Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Serendipitous Froth

Until this morning I believed that there were three ways of making frothed milk, that precious commodity that adds that little soupcon of elegance that I so crave. 1) Purchase an espresso machine that includes a milk-steaming feature (cost = $$$), 2) purchase a milk-frothing gadget (cost = $), or heat milk in a saucepan until steaming but not boiling and hold a whisk between your palms and rub your hands back and forth to spin the whisk as rapidly as possible (cost = elbow grease)


There is another way.

This morning there was no coffee in the house (and by coffee I actually mean espresso. ‘Stache and I do not have a coffee pot, which distresses and somehow surprises my parents every time they visit. Instead we have an espresso pot*, which takes up less space. Depending on our mood, we add hot water to the espresso to make americanos, which are essentially identical to regular coffee, or we add hot milk to make lattes.) However, I did have 6 ice cubes of espresso in the freezer. And I had a fairly snazzy KitchenAid food processor (made more perfect by the fact I paid only $2 for it). And I really love frappuccinos. The path before me was obvious.

6 ice cubes of espresso, 1 cup of milk, 1 tsp of sugar, a confident 15 seconds of pressing the “ON” button … did not produce a frappuccino. Apparently the ice to liquid ratio was too low. What it did produce, however, was more than 2 cups of coffee-flavored cold froth.

Now most of the time, frothed milk is a cup of steaming hot milk with a quarter to half inch of froth at the top. You pour in the espresso, and the milk underneath the froth mixes with it and you have a cappuccino or something similar, depending on your proportions. This was not that. This was solid froth from top to bottom and it was cold. It was fluffy and frothy and felt like a treat, even though it was very ordinary ingredients that I drink nearly every morning.

I did it again using plain milk with no ice to see if it would work, and it did. It made froth more than double the volume of the milk I put in. The boys were enchanted with this lovely treat and lobbied to have their turn drinking from my cup.   

This would be a great technique if you were trying to reduce the amount of coffee you drank in the morning, as you could continue to drink the same volume of coffee and milk, while stepping down your actual caffeine intake. I think we’re going to mostly use it to make a quick, extremely cheap treat for the boys. Milk + vanilla + sugar + 15 seconds = dessert!  

*Gratuitous pictures of the boys from when they were little and cute. Instead of huge and cute. More current pictures coming soon, I promise.* 

Not sure if Munchkin is hugging Twinkle or using him as a pillow.

*For the uninitiated, an espresso machine is different from an espresso pot. The latter is simple, fairly cheap, and you put it on a stove eye to use it. The former is usually quite complicated, offers all kinds of options, is about 10x more expensive, and is an appliance that you plug in. 

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