But my friend placed her order first. Something kind of hard to pronounce, but had the word "caramel" in it, so I figured I'd just order the same thing. And it was love at first sip! The sweet, buttery caramel sauce, the smooth, lingering flavor of vanilla--I can pinpoint it to the day when I became a coffee lover. All because of a Caramel Macchiato.
And I've been a Caramel Macchiato fan for over a decade now. But in early 2010, when I started dieting for our wedding, I started counting calories. Have you ever tried to religiously count calories before? Let me tell you, it is damn depressing!
Just look at my beloved, 5 times a week morning pick-me-up:
Ugh, 270 calories just for a drink! And if you had this with 2%, it goes up to 330 calories. Just the caramel sauce alone is 160 calories for 2 tablespoons.
(My special occasion stash!)
So that is when I, very, very sadly, gave up my Caramel Macchiatos (although I did reward myself with one on the morning of our wedding!). I instead switched to Iced Venti Skinny Vanilla Lattes, which only had 110 calories.
It was never as satisfying though.
But a year and a half after I gave up Caramel Macchiatos, I've finally found a way to swap out a lot of the calories, and still get the rich caramel taste that I love. By making my own version at home with this yummy creamer!
The International Delights Coffee House Inspirations Caramel Macchiato flavor is pretty dang good. And this is coming from someone who has never been a fan of creamers before. I'm really glad I gave it a chance when I happened to spot it at the grocery store. The best part though? Only 35 calories per tablespoon!
To make my lower calorie Caramel Macchiato at home, I use three pumps of Starbucks Sugar Free Vanilla Syrup (I order it several bottles at a time from here, since I like it way better than the Torani vanilla syrup you can get at the grocery store. Trust me, the syrup definitely makes a difference when trying to imitate the Starbucks taste.).
(I also measured it, in case you don't have a syrup pump. 3 pumps is about 1 2/3rds tablespoons. But since it's calorie-free, you can use as much or as little as you want. For reference, a venti skinny vanilla latte has 6 pumps of vanilla syrup.)
Now, when you make a regular Caramel Macchiato, you layer the ingredients as: syrup, milk, espresso shots, ice, caramel sauce. But because I use creamer instead of milk (and I was always guilty of stirring the regular Caramel Macchiatos as soon as they were made), the order doesn't matter, as long as you add the ice last.
So after adding my syrup, I brew three shots of espresso (5 calories per shot, for 15 calories total) and add them to my glass.
Then in goes 2 tablespoons of the creamer (35 calories per tablespoon, for 70 calories total).
Followed by a couple of handfuls of ice.
Stir, and you've got a yummy imitation Caramel Macchiato, for only 85 calories!
SO much better than 270 calories, and it's a very close match in taste. Plus, you don't have to worry about your straw getting clogged up with caramel sauce anymore.
The only drawback is that when you're using creamer and not milk, you are missing out on some of your regular calcium intake. So that's why I keep a bottle of multivitamins next to my espresso machine, and I take one with my coffee every morning. It's a win-win, since I get my calcium, plus a lot of other vitamins, and I'm saving a ton of calories every morning.
***Oh, and by the way, if you're not a fan of iced coffee like I am (I drink it year round), the same recipe works well for a hot drink as well. 3 pumps of vanilla syrup, 3 shots of espresso, 2 tablespoons of creamer, stir and drink! And still only 85 calories.***
Do you have a favorite coffee shop drink? Have you ever looked up how many calories are in your favorite coffee? Counting calories has made me realize just how ridiculous most of my favorite food and drinks really are!