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Chilled coffee drinks will beat the heat

When is it too hot to drink hot coffee? My guess is that most people would say now.

When doesn’t it make sense to pay more than $5 for an iced coffee drink? Again, my answer would have to be now.

Those points being raised, I am by no means suggesting that anyone give up hot coffee forever or occasionally stopping by your favorite java joint to indulge in a treat. Rather take your love for that addictive bitter brew and turn it into something that isn’t making your insides as hot as it is outside and costing you an arm and a leg every time you buy it.

For true iced coffee, you do not – I repeat, do not – want to just brew up a pot of your regular blend and let it get cold (yes, you can use leftover coffee, but it’s usually pretty “thick” by the time it’s left over). Hot brewed or leftover coffee will give you a bitter iced coffee. Rather you want to cold brew your coffee. By cold brewing your coffee base, you will get a smoother, less bitter beverage that is perfect for combining with a variety of ingredients.

For the most part, you want to use a coarsely ground coffee to make your cold-brewed coffee, and for those of you with a favorite blend or brand, go right ahead and use it.

The following recipes all have specific amounts for the ingredients but some will prefer a stronger coffee-tasting beverage and others will like it creamier. Feel free to play with the amounts of milk, coffee and sugar flavoring if your taste buds tell you the recipe needs a little tweaking. You won’t ruin anything; in fact, you may just invent a new way to serve yourself a cup of Joe.

Cold Brewed Coffee

1 gallon cold water

1 pound bag of your favorite coarse ground coffee

Coffee filters

Strainer

Pour a gallon of water into a large bowl. Add the coffee and stir until the coffee is completely wet. Cover and let the mixture sit for at least 12 hours (I always do this early in the evening and it’s ready to go in the morning).

Line your strainer with coffee filters and place it in a large bowl. Gently pour the coffee over the filters, making sure not to have too much of the coffee grounds pour out at once. You may want to do this in stages, replacing the filters once or twice during the straining. When you’re done, you can put the cold coffee in a container with a lid; it keeps for up to 4 weeks (it makes a lot of cold coffee).

Cinnamon and Caramel Iced Coffee

For this recipe, you will need hot coffee to start the process.

1 1/2 to 2 cups hot coffee (the stronger the better)

1/3 to 1/2 cup caramel dessert topping

2 to 3 tablespoons brown sugar, to taste

Ice cubes

1 1/2 cups cold milk

Whipped cream, for garnish (optional)

Ground cinnamon, for garnish (optional)

Extra caramel sauce for garnish (optional)

In a bowl, combine the hot coffee and the caramel topping (you can fudge the amounts if you prefer more caramel or coffee flavor). Add the sugar and whisk to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until the mixture is cold. When you’re ready to serve, fill 2 tall glasses with crushed ice and fill each glass about 1/3 full (or more if you prefer) with milk. Then fill the glass with the coffee mixture and stir to combine. You can top with whipped cream, extra caramel sauce or a dash of cinnamon.

Instant Vanilla Iced Coffee

2 teaspoons instant coffee

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Sugar to taste (I use brown sugar)

2 teaspoons cold water

1 1/4 cups milk

Chocolate sprinkles (optional)

In a blender, combine the instant coffee, vanilla, sugar, water and milk. Process until smooth and then pour into a tall glass with crushed ice. Garnish with sprinkles. Serves 1. (You can always add the ice to the blender if you prefer more of a slushie.)

Orange Iced Coffee

1/2 cup Maxwell House Instant Coffee

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

6 orange zest strips (each 2 by 1/2 inch)

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

8 cups boiling water

Mix all ingredients except boiling water in medium bowl. Add boiling water; stir until coffee granules are completely dissolved and mixture is well blended. Refrigerate several hours or until chilled. Serve over ice cubes in eight tall glasses.

– Submitted by Angie McDonald of Kalamazoo, Mich. – Modified from Kraft.com Slice of Life is a food column that offers recipes, cooking advice and information on new food products. It appears Sundays. If you have a question about cooking or a food item, contact Eileen Goltz at eztlog@gmail.com or write The Journal Gazette, 600 W. Main St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802.

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