Trisha’s Note: Today I finish up my year on The Simple Year blog, and I’m feeling a little emotional about it — it’s been a very intense zero waste project. So to simutanously celebrate / wash away my sorrows, here’s a post detailing how to make iced coffee and vanilla syrup. Apparently this is my fourth year on the bandwagon. P.S. Just last night I added a cinnamon stick to the syrup to see what would happen. Huh, who knew I was such a genius? P.P.S. Any idea how many I can drink before it just gets pathetic?
Confession: I’m sort of addicted to Pinterest. And by “sort of addicted,” I mean “I check it like six times a day.” This is slightly hilarious and kind of unexplainable because I cannot take anything on there very seriously. Half of the pins are for things that are completely unattainable and the other half are crafts (or “craps,” as Johanna used to say, which is way more accurate). I guess I just like seeing what crazy junk people are pinning. I like a good laugh, as well as self-righteous snorting.
But anyway, last summer this pin from The Pioneer Woman blog was making the rounds:
Perfect. Iced. Coffee. Really, what about this isn’t a win? So I pinned it. And then forgot about it. And then when I remembered again it was winter.
I’ve been going through an iced coffee phase lately, though, and those things are starting to add up. So I’m all like, hey, didn’t I pin something like this once? and then I scrolled through my recipe board and yep, sure enough, sometimes my optimism pays off.
Scanning the blog, I quickly deduced that Ree’s recipe calls for one pound of ground coffee and two gallons of water. Let me repeat that: TWO GALLONS OF WATER. While I have no doubt that my family of four could put away two gallons of coffee-infused awesome, I don’t have anything that would actually hold that amount, both in the soaking and in the storing. So I adapted it, if you can call it that, because: You’re just soaking coffee grounds in water all day. This isn’t rocket science, people.
The Trisha Way: 1/4 pound of ground coffee, 2 quarts water, stirred up in my biggest pot. Then I added a little more water to rinse the coffee grounds from the side, which immediately went back up the side as soon as I moved the pot. Whatever, just let the coffee be for at least eight hours. I went more like 10, I think, I don’t know, details are boring. It’s the concept anyway, not the amounts.
I don’t own cheesecloth, so I put a couple layers of paper towel in my mesh colander to separate the grounds from the liquid gold. (UPDATE: Now I use an old kitchen towel.) This worked quite well. I put the liquid gold in a couple quart jars and capped them off and stuck them in the coldest part of my refrigerator.
Because if I’m going to go big, I’m going to go BIG, I did a quick search for homemade vanilla coffee syrup, and thank you, Google, I found one from Paula Deen. Iced coffee with a shot of vanilla? That’s like my favorite thing ever.
Since this was my first time to the dance with this recipe, I halved it. I like to know what I’m getting into before I make a commitment, you know? What I learned is that I should have just made the full amount because at the rate my family is going, it’s not going to last probably two days.
The Trisha Way: 1 1/2 cups sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 2 cups water, all stirred up over medium heat for like 10 minutes until it gets syrupy, and then 2 tablespoons homemade vanilla extract when it’s cooled down, put into another quart jar because apparently that’s all I own. (Update: Now I use a repurposed Pendleton whiskey bottle because why would I not?)
Putting it all together: Fill a glass with ice, add liquid gold/chilled coffee base half-way up the glass, then add milk the rest of the way up the glass, and then, of course, add vanilla syrup to taste. Stir that puppy up and be ever so pleased with yourself.
I’m serious, people: Aside from the cleaning recipes I gleaned online, this is the best thing the Internet has ever done for me, period. Abby is ever so impressed with me, and even Eric announced he could drink that all day — and he’s not a coffee person. Johanna, who IS my coffee person, took a drink and then promptly forgot about it. Huh. I CANNOT WAIT to take this into work with me today. It’s like I have a coffee house in my kitchen.
Repeat, repeat, repeat, all summer long. Hooray! I love when something works out better than expected!