Saturday, November 11, 2023

NaBloPoMo Day 11: Lattes

My daughter started middle school this year, a time of great change and growing freedom for the kids. The school is in a busy urban area and packs of kids walk about in the shopping center after school, saving a few bucks to buy a treat here and a cold drink there. There is a fascination with brands and trends which I am trying my best to place reasonable restrictions on. 

For her birthday, my daughter's biggest ask was to stop by Starbucks with her two friends before school for breakfast. Not my favorite place at all, but this was a special day. All three girls ordered Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frappuccinos, and were served these big drinks that were sugar bombs for sure. 

A few weeks later, when she had a friend over for a few hours, I offered to look up a copycat recipe and try to recreate this drink at home. We used this recipe as a starting point. We had decaf instant coffee, milk, and ice at home. And had to buy four ingredients from the store: dry instant vanilla pudding, caramel sauce, Heath toffee bits, and whipped cream. Even with the purchases, it is clearly much cheaper to fix these drinks at home.

1. Start by blending decaf (or regular) coffee- I used instant coffee granules, milk, and lots of ice
2. Add caramel sauce and instant pudding mix and blend again until thick and creamy
3. Pulse in some toffee bits
4. Serve in a tall glass topped with whipped cream, caramel sauce, and toffee bits

The kids were thrilled with the drinks. To me it was entirely too sweet and undrinkable. Sweetness can be adjusted up and down. 

I've tried other Starbucks knock-off drink recipes in the past, and some of them call for xanthan gum as a thickener to make the blended drink smooth and not icy. Xanthan gum is sold in the baking aisle and is a good ingredient to keep on hand for these homemade coffeeshop drinks- it works well. 

Enjoy your weekend! 


  1. I don't like Starbucks either! Way too sugary and feels more like dessert than coffee. I prefer getting some filter coffee at a darshini or a tiffins place. Middle school is a challenging age (for the parents! 😁)

    1. Truth! It is quite the phase for parents to live through. The obsession with Starbucks really gets on my nerves. There are so many in urban India now too.


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