This is me revealing my addiction. I began drinking cafe con leche, or coffee with milk, when I was six-years-old. My mother said it was just easier to fill our cereal bowl with coffee than to fill it with milk. The logic escaped me, but since every other kid in my family (extended included) was drinking cafe con leche, I figured all of America was too. Found out I was wrong, but by then it was too late, I had a full-blown coffee habit.
Some people may think I’m exaggerating when I say I have an addiction to coffee. I’m not. Granted it’s not a devastating addiction like some are, but it’s pretty intense. If I read the word, “Coffee,” you can best believe I’m on my way to get some shortly thereafter. Hearing, smelling, seeing or thinking of coffee produces the same result. I need to get it and drink it.
Back in 2005, I experienced a very dramatic weight loss. I had just given birth to our twins and had lost sixty pounds in less than six months. I, of course, was overjoyed. My doctor was not. Hater. She sent me to an endocrinologist who suspected that I had Graves’ Disease- a thyroid condition that, as in my case, can cause extreme weight loss, lethargy, and hair loss.
I was scheduled to undergo a battery of tests, one of them being an thyroid uptake and scan. This scan required a dietary fast of all things that contained iodine. The tests was going to involve my being injected with iodine to see how my thyroid worked and the consumption of iodine before the test would give a false reading.
“Of course I was going to comply! I needed to get answers in order to get healthy…I can’t drink coffee for a week?!? Waitaminute. Hold up. How much do I actually need my thyroid anyway?”
Did you know that coffee was on my list of no-no’s? Well, not coffee per se, but milk- which, like, I need to make cafe con leche. My husband suggested I stop being a punk and drink the coffee black like a good Soldier does. I told him to get out of my face before I crushed his skull. I’m normally not a violent person…just…coffee. You know? I went without the coffee for the time required, got my results and as it turns out, I did have Graves’. Thankfully, I was treated in time and I’ve been in remission for almost 5 years now. I’ve also been drinking my cafe con leche happily.
This recipe was born out of a different need: to have something to cool me down while pepping me up at the same time. It uses a stronger brew of coffee than most use and it also incorporates an unrefined Mexican sugar called piloncillo. The coffee is Bustelo, of course. I’ve always been able to find both, with no problem, online or in the Hispanic aisle of grocery stores. If you can’t get your hands on it, use brown sugar instead.
Check out these other interesting paletas and feel free to pin this recipe for reference.
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Cafe con Leche Paletas
Yield 2 dozen
Enjoy a frozen cup of joe on the go!
8 cups freshly brewed espresso, hot
1/4 cup piloncillo (or brown sugar)
1 14oz can condensed milk
1/4 cup half & half
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
In a large bowl, dissolve the piloncillo in the hot espresso by pouring the espresso over the sugar and allowing it to sit for 10 minutes. Whisk to combine.
Add the sweetened condensed milk and whisk.
Add the half & half, cinnamon and salt and whisk until dissolved.
Fill popsicle molds with the cafe con leche and cover. Freeze for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, insert popsicle sticks into the molds top and allow to freeze for an additional 7 1/2 hours, or overnight (recommended).
Unmold* and enjoy!
If you prefer to make a smaller batch, use the remaining cafe con leche as a beverage instead of filling the molds for paletas. Simply pour over ice and enjoy.
*Some molds release the paletas easier than others. My foolproof way to get mine out is to running really hot water over the inverted popsicle mold, turn it right side up and unmold quickly. I run hot water over them again if they fail to release easily.