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A perfect substitute for those frappa-whatevers

Do you like ridiculous sugary blended coffee drinks? I do. Despite how they make me feel – physically and emotionally – I find them irresistible. Especially in airports. When I worked at a Peet’s I could justify drinking them every once in a while because it really was just milk, ice, espresso, and flavor syrup whirled up in a blender. And because I could alter those ingredients at will without sounding like a fool (“half-caf, soy, 1 pump vanilla, please”). But at most places (and I’m pretty sure even at Peet’s now), blended coffee drinks are a near-lethal combination of milk powder, coffee-flavored ooze, whole milk and/or heavy cream, and flavored syrups so sugary that your innocent little Starbucks purchase is suddenly on-par with a gallon of ice cream.

But ironically, that’s kind of the point here – ice cream. If you like blended coffee drinks (and you like them on the not-so-freakishly-sweet side), put this ice cream on your to-do list. Milky, coffee-flavored, and of course a little sweet (but not too overly so). I wish I had timed it better because it’s not nearly as fulfilling on a cold, rainy night like tonight, but I can only imagine what this will be like on the first few warm days of spring. (Who am I kidding – it’ll probably be 95 again next week anyway, and I’ll be happy to have a few pints of this in the freezer.)

After having my first scoop tonight, I’m particularly excited to try adding some sort of chocolate – whether hot fudge on top, a brownie underneath, or chocolate chips/flakes/swirl in the ice cream itself.  Or maybe that espresso caramel sauce that was so good. The best part is, this is by far the easiest ice cream I’ve ever made, which means I’ll definitely make it again and have more chances to experiment.


Vietnamese coffee ice cream
Adapted from David Lebovitz’ The Perfect Scoop

  • 14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
  • About 3/4 cup half-and-half (enough to make 2 cups with the condensed milk)
  • 1 1/2 cups strongly brewed coffee, cooled to tepid
  • 1/2 tsp. finely ground coffee (which, to be honest, I forgot to add but I think would tone down the sweetness a bit)

– Whisk together all ingredients and chill a few hours to an entire day.

– Freeze in ice cream maker according to instructions. Put in the freezer to harden for at least a few hours (preferably most of a day or overnight).

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