Google “What can you buy for 42 cents?” It sounds strange, I know, but just do it. What comes up? Besides stamps, not much. For pages and pages, all you get is stamps. Now, as anyone who still sends conventional snail mail knows, stamps are very important. But what would the average teenager rather have for 42 cents – stamps or a cold, delicious, blended-to-perfection frappé? This is where you stop, do a double take and say to yourself, “Where in the world can you buy a frappé for less than bubble gum?” And the answer, dear reader, lies in your kitchen blender. That’s right: For the price of 42 cents and plugging in your blender, you can have not one, but two, coffee-shop quality frappés in your kitchen in a matter of minutes.
The average, 12-ounce, coffee-shop frappé ranges anywhere from $3.50 to $4.50, depending on what kind and size you get. We all realize this is nearly the price of an arm and a leg, yet we all simply consent to this culinary highway robbery of sorts as the way things are. And most of the time these drinks, on the surface, seem like mad science. Some sort of alchemy that can only be achieved by highly trained baristas in their laboratory behind the register. But if you look deeper, beyond the mountain of whipped cream and syrupy garnishes, you’ll see that these drinks are nothing more than coffee, ice, sugar, milk and flavoring elements. Think about it this way: If you’ve ever tied your shoes, you can make a frappé for the price of a postage stamp.
6 ounces of milk
2 heaping teaspoons instant coffee grounds
1 cup of ice
3 teaspoons of sugar
Add all the ingredients to a blender, then blend on the highest power your blender has until you reach thick, frothy deliciousness. Check with a spoon for ice chunks. Makes 24 ounces, enough for two drinks. Cost: 40 cents. Average Savings: $6.28.
Personally my favorite drink. Do the same thing as the basic frappé, and add 2 tablespoons of chocolate syrup. FYI: Anything with mocha in the name refers to chocolate. Cost: 42 cents.
Caramel is often thought of as a super dangerous, difficult and dreadful process only the most highly qualified professional chefs can achieve. This recipe, courtesy of Food Network’s Ree Drummond, should take about 10 minutes to make. Add 2 tablespoons of this sauce into the original frappé.
1 packed cup brown sugar
½ cup half-and-half
4 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Mix the brown sugar, half-and-half, butter and salt in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook while whisking gently for 5 to 7 minutes, until it gets thicker. Add the vanilla and cook another minute to thicken further. Turn off the heat, cool slightly and pour the sauce into a jar. Refrigerate until cold.
Caramel Vanilla Bean “Frappushake”
This is really more of a dessert than it is a morning coffee drink (not like there’s anything wrong with that). Just add 2 tablespoons of the caramel sauce and a generous scoop of vanilla bean ice cream (high quality please), and blend until mouthwateringly delicious.
Cookie Crunch Frappé
Highly popular in coffee shops, this drink provides a nice, crunchy textural aspect that plays really well with the smooth frothy feel of the frappé. That’s cooking jargon for “the cookies make it really good.” Just add 2 chocolate chip (Oreos work great, too) cookies to the original frappé along with 2 tablespoons chocolate syrup and blend on high. Then, after blending, crush two more cookies in your hand, and add those to the blended drink. Finally, on the pulse setting, blend it again for literally half a second, just to combine. DON’T OVERBLEND.
Sam J. Schatmeyer is a freshman at Williamsville East High School.