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I believe that salt is to food, what food is to life. In right proportions, it can heighten the taste of what you eat..and in the wrong - destroy! Even the most delicious sweets come added with some salt...to taste!

As for me, I've never enjoyed cooking. And as contrary to my owning a food-blog as it may sound, I always think about daily, routine cooking as a chore. But my tryst with the pots and pans began when I got a kitchen all to myself...I began experimenting and exploring new worlds in my own home. Some outcomes were excellent and some plain disasters. Then sprouted the need to keep track of all those good ones...and hence this blog!

Here, I share those experiments that pleased more than one palate!

September 30, 2011

Caramel Macchiato

You knew something on these lines was coming, didn't you? If I've made caramel, then I was going to use it somewhere! Okay...Okay! You win this one time. But, there's a little thing you don't know. Ah! Now I have you're attention. So, read on.

You're aware of the Free-Spirit Bloggers by now. Well, as cliched as it may sound but time has flown by since this group of bloggers was founded. It's been a good six months. We had our share of fun making interesting appetizers, challenging bakes, imitation food and nostalgic entrees to mention a few themes from the past. This time I suggested to my buddies on the group that we should kick back and take a break. A coffee break, at that! And that was the basis of my theme.

What better way than to put all our heads together and come up with coffee based drinks served up at your favorite coffee-shop? I named this theme 'Cafe Casa', to mean that you bring the Cafe to your Casa (home) and invited all my FSB pals to bring on their best coffee-based drinks!

You will find that some of them made a snack to accompany the drink, too, so they create a very cafe like ambiance. Also, I shared this website with my friends to give them various ideas on the kind of drink they can make. But, knowing this group of bloggers, I don't think they even needed this kind of an heads-up!

So, that pretty much rounds up the theme that we FSB-ites had for September - Cafe Casa!

Here's my part of the story. Once, I am done with this, I will share links of all the other drinks (and snacks, if applicable) that all other Free-Spirit Bloggers have come up with.

I'm not sure about you, but every time I hit the lines of modern day coffee-shops my eyes are rolling all over their menu wondering and wandering like a deer that wanted to stroll in the well-known limits of the wilderness but lost its way and was left bewildered in the middle of New York City.

So, for all those wide-eyed mob of deer out there, gaping at the coffee shop menu, this month the Free-spirit bloggers are here to solve a few mysteries. Mysteries of the coffee shop! Join us as we recreate the coffee shop drinks at home without any fancy equipment. Welcome to Cafe Casa!

I'm not big coffee drinker myself. But, being raised in Bangalore, I've had my share of 'filter kaapi', especially after downing a large, butter-laden masala dosa at the next-door restaurant all my childhood. Coffee took a backseat when tea entered my life. But, all of last month I lost count of the number of coffee cups I gulped down just to make this one drink that I so love in my favorite coffee shop - Starbucks. Oh yea, S.T.A.R.B.U.C.K.S!! So fancy, so accessible and so very compelling to all of your senses. Hot or Cold. Drenched in whipped cream or just a simple latte. They have it ALL.

Over the last couple months I kept hopping in and out of every Starbucks cafe I passed by, trying different drinks they offered. Here's what pleased me the most - Caramel Macchiato. This drink is served both cold and hot. I tried the hot one on a unusually cold day in late summer and was in love with it. Light coffee (which pleases someone who likes milky coffee), sweet notes of caramel and warm frothy milk. Bliss!

So, before we jump into how to make this surreal temptation, let's get down to some history and science. First up, history.

Caramel Macchiato is a variant of the original drink called Cafe Macchiato, caramel being the extra factor (X-factor, tee hee!). Macchiato in Italian literally translates to 'stained', which refers to the way coffee/espresso is 'stained' with steamed/frothed milk.

Now, let's move on to the science of this drink - The steamed or frothed milk. Did you know steaming or frothing milk is an art that baristas across coffee-shops have to know like the back of their hands? Oh yeah. It is the very basis of a plethora of coffee based drinks. So, yes the equation for this drink is simple. Caramel + Espresso + Steamed Milk = Caramel Macchiato.

Before you conclude that you can simply whip this up in no time, think again. It took me a good gallon of reduced fat milk and about 3 weeks until I figured out the exact way to get that froth you see on top of that cuppa. Still, I'm not too satisfied with it.

I made Caramel Sauce at home, to give this drink a complete 'Homemade' tag. If you've missed that recipe, read it here. So, like I said, I was trying hard to get the foamed milk on my coffee, which means I had to first start off by learning to make Lattes, which are a combination of espresso and steamed milk.

Once, I mastered the steamed milk to a certain extent (as far as possible it was without any equipment at home), I made my first caramel macchiato which you see below. I hated why I poured it in that wine glass. It was the only one I found (before I bought what you see above) and I decided I will sip out of it anyway!

If you ask for this drink at Starbucks, they serve it with their signature caramel crosshatch on top of the foamed milk. This was something I was unable to recreate. I fumbled, stumbled and fell on my face in despair. But, well, there's always a next time!

I'll get down to the recipe now. So, now that you know this is very much a do-it-yourself fancy coffee drink, what's stopping you?

I've broken the procedure into two portions. One where you make the frothed/steamed milk and another where you put together the caramel macchiato.

When making drinks in the coffee shop, baristas use a lot of equipment, techniques, flavors, shots and appropriate proportions to make a glass/cup of a drink. Since this is a very homemade approach, I have used simple terminology and measurements such as cups, teaspoons et. al.

Frothed Steamed Milk Recipe
Recipe Sources: I found two methods on Youtube, which I've shared here and explained what I did, as well. (I followed Method 2)
Method 1 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Moiw7Vi_Rjw
Method 2 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4leislQVGA&feature=related

300 ml Reduced Fat Milk

A microwave safe bowl/cup
A bottle with a cap that closes tightly

- Warm milk in the microwave safe bowl/cup for about one minute
- Pour warm milk into the bottle and close it tightly
- Shake the bottle vigorously, using an up and down motion, like you would when you want to mix ingredients in the bottle, for about one minute
- Frothy milk will stay afloat on top
- Set aside and use when needed

Caramel Macchiato Recipe
I conjured up this recipe on my own after having it a couple of times at Starbucks. It's not 100% there, but I'd say its close to a good 90% sans the fancy caramel crosshatch.

Before we get into this recipe, I'd like to give you some information about the difference between coffee (what we call as coffee decoction in India) and espresso. These are NOT the same. Coffee is obtained when you brew roast and ground beans. So does espresso, but the similarity ends there. Coffee is loosely packed and brewed in a coffee filter/machine. Espresso on the other hand is tightly packed and brewed under high pressure, rendering a thick textured liquid with a 'crema', or light,bubbly foam on top.

Caramel Macchiato is a layered drink, and that's what I've aimed at here.

1/3 Cup of dark roast coffee (Since I do not possess a coffee machine, but an Indian coffee filter, I brewed a dark roast in the same to derive a rather thin coffee. But if you own a coffee machine, go ahead and and brew espresso and use just about 1/4th Cup for this recipe)
3 to 4 tbsp of Caramel Sauce (Use less or more as per your liking for the amount of sweetness in your drink)
1/4 tsp Vanilla Essence
Frothed/Steamed Milk (as much as you make from the method above)

- Make hot coffee/espresso and measure out 1/3 OR 1/2 Cup, respectively
- Add vanilla to the hot coffee/espresso
- Make Frothed/Steamed milk as per the above method and set aside
- In the serving glass, spoon in the caramel at the bottom
- Slowly pour the milk-part of the frothed milk (Hold a spoon against the mouth of the bottle so as to keep the froth from falling into the glass). The milk will stay on top of the thick caramel sauce
- Now, gradually pour the hot coffee/espresso in the glass and watch the colors of the coffee and milk mingle while the caramel stays intact. It's a beautiful sight!
- Top off with with the froth and serve

Drinking Tip - Stir before drinking to mix in the caramel OR better yet, drink as is with a straw and enjoy the marriage of the flavors in your mouth!

Makes one tall, it-calls-my-name glass of caramel macchiato. Perfect for fall or just whenever you're in the mood.

I will update this post with what the other FSB-ites have for you as soon as they have their posts up. So make yourself a caramel macchiatio and stick around for some coffee action!


  1. Deepti, I do not even want to think back the number of attempts that has in the last month made me drink so much coffee, that I can stay awake like an owl for the rest of this year!
    I enjoyed the many trials though, and a big thank you to have given the caramel sauce recipe that I made mine at home too.
    Insee the froth in your (wine) glass and sigh! I did not get it as nearly as that!

  2. I shall surely make this for my hubbby. He loves coffee and I too recently made some caramel sauce and its sitting in the fridge...

  3. Marvellous drink, simply irresistible..

  4. Hi Deepti,
    Yummy recipe. Thanks for sharing. But I use coffee for an another reason. Curious? Then check out this link & tell me what u think of this?


  5. Sooo easy..and tempting. Going to try it this weekend..yum..!