TIP OF THE DAY: A Caramel Macchiato Recipe To Make At Home - The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures TIP OF THE DAY: A Caramel Macchiato Recipe To Make At Home
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TIP OF THE DAY: A Caramel Macchiato Recipe To Make At Home

One of our team makes two runs a day for a caramel macchiato at the corner Starbucks. This one’s for you, Christina.

There are numerous types of espresso drinks, from affogato (espresso served over ice cream) to Vanilla Latte (3:1 steamed milk and espresso with vanilla-flavored syrup).

“Macchiato” means marked or stained in Italian (in France, it’s called cafe noisette). In Italy, caffè macchiato is made in an espresso cup, from steamed milk which is “marked” by the addition of espresso. The espresso poured into the center of the foam, sinks down, and leaves a brown spot on top. In Italy, it’s a mid-morning drink’ many Italians add a bit of sugar.

The chief difference between a macchiato and a latte is that the macchiato has aesthetically pleasing layers of color. With a Latte, the espresso and milk are completely integrated (see photos at right).

As adapted to American tastes, the macchiato became a larger drink—and a sweeter one, of course, with the addition of caramel syrup.

A caramel macchiato starts with steamed milk and vanilla syrup, adds the espresso, and tops the drink with a drizzle of caramel syrup. (Starbucks says that its 16-ounce size is 250 calories.)

Note that you can enjoy a macchiato plain, without any embellishment!

Starbucks introduced the caramel macchiato in the fall of 1996. Hannah Su, a Starbucks employee, developed the iconic drink. She said she wanted to create something special to mark Starbucks’ 25th anniversary.

The challenge was coming up with a silky, velvety caramel sauce that stayed on top of the foam.

She and a few colleagues spent some 10 months working on the recipe, creating more than 30 different iterations.

The initial plan was to offer the Caramel Macchiato for just a few weeks. But it proved to be far more popular than anyone could have imagined and has become a menu staple [source].

> National Macchiato Day is November 19th.

> A recipe to make your own vanilla syrup is below.

> A recipe to make your own caramel syrup is below.

> Check out the different types of espresso drinks in our Espresso Glossary.

> The history of espresso.

You can make your own at home in five minutes and double the recipe if you like. But try a single size first in case you want to adjust the proportions.

You can buy the syrups or make your own (recipes below).

Ingredients Per Drink

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla syrup
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 shot espresso
  • Garnish: caramel sauce

    1. WARM an empty cup (we microwave it for 10 seconds) and add 1 tablespoon of vanilla syrup. Froth the milk and add it, along with the foam, to the cup.

    2. Pour in the espresso. Drizzle the caramel sauce to garnish, and serve.

    Ingredients For 1-1/3 Cups

  • 1 cup water
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

    1. COMBINE the water, sugars, and salt in a heavy saucepan, and add the granulated sugar. Cook over medium-high heat until the sugar is completely dissolved, stirring slowly until the syrup reaches full a boil.

    2. REDUCE the syrup for 5 minutes over a simmer. Remove from the heat, let cool, and stir in the vanilla extract.

    We store the syrup in a squeeze bottle in the fridge.

    Ingredients For 1-1/3 Cups

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
  • ½ cup heavy cream, cold
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt

    Macchiato Espresso In A Glass Cup
    [1] A regular macchiato—hold the caramel, save the calories (photo © Ruandom Zhong | Pexels).

    Caramel Macchiato
    [2] A caramel macchiato from Starbucks (photo © Starbucks).

    Pouring caramel syrup onto a macchiato espresso.
    [3] Get ready to pour (photo © Eugenie Kitchen).

    Pouring espresso into a cup of foamed milk to make a caffe macchiato.
    [4] Pouring espresso into the foamed milk (photo © Masud Allahverdizad | Pexels).

    A Glass Of Iced Macchiato
    [5] An iced macchiato (photo © Najla Cam | Unsplash).


    1. ADD the sugar to a heavy saucepan and cook over medium-high heat. The sugar will liquefy; watch it closely because it burns easily. When the liquid starts to turn amber, remove the pan from the heat and immediately…

    2. WHISK in the butter and fully incorporate it into the sugar. Quickly whisk in the cream (bubbles and foam are natural).

    3. STIR in the vanilla and salt. Let cool and transfer to a squeeze bottle (or other container).


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