I’ve had to get creative with my coffee lately. I’ve done pretty well avoiding dairy ever since my Whole30 detox, probably because it wasn’t one of my main vices to begin with — but when I’m not in the mood for black coffee, I go straight for the half and half. I’ve tried substitutions like almond milk, and made bold efforts to convince myself that the flavor was similar enough…but it just plain wasn’t.
Now it’s confession time. I recently went on a trip to Virginia Beach with Dave, and where there’s an east coast beach, there’s a Wawa. There’s a lotta Wawa. Wawa is my favorite gas station stop in the entire universe to get quick, cheap, roasted-sometime-last-century, drip coffee. I love it. Their hazelnut is the best. I usually mix it with a little bit of their decaf, and (here it comes) a big ‘ol splash of their hazelnut flavored Wawa-brand coffee creamer. Oh my word, it’s so delicious. It’s amazing. It’s wonderful. Basically, I had it every night for the 4 nights we were there. Needless to say, when we got back home, the cravings were in full swing. That’s pretty much what inspired this here recipe. I was needing more than just the richness of dairy in my coffee, I needed sweetness too…and something a little extra like hazelnut or vanilla!
Well, I’m finally satisfied. This coconut milk-based, date-sweetened, fresh vanilla bean-infused creamer combined with my favorite FRESHLY-roasted beans from Fresh Ground Roasting puts my Wawa fantasies to shame. And that is saying a LOT! So I hope you try this, and I hope you love it. And for those of you sneaking a 16 oz. drip coffee from the local gas station at 11PM, I get it. Enjoy it, then go home, order some real beans and make this!
Medjool Date + Vanilla Bean Café Au Lait De Coco
Yields about 6 servings
1 (14 oz.) can of full fat coconut milk (I used Thai Kitchen)
the seeds and pods of 2 vanilla beans
2 Medjool dates, pitted and coarsely chopped
1 pot of fresh coffee, about 16 oz. or more (I used Fresh Ground Roasting’s Papua New Guinea Madan Estate, and brewed in a Chemex. Learn how to use a Chemex here!)
Bring the coconut milk to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat.
Remove from heat and add the vanilla seeds and pods. Cover and steep for 1 hour.
Strain the vanilla-infused coconut milk into a food processor (being sure that the bean pods are removed) and add the chopped dates. Process until smooth. The mixture will be flecked with bits of the date skin and vanilla bean seeds.
Add about 1/4 cup of the sweetened cream to each mug or glass, and top with hot coffee. Stir and serve!
The goodies I used in this post:
– Chemex from Fresh Ground Roasting
– Kobenstyle Butter Warmer (which I use as a mini sauce pan) from Amazon
– Tumblers from Anthropologie
(they don’t carry the white-rimmed ones anymore, but the silver-rimmed are adorable!!)