classic espresso drink is the caramel macchiato. This drinkable heaven is likely to be enjoyed by any sweet latte lover. At many American coffee shops, a caramel macchiato is essentially a latte with vanilla flavoring and caramel drizzle. It’s unique in that it’s prepared upside down. The milk is steamed and mixed with a little vanilla syrup. The espresso shots are poured in on top to “mark” the foam, and then the cup gets some caramel drizzle in a lovely cross-hatch pattern. (Note that a true Italian macchiato is something slightly different, generally with a higher ratio of espresso to milk and not so sweet.)
Today, I originally intended to post about caramel sauce. And I will… but I wanted to put it in a recipe. I mean, we could all eat caramel sauce by the spoon, but probably don’t need to… (although, I don’t suppose I need caramel macchiatos either, so perhaps the point is moot). 🙂
Anyway, I concocted this caramel macchiato for that purpose, and it was delicious. Every bit as creamy and sweet as a coffee shop caramel macchiato. 🙂
This drink is perfect for the espresso drink lover on a budget. Whip yourself up a batch of caramel sauce, and make this at home with brewed coffee. You probably have everything else. Authentic? No. Delicious? Yes.
I confess that if you’re a coffee connoisseur who cares a great deal about the “marking” aspect of a macchiato (or espresso versus brewed coffee), this recipe will likely not impress you. There’s no epsresso mark (although, there is a lovely caramel mark). But if you like the taste of a caramel macchiato, this is for you.
Caramel Macchiato (serves 1)
- 1 coffee cup of brewed coffee (hot)
- sugar to taste (or your sweetener of choice)
- 1 drop vanilla extract
- half and half to taste (or your milk/cream of choice)
- 1 spoonful of caramel sauce (whatever kind you like, my recipe for today is below)
- To your hot coffee, add sugar and vanilla. (I used a medium spoonful of sugar… I have a very serious sweet tooth.)
- To create a foam top for your mock macchiato, shake up your half and half a smidge before pouring it in. I used at least a couple tablespoons… “Would you like a little coffee with your cream and sugar, miss?” 😉
- Drizzle your caramel over the foam in a cross-hatch pattern. The larger drops of caramel may fall through… no worries, just extra caramel for the sweet tooth. 🙂
- Admire your food art, then stir to dissolve all that caramel goodness.
- Sip slowly and enjoy your day!
Creamy Caramel Sauce (makes about 1/2 cup)
- 15 caramels
- 3 TBSP heavy whipping cream
*For a smaller or larger recipe, add and subtract 5 caramels for each tablespoon of cream.
- Unwrap desired amount of caramels and place in a small saucepan. Add cream.
- Heat over low heat, stirring frequently, then constantly as the mixture gets hotter to prevent burning. About 5-8 minutes.
- Remove from heat and use in recipe.
- Store caramel sauce in the refrigerator. Reheat before using if you require a drizzle-able sauce.
*Notes: This is an easy and fairly tasty recipe for caramel sauce, especially if you have caramels on hand. I like that it’s easy to change the amount, and that it doesn’t have many ingredients. And it truly was wonderful in the caramel macchiato. But it’s not my favorite ever. If you have the time and/or expertise, I recommend either caramelizing your own sugar for the sauce (this can be difficult) or try one of the mock caramel brown sugar recipes (I want to try the Pioneer Woman’s caramel sauce recipe — looks easy and I think produces more consistent results than caramelizing your own sugar.) Happy saucing! 🙂
Enjoy! And as always, have a scrumptious day!
*Update: I also made this with The Pioneer Woman’s caramel sauce. Delicious!