Forget the coffee shop and try this homemade iced caramel latte which is easy to make and is WAY healthier. You’ll love the coconut date caramel sauce made with only clean and healthy ingredients! A perfect refreshing guilt-free drink.
My husband gave me an espresso maker a couple years ago. Since then I’ve made myself at least one cup a day, usually more. But until last summer, I never tried making my own fancy iced coffees, I always bought them at cafes.
My first choice at a café is an iced caramel latte. While I love the flavor, I dislike that the café uses a caramel sauce that is super sweet and unhealthy with all kinds of additives and saturated fats. Then it occurred to me that I could make my own! (I don’t know why that took me so long.)
So I made myself a healthy, vegan caramel sauce that I can use in my coffees all summer long and not feel guilty about it. As well as my daily dose of caffeine, my coffee now has lots of healthy ingredients that taste amazing!
What is an iced latte?
A super yummy, summer drink! But really, it is a great way to enjoy your coffee when the temperatures rise by taking your regular espresso and foamy milk and putting it over ice. An iced latte typically starts off with a shot or two of espresso poured over a lot of ice in a tall latte glass. Then you add your flavoring or any form of liquid sweetener (granulated sugar doesn’t dissolve easily in cold drinks). Finally, you top it off with frothy milk and give it a good stir.
While I make my version with two shots of espresso, you can also make it with strong brewed coffee or a single shot of espresso. If you only do a single shot of espresso, you can pour it directly over the ice while it is still warm. But if you are using a double espresso or brewed coffee you must make sure the coffee is cooled before you pour it over the ice. Otherwise that much larger volume of hot liquid will melt the ice. And no one wants a watered-down drink!
How is making an iced latte different than a regular latte?
I’m glad you asked. Typically, a latte is made from adding steamed milk to espresso, otherwise, you just have a very milky coffee. The difference is in the steaming. But we can’t do that here because we are trying to get a cold drink.
So, let’s get down to what steaming milk really does: It injects hot air into the milk. We need to find some other way of getting air into the milk to give it the same foamy consistency. Which is where a handheld milk frother or some other sort of immersion blender comes in handy!
A handheld frother gives you that nice foamy consistency in your milk by beating air in instead of using steam to push air in. The disadvantage is that the foam won’t last as long as if it was steamed. But that’s ok, we just want a slightly lighter texture for the milk while we drink it.
Using alternative milks
I like using almond milk in my iced lattes. Even though I love milk and cream, the flavor of almond milk in this latte is exceptionally tasty to me. Maybe it’s because I like the combination of nuts and caramelly dried fruits. But you can use regular cow’s milk or your choice of milk alternative.
However, when you are frothing the milk, it is important to know that all the milks react differently. Soy milk in particular doesn’t froth very well. And don’t try to go for a low-fat version like rice milk. Without the fats, there is nothing to hold the air bubbles in as you whip the milk so you won’t get any foam. Plus if you were steaming them, the plant-based milks are very delicate when heated. It is very easy to scald them and change the texture.
Dates are a healthy sugar substitute
I have been trying to eat a lot healthier recently. Or at least use healthier alternatives to regular sugars and flours in my everyday foods for my family. I don’t intend to give up my sweet treats entirely!
Dates have been my go-to sweetener in these cooking experiments. They have a caramel flavor that is like brown sugar, and don’t add lots of extra moisture to a mixture like honey – very important when baking! Their stickiness when dry makes them ideal for turning into a paste to evenly distribute though your recipe.
While dates have a lot of sugars (making them a good sugar substitute), they also have a lot fiber, a surprising amount of protein, and necessary minerals and vitamins. Dates have calcium and magnesium which are important for bone growth, folate for healthy blood, and antioxidants like selenium.
Making my caramel out of dates and coconut milk means I get all these healthy benefits right in my coffee! Plus, it is not too sweet, and doesn’t have any unhealthy ingredients like saturated fats or corn syrup. Sounds like a good reason to go make another iced latte right now!
Healthy Iced Caramel Latte
For the Coconut Date Caramel Sauce:
- 1 13.5 oz. (400ml) can coconut milk , divided (1 cup and 1/2 cup)
- 2 oz. (60g) whole pitted dates
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar
For the Iced Caramel Latte:
- 1/2 cup strongly-brewed coffee or espresso (2 espresso shots) , cold
- 1-2 tbsp caramel sauce , or to taste
- unsweetened almond milk , or any other milk of your choice, cold
- ice cubes
Coconut Date Caramel Sauce
- Place 1 cup coconut milk and pitted dates in a small blender; blend until smooth.
- Pour the mixture into a small saucepan and add the coconut sugar. Bring to the boil and gently simmer, stirring constantly, for about 20minutes, or until slightly thickened. It should be sticking to the back of your spatula or spoon.
- Remove the saucepan from heat and stir in the remaining coconut milk.Let cool slightly before transferring to a jar.
- Store in the fridge for up 1-2 weeks.
Iced Caramel Latte
- Fill your glass with ice and then pour cold coffee over ice cubes. Add the caramel sauce.
- In a jar using a handheld milk frother, froth cold almond milk. Holdback the milk foam with a spoon and carefully pour the milk into the glass (you can skip this process and pour the milk straight into the glass).
- Stir well and top with foam. Garnish the drink with some additional caramel sauce, if desired.