Thursday, June 3, 2010

Demerara Sugar and French Press Iced Coffee

It seems most everyone has a food vice of one sort or another. least since I've entered that 40-something age bracket...happens to be of the caffeinated kind. Unfortunately, I don't guzzle straight black coffee though. It has to be dolled and dressed up with sweetener and milk.

So what's so bad about caffeine? Now that it has redeemed itself with its discovered antioxidants, I'm not worried in the least about it. And milk? Full of calcium. Besides I tend to use our lovely rich goat milk when I have it on hand. So what's the vice? Well, it's the sweetener I find myself stirring in twice a day. High fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, and the like. Those additive things that aren't really good for us. But what's one to do?

Enter organic Demerara sugar. I just so happened to stumble across it in the bulk food bins while looking for something else. It looked interesting. It looked like something you would find sprinkled on the top of baked goods at a high end pastry shop. It looked intriguing enough to buy. So buy some I did.

I decided that I needed to figure out what this Demerara sugar was. Wikipedia says that Demerara sugar is, "...unrefined, granulated brown sugar made from sugar cane extract...It takes its name from the Demerara colony in Guyana, the original source of this type of sugar..." The rest of the article goes on to show how Demerara, Turbinado, and Muscovado sugar are all relatively unprocessed varieties of sugar. Good news to me, not to mention the fact that this particular Demerara sugar was organic as well.

Next up was to try out my new sweetener. I decided to stir a teaspoon of it into my coffee before splashing in my milk. To my surprise, it was more than just sweet. It had hints of caramel and a tinge of molasses, much more depth than plain white sugar or corn syrup would ever have. I then found out that I happened to be behind the trends of culinary experts of the world, not that I would expect anything different. Billingtons, an unrefined cane sugar producer, reports that "with its distinctive aroma and crunchy texture, Demerara is the traditional accompaniment to coffee." And here I thought I had discovered something new.

So here's my favorite way to enjoy this natural sugar:

Iced Coffee

1/4 cup Coffee beans, coarsely ground
1 cup Water, cold
1 cup Water, cold
2 teaspoon Demerara sugar
Ice cubes
splash Whole milk

The evening before, place 1/4 cup coarse ground coffee and 1 cup of cold water in a French coffee press. (Alternatively you could mix together the coffee and water in a glass container and use a fine mesh strainer the following morning.)

In morning add the additional 1 cup cold water and use the plunger to press down the grounds.

Divide the coffee between two glasses; stir 1 teaspoon demerara sugar into each glass. Fill to top with ice cubes or crushed ice. Pour a splash of milk over the top if desired.

Serve immediately.

So I say, go ahead and have your food vice. But just see if you can't tweak it to make it a tad healthier. You might find as I did that the healthier version is actually much tastier!

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