I am pretty easy going when it comes to coffee. I will drink coffee pretty in pretty much any form. Black coffee, espresso, coffee with cream and sugar, lattes, I enjoy them all. While I enjoy black coffee it isn’t quite as comforting and satisfying as coffee with cream. Since I don’t eat dairy I usually drink my coffee with coconut cream and I love it. It is rich and satisfying and I look forward to it each morning. But in the summer I don’t really want hot coffee, I want iced coffee instead. And coconut milk is not a good option for iced coffee at all. The cold makes the fat in the coconut milk harden into unpleasant chunks making the coffee virtually undrinkable. (I only made this mistake once. Learn from it and don’t try it!)
So I needed to come up with a better option for iced coffee. Since I love hazelnut coffee I decided to create a hazelnut creamer that would work in my summer iced coffee. I have to say I am totally in love with this creamer. Unlike artificially flavored hazelnut creamers, this creamer is made almost entirely out of roasted hazelnuts. This gives it a deep rich hazelnut flavor that compliments the coffee perfectly. A little bit of ground vanilla and a pinch of salt round out the flavor. I like the creamer unsweetened, but if you want to add a bit of sweetness a few dates or a tablespoon of maple syrup would be a welcome addition.
I keep a jar of this in my fridge at all times, ready to mix with a cup of strong cold-brewed coffee for the perfect afternoon coffee break. (By the way, I have been using this brilliant method for cold brewed coffee and it has made it so much easier. Laura from Pragmatic Attic is a genius, you should try this.) The hazelnut milk will separate in the fridge, or if you leave your cup of coffee sitting for too long, but a quick shake or stir is all it takes to make it ready to enjoy.
Place the hazelnuts in a bowl and cover with cold water. Soak for 4-6 hours. Drain the hazelnuts. Place the hazelnuts in a blender (preferably a high powered one like a vitamix). Add the rest of the ingredients. Blend until smooth, approximately one minute in a high powered blender more in a standard blender. Line a fine mesh sieve with cheesecloth and strain the mixture, pressing down to extract all the liquid. It may be necessary to do this in batches. (This is even easier to do using a nutmilk bag, which is what I use. It is worth the investment if you are planning on making this on a regular basis.)
Store the hazelnut creamer in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.