Make Your Own Flavored Coffee Creamer

Aside from being very expensive, flavored coffee creamers tend to have a lot of unpronounceable ingredients. For Coffeesome, this time of year is a fine time to flavor one’s coffee. It can be comforting on a cold day, or festive with friends and family over a holiday celebration. So what to do? Make your own! It is very easy, and one batch will last about two weeks in the refrigerator.

You will need:

  • 1 (14 ounce) can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 1/2 cups cold skim milk

Now, to make your flavoring. These are suggestions, but feel free to experiment with your own flavor combinations, or adjust the amounts to suit your taste.

  • Chocolate Almond: 1 tablespoon cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • Pumpkin Spice: 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • Vanilla: 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Amaretto: 3 teaspoons almond extract, 1 teaspoon cherry extract
  • Cappuccino: 1 teaspoon almond extract, 1/2 teaspoon orange extract
  • Strudel: 1 tablespoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon almond extract.
  • Chocolate Raspberry: 2 teaspoons cocoa powder, 2 tablespoons raspberry syrup

Place all of your ingredients in a container with a tight lid and shake vigorously. If you prefer, you can put everything into a blender and pulse to blend it. Then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Be sure to give it a shake every time you use it, in case anything has settled. Last but not least, enjoy your coffee!

Rumtopf – Preserving Seasonal Fruits Pt.2

So today we are going to discuss exactly what you can place in your Rumtopf. This is a very easy lesson.  You can place many fruits in there.

These are the best candidates for a good Rumtopf (make sure fruits are pitted, cored, and with stems/leaves removed, if applicable):

  • Pineapple (cut into large chunks)Rumtopf
  • Cherries (any variety)
  • Peaches (cut in halves, quarters, or slices)
  • Apricots (halves)
  • Nectarines (halves)
  • Plums (half or quarter)
  • Pears (peeled and sliced)
  • Grapes (sweet seedless red or green grapes are ideal)
  • Strawberries (don’t wash, just remove stem & leaves).
  • Raspberries (don’t wash).
  • Red currants
  • Gooseberries

Read more Rumtopf – Preserving Seasonal Fruits Pt.2

Rumtopf – Preserving Seasonal Fruits Pt.1

Rumtopf is a longstanding German tradition in which various fruits are collected and preserved in rum for months. As is the case with wines, this gets better with age if done properly. There are special pots that one can purchase to preserve and maintain the necessary conditions. Imagine my giddiness when I saw that one of my favorite “go to” German shops began carrying them.

The Rumtopf at the German Deli is not only visually appealing, but also the perfect size to make a batch big enough to share over the holidays with friends and family. This is an item that can be passed down to your kids to keep your German traditions alive. That’s why I have already ordered mine.

In Pt. 2, we will look into how to prepare our Rumtopf.

See also:

Rumtopf – Preserving Seasonal Fruits Pt.2

Rumtopf – Preserving Seasonal Fruits Pt. 3

German Traditions

What IS that stuff?? German Cake & Gelatin?

I’ve seen some people inquire as to what the gelatin mixture is that is placed over fruit on German tortes.  It really isn’t that mysterious, and there are two ways you can achieve this at home.

Your first option is to make it from scratch.  The most difficult part is to continually mix and not overheat the mixture.  Here is the recipe.

Fruit Torte Jelly/Gelatin


  • 1/2 tsp. gelatin (plain, unflavored gelatin – can be found in the baking aisle of any grocer)
  • 1 cup water OR apple juice (be aware this will add some extra flavor)
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • Optional: 1 tsp. red food coloring


  1. Soak gelatin in 2 tbsp. cold water for 10 minutes.
  2. Heat over low heat until it becomes liquid.
  3. Add 2 tbsp. sugar and the remainder of water and heat, stirring, until sugar is dissolved.
  4. Remove from heat and cool until it is just pourable (20 – 30 minutes).
  5. Spoon over finished cake shell with fruit already arranged over the top.
  6. Allow whole cake to set for at least one hour before serving.  For extended life, refrigerate to prevent fruit from molding.

Okay, so you say this sounds too tedious, and you want a quick and dirty solution? Try Tortenguss.  You can purchase a dry mix, which still needs to be heated, but is a little less finicky. My personal favorite can be bought from German Deli: Dr. Oetker Tortenguss Klar (Clear Cake Glaze). It is sold in a 3-pack, and I will stock up on a few at a time.

See? Isn’t it great when one of life’s little mysteries can be solved so simply? 🙂

Amazon for German Groceries

The depth and breadth of products and services at Amazon never ceases to amaze me. While poking around their Grocery section, I found not just German grocery items, but German grocery items in bulk.  I want to share a few things that I try to keep around the pantry when I get my hands on them. While cooking things from scratch can be fun and tasty, it is sometimes a great time and sanity saver to keep some quickie products on hand.  Here are a few of my favorites:

Panni Potato Dumpling

Panni Bavarian Potato Dumpling Mix – makes a decent dumpling that can be served with main dishes such as Schweinebraten, Sauerbraten, or Gulasch. Kids love these little things, and they are easy to make and prepare.

A package of 12 is under $28.


Black Forest Girl Homemade Spaetzle – A great spaetzle that is quite popular in our house. I have tried several, but many of the ones you can get in the U.S. get too chewy, or taste bland. Black Forest Girl is really good. Here’s a tip – when you drain after cooking, rinse quickly with cool water. This gets rid of some of the excess starch, and ‘sets’ the spaetzle. Simply pour it back into the hot pan, add a touch of butter, and mix over the still warm burner (don’t turn it back on). Perfect spaetzle!

A bulk box of 30 packages (about two meals from each bag for a family of 3) is under $64.00!

Dr Oetker Streusel CakeDr. Oetker German Streusel Cake Mix – This is a favorite cake in our house. I usually use cherry filling, but it is also really good with peach and apple filling. It is very easy to make, and is yummy with afternoon coffee on the weekends.

Amazon has an 8 pack for less than $23!

Substitutions for Common Ingredients



allspice 1 tsp.
1/2 tsp. cinnamon plus 1/8 ground cloves
baking powder 1 tsp. 1/4 tsp. baking soda plus 5/8 tsp. cream of tartar
bread crumbs, dry 1/4 cup 1 slice bread
bread crumbs, soft 1/2 cup 1 slice bread
buttermilk 1 cup 1 cup plain yogurt
chocolate, unsweetened 1 ounce 3 tablespoons cocoa plus 1 tbs. butter or fat
cream, heavy 1 cup 3/4 cup milk plus 1/3 cup melted butter (this will not whip)
cream, light 1 cup 7/8 cup milk plus 3 tbs. melted butter
cream, sour 1 cup 7/8 cup buttermilk or
plain yogurt plus 3 tbs. melted butter
cream, whipping 1 cup 2/3 cup well-chilled evaporated milk, whipped or
1 cup nonfat dry milk powder whipped with 1 cup of water
flour, self-rising 1 cup 1 cup all-purpose flour plus 1 1/4 tsp. baking powder plus 1/4 teaspoon salt
honey 1 cup 1 1/4 cups sugar plus 1/2 cup liquid
lemon juice 1 tsp 1/2 tsp vinegar
milk, skim 1 cup 1/3 cup instant monfat dry milk plus about 3/4 cup water
milk, whole 1 cup 1/2 cup evaporated milk plus 1/2 cup water or
1 cup skim milk plus 2 tsp melted butter
milk, to sour 1 cup add 1 tbsp vinegar ot lemon juice to 1 cup milk minus 1 tbsp.
Stir and let stand 5 minutes.
sugar, granulated 1 cup 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar or
1 3/4 cups confectioner’s sugar (do not substitude in baking) or
2 cups corn syrup or
1 cup superfine sugar
tomatoes, canned 1 cup 1/2 cup tomato sauce polus 1/2 cup water or
1 1/3 cups chopped fresh tomatoes, simmered
tomato juice 1 cup 1/2 cup tomato sauce plus 1/2 cup water plus dash each salt and sugar or
1/4 cup tomato paste plus 3/4 cup water plus salt and sugar
tomato ketchup 1/2 cup 1/2 cup tomato sauce plus 2 tbsp sugar ,
1 tbs vinegar, and 1/8 tsp ground cloves
tomato puree 1 cup 1/2 cup tomato paste plus 1/2 cup water
yogurt, plain 1 cup 1 cup buttermilk