A friend of mine is a fan of the popular flavored coffee creamers advertised widely on television. Viewing the ingredients, I suggested that she make the change over to a cleaner coffee creamer.
Coffee creamers have been around for decades and have been a perennial source of awful ingredients that include hydrogenated oils and emulsifying agents. I therefore thought it would be worth taking a look at the ingredients and seeing if we could recreate something with similar flavors but without the unhealthy additives.
Here are the ingredients listed for the liquid hazelnut-flavored International Delight coffee creamer: water, cane sugar, palm oil, sodium caseinate, dipotassium phosphate, carrageenan, mono and diglycerides, natural and artificial flavors, sodium steroyl lactylate, salt. Liquid Coffee Mate products contain water, sugar, vegetable oil (high oleic soybean and/or high oleic canola), micellar casein, natural and artificial flavor, mono- and diglycerides, dipotassium phosphate, salt, cellulose gel, cellulose gum, carrageenan. The powdered Coffee Mate products contain sugar, hydrogenated vegetable oil (coconut and/or palm kernel and/or soybean), corn syrup solids, sodium caseinate, mono- and diglycerides, dipotassium phosphate, sodium aluminosilicate, salt, natural and artificial flavor.
So these products are a mixture of ingredients such as carrageenan that has been associated with increased insulin resistance and blood sugars, among other effects; sugar; genetically-modified oils (high-oleic soybean and canola); hydrogenated vegetable oils; aluminum-containing compounds; and artificial flavors.
Manufacturers resort to such ingredients for the sake of generating shelf-stability and a smooth pouring product, meant to be dispensed without separation of the ingredients, without lumps or clumps. They are also meant to be dairy-free or at least lactose-free.
Yet recreating a similar—or better—tasting replacement made with just cream and natural flavors is so easy. If you include dairy in your diet, here is one way:
Makes 1/2 cup
1/2 cup heavy cream or half-and-half
Natural hazelnut extract or stevia with natural hazelnut flavor to taste
Liquid stevia or your choice of natural sweetener to taste
In jar or other container, combine cream/half-and-half, hazelnut extract, stevia or other sweetener and stir. Store, covered, in refrigerator and consume within one week.
I used a natural hazelnut-flavored stevia mixture from SweetLeaf; 3 teaspoons added to the half-cup of cream yielded a tasty hazelnut creamer. (Ingredients: purified water, organic stevia leaf extract, natural flavors, hazelnut extract.) If you choose pure hazelnut extract, add 4-5 drops at a time until the flavor you desire is reached. Likewise with stevia or your choice of natural sweetener; add gradually and adjust to taste. Choose a heavy cream or half-and-half free of added emulsifiers or thickening agents.
Of course, many variations are possible, such as replacing hazelnut extract with natural vanilla, allspice, or almond extracts, or adding some unsweetened cocoa powder. If you’d like a non-dairy creamer, a few tablespoons of full-fat coconut milk (warmed to prevent separation) can be used, better added at time of consumption, rather than prepared ahead-of-time. And, of course, you could always use the MCT oil powder + collagen hydrolysate mixture that I like to use as a coffee creamer that also yields appetite-suppressing, fat burning, skin smoothing, and joint health benefits.
With just a bit of effort, you can enjoy your coffee (or tea or cocoa) without the issues posed by hydrogenation, emulsification, genetic-modification, and other unhealthy ingredients.