When I lived in Minneapolis in 2012, my neighborhood cozied around a small coffee shop nestled diagonally from my apartment building in Uptown. Spyhouse Coffee was where I had my first sip of lavender in a vanilla duo latte named The Spygirl.
Lavender! At the time, I couldn’t even remember what lavender smelled like, let alone had I any idea what it was supposed to taste like, but I was delighted all the same. I enjoyed the tiny hot cup gifted to me at the time, later realizing the wonderful powers of this indigo flower.
Today, lavender is among many scents and flavors that I know very well. It can be found in my kitchen cabinet, among assorted teas on the counter, in soaps and lotions I keep in the bathroom, and hanging in little linen sachets all over my closet.
I am of the many who enjoys the relaxing and soothing scent of lavender. Too, I have experimented with it in my culinary adventures – one of such recipes I am eager to share with you today.
Either it’s our accumulation of coffee makers or the cool wind of fall that has me eager to prepare a cup of coffee more regularly than I had through the warmer months. I don’t just drink coffee to drink it. It isn’t a habit either, I’ll admit. I go a few days or a week without having a cup, but something always rings true come winter: there will be lavender and there will be coffee.
That’s just how it is.
So, in today’s recipe I break down the steps I take to make a wonderful floral cream and a delicious rich coffee that will keep you coming back again and again to your stovetop. It’s up to you if you choose to keep this recipe in your box, but as your dear friend, I highly recommend it.
Lavender & Vanilla Coffee Cream
1C organic whole milk
1C organic heavy whipping cream
1/8-¼TSP dried lavender buds
¼ vanilla bean (the half cut, then split lengthwise, seeds removed on one side, bean saved)
1TSP organic maple syrup (optional)
¼TSP beef gelatin, preferably grass-fed (optional)
4TBSP whole bean coffee
Fine mesh sieve
Milk frother or immersion blender
Bialetti Moka Pot
1. Heat milk and heavy whipping cream on MEDIUM-LOW in a medium-sized sauce pan, until steaming, but not boiling.
2. As you wait for the milk to steam, add lavender and vanilla seeds (and bean) to the sauce pan. Whisk together until milk forms bubbles (just for fun) to combine.
3. Once the milk steams and is hot to the touch, remove from heat, cover with a lid, and allow to steep for 5 minutes.
4. Grind coffee beans to a medium-coarse grind (not too fine). Fill Bialetti Moka Pot with cold water until just below the “inspectable valve” inside the base. Place funnel-shaped filter inside the base and loosely add freshly ground coffee. Be sure there are no grounds on the rim of the funnel before firmly tightening the coffee pot to the base.
5. Place prepared Moka Pot on stovetop burner and set the heat to MEDIUM-LOW. Allow water to heat and coffee to brew fully, about 10 minutes.
6. Once the lavender and vanilla have steeped 5 minutes, strain the buds from the milk by pouring through a mesh sieve into a separate cup. Remove vanilla bean and place inside creamer bottle (if desired).
7. Add desired amount of maple syrup and beef gelatin to the cream. Stir or shake with a closed cap to combine. Pour cream into creamer bottle, reserving ¼C for one serving or ½C for two.
8. Pour appropriate amount of the lavender & vanilla cream into a small sauce pan (or cezve – Turkish coffee maker) and heat on MEDIUM heat until steaming again. Once the milk steams and is hot to the touch, remove from heat.
9.Once the coffee brews fully, pour into two 8 oz. cups. Pour the hot milk over the coffee until the coffee is lighter in color by half. Froth the remaining milk inside the small sauce pan or cezve until the milk grows immensely in volume (often filling the cezve with foam).
10. Pour a layer of foam atop each cup and sprinkle with a few lavender buds for an extra touch of charm. Serve immediately.
11. Enjoy with a cookie, small pastry, amaretti, or dark chocolate truffle.
Maple syrup note: organic sugar or raw honey make for great sweetener alternatives. Sweetener may be omitted altogether, or adjusted to your personal preference. I don’t normally add sweetener to my coffee, but I love the richness of the maple syrup in this recipe.
If you are using cane sugar, I recommend dissolving it in the hot milk while it steams on the stovetop. Honey and syrups should be added at the end while the milk is still warm. Liquid sweeteners combine more easily than granulated sugar and add to the thickness of the cream, but can crystalize over prolonged heat.
Beef gelatin note: gelatin is a natural thickening agent. This ingredient may be omitted, but may be recommended if you use only whole milk instead of one-part milk and one-part heavy whipping cream. Cream will thicken as it cools. DO NOT add gelatin while steaming milk. Instead add it after while the milk is still warm.
Coffee note: coffee is always most flavorful when it is ground immediately before brewing. If you don’t have a grinder at home, grinding it in the store or buying already-ground coffee will do just fine.
Also, DO NOT pack the coffee grounds firmly inside funnel-shaped filter of Moka Pot. This will clog the filter. Instead, loosely fill the funnel with grounds and create an even layer of grounds flush with the top rim of the funnel.
Chemex, Aeropress, French press, and single drip will all make deliciously rich coffee to accompany this elegant cream. Opt for a manual brewing process as the care and precision to making coffee this way heightens the overall experience and makes for a far more luxurious brew.
For the sake of the cream, brew your coffee as you normally do.
Cream note: the cream may be heated and paired with coffee for a cappuccino-style cup; however, this cream is also delicious cold from the fridge, either over iced coffee, cold brew, or your standard hot coffee.
Shake before using. Heat before frothing.
Lavender note: lavender (and any floral aroma) can become overpowering very quickly. If you aren’t sure how you will like the lavender-flavored cream, I would suggest starting with 1/8TSP lavender buds to see how the flower affects the flavor of the cream, and if you prefer more.