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Cashew Café au Lait for #CrazyIngredientChallenge

I love the idea behind the Crazy Ingredient Challenge (CIC); we are assigned two ingredients to cook and create. This month, Kelly of Passion Kneaded and Lori of Lori's Culinary Creations are hosting. So, here goes...

August's Crazy Ingredient Challenge = cashews and coffee

I thought about all the possibilities and decided to use cashew nuts to make a dairy-free milk creamer for a New Orleans-style Café au Lait. My husband has recently decided to cut out dairy. So I'm on a dairy-free adventure. It's all new to us.

A café au lait is French pressed coffee to which steamed (or warmed) milk is added; it differs from a caffè latte which uses espresso as its base. While I typically lean towards a latte, Jake prefers the au lait and he really appreciated the dairy-free effort.

for the Cashew Milk Creamer

  • 1 C raw cashews
  • 1 to 2 C cold water
  • 1 to 2 T maple syrup
  • 2 t pure vanilla extract
for the Cashew Milk Creamer

Place cashews in a lidded jar and fill with water so that the cashews are submerged. Cover with lid and let soak over night, or at least 8 hours. Drain and rinse. Place cashews in blender with 1 C cold water and blend until completely creamy. Add in more water, 1/4 C at a time, until desired consistency. I probably used another 1/2 to 3/4 C. Stir in final ingredients to taste. Blend to completely combine. Refrigerate. It should last for about a week. We went through ours within four days and my husband asked when I was making a new batch.

for 2 Café au Lait
  • 2 C cashew milk creamer
  • 2 C French-pressed coffee*, hot
  • optional: sugar, ground cinnamon, lemon zest

for 2 Café au Lait

In medium saucepan over low heat, heat cashew milk creamer until bubbles form around edges. Whisk to froth, if you like. To serve, pour equal parts coffee and equal parts warmed milk in a mug. Serve with option condiments, if you like. I like mine dark and bitter, but Jake prefers it more sweet and spiced.

*Just a few notes on the coffee...I am admittedly a little bit coffee-mad. Here's an article I wrote about coffee for Edible Monterey Bay a few years back: click here.

Here are the talking points: buy in small portions from a micro-roaster. I love a local-to-me mom-and-pop place called ACME Coffee. But I'm sure you can find something just need to look. Buy whole beans that are not dark roasted. Seriously. Dark roasting is the great equalizer. All beans taste the same once they are dark roasted. Buy a high quality bean in a medium to lighter roast and taste the difference. It's like wine; you can taste characteristics in the bean from where they were grown. And, lastly, grind as you go. Bid adieu to dark roasted, pre-ground coffee. You'll thank me!


  1. I'm a coffee-holic and can't wait to make your creamer. I'm a fan of hazelnut creamer and may have found something better with your recipe.

  2. YAY! I picked this recipe from your two because I had a feeling you would have made the milk (okay, creamer) from cashews and wanted to know how to do it! =D

  3. I still hope you publish the other recipe, because I'd like both. But as a coffee addict that hates buying store bought creamer I love this one too!

  4. On a regular basis I use almond milk, haven't used "milk" in years. Love that you made your own cashew milk.

  5. I had no idea what the difference was between au lait and a latte. I did mention that I wasn't a coffee drinker but I'd definitely try this. Curious about any flavour the cashew ads n Looking forward to the other recipe too.

  6. We have cafe au lait often and I love the idea of your cashew milk creamer and will be making that soon.. YUM.


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