Get that icy java jolt at home

Warm weather and a serious caffeine habit can make it hard to resist those fancy iced java jolts from the coffee shop.

Orange zest and chocolate syrup top this Mocha Orange Freeze. This cool drink will let you enjoy your coffee on even the hottest summer days.

Warm weather and a serious caffeine habit can make it hard to resist those fancy iced java jolts from the coffee shop.

But shelling out all that cash to suck down all those calories can thin your wallet while plumping your waistline.

So I started tinkering with at-home versions, trying to come up with something equally enticing, less expensive and at least a little healthier. And if they were fast and easy, all the better.

Here’s what I learned:

• Don’t use regular ice.

As it melts, it waters down the drink, and watered-down coffee is tasteless at any temperature. Instead, pour brewed coffee into ice cube trays and freeze it. Keep a bag of these cubes in the freezer for use whenever the mood strikes.

While you certainly can brew a pot especially for this, it’s easy (and economical) to freeze the remnants of each morning’s pot.

• Ditch skim milk in favour of fat-free half-and-half. Most standard skim milks lack body and taste. Fat-free half-and-half is remarkably creamy and works well in frozen drinks (including smoothies).

• Invest in flavoured syrups. These are what the coffee shops use to juice up their pricey drinks. They come in many flavours and are cheap. A 750-ml bottle makes about 25 servings.

• No espresso maker?

Pick up a jar of instant espresso powder. It’s an easy way to add tons of flavour to an iced coffee drink.

It’s also great mixed into baked goods, such as chocolate cakes and brownies.

Caramel-Chocolate Coffee Cooler

1 double shot espresso

125 ml (1/2 cup) fat-free half-and-half

250 ml (1 cup) coffee ice cubes

15 ml (1 tbsp) vanilla flavouring syrup

15 ml (1 tbsp) caramel flavouring syrup

Whipped cream, to top

Caramel sauce, to drizzle

In a blender, combine espresso, half-and-half, coffee ice cubes, and vanilla and caramel syrups. Puree until smooth, then transfer to a tall glass. Top with whipped cream and drizzle with caramel sauce.

Makes 2 servings.

Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 164 calories, 40 calories from fat, 4 g fat (3 g saturated, 0 g trans fats), 20 mg cholesterol, 25 g carbohydrate, 3 g protein, 0 g fibre, 102 mg sodium.

Mocha Orange Freeze

250 ml (1 cup) fat-free half-and-half

375 ml (1 1/2 cups) coffee ice cubes

45 ml (3 tbsp) chocolate syrup (the sort used to make chocolate milk), plus extra for drizzling

15 ml (1 tbsp) sugar

Whipped cream, to top

Zest of 1/2 orange

In a blender, combine half-and-half, coffee ice cubes, chocolate syrup and sugar. Puree until smooth. Transfer to a tall glass, then top with whipped cream. Sprinkle with orange zest, then drizzle with chocolate syrup.

Makes 2 servings.

Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 234 calories, 36 calories from fat, 4 g fat (3 g saturated, 0 g trans fats), 20 mg cholesterol, 39 g carbohydrate, 5 g protein, 0 g fibre, 122 mg sodium.

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