How to make REAL Homemade French Vanilla Coffee Creamer

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french vanilla creamer 5Do you want to make REAL Homemade French Vanilla Coffee Creamer?

Hubby enjoys French Vanilla Creamer in his coffee. Being the frugal one that I am, of course, I want to see if I can make a good French Vanilla Creamer that he likes and one that the cost is less than the one he gets at the grocery store.  Also, being the “little cleaner/ healthier options” where we can, that I am, of course, I want to see if I can make it better for consumption. My first thought of course was Pinterest, let me see what everyone else is doing.  I found dozens of recipes for French Vanilla Coffee Creamer.  When I looked at them and read the recipes they were all about the same, and they all used Vanilla Extract or flavoring. My next thought was..……. Hmmmm, what makes that “French?”  It’s just vanilla extract, and the coffee creamer he likes has a definite flavor to it that is different from just vanilla. So begins a new hunt.  Looking up details for French Vanilla, I found more than I ever wanted to know about French Vanilla.  I first thought it must be vanilla beans grown in France, but quickly discovered that France doesn’t have the climate for growing vanilla beans, so that’s not it. I found that it actually isn’t a flavoring or extract at all really. But it’s a technique used for making a smooth textured, extra creamy egg yolk based ice cream.  So, French Vanilla Ice Cream is egg yolk based not cream based, even though it does have cream, but that’s why it looks yellow, the vanilla in it is the same vanilla, but it is caramelized which lends a unique flavor of its own.  Enough about ice cream, I’m trying to make flavored coffee creamer here. OK, then so why and how, do we have a French Vanilla Coffee Creamer? Another hunt ensued. I searched all the recipes I could find for homemade French Vanilla Coffee Creamer, and not one had used anything other than traditional vanilla.  Again, what makes that “French”? You can’t just add Vanilla extract and call it French Vanilla…… well, I guess you can if you want to, this is a free country, after all.  But, just because you call it French Vanilla, doesn’t make it so. Again, another search. Why can’t I just be happy with the regular vanilla and move on?  Why did this capture my attention so much?  I have no idea. I’m just strange that way sometimes.

French Vanilla Extract from Olive Nation

French Vanilla Extract from Olive Nation

While looking up French Vanilla Extract, the only company I could find that actually carries it is Olive Nation at Being so well versed now in the art of making French Vanilla ice cream, you know by way of reading so much about it, haha.  I had to inquire at Olive Nation how they can bottle French Vanilla extract when it’s not a plant to extract, and it’s a technique for ice cream. I knew I had gone to the right place when the answer back from Florence at Olive Nation was so detailed and clear.  She of course understood my dilemma and helped me understand by stating  “The French vanilla extract, in addition to vanilla extract contains hazelnut, caramel or butterscotch flavors as well as spice notes such as anise and cassia. This indulgent flavor can be used to replace pure vanilla extract in baked goods, beverages and ice cream.” What I learned is that the French Vanilla sold by Olive Nation is not just vanilla extract bottled up with a French Vanilla label on it. Due to the caramelizing of the vanilla in the ice cream it does take on a distinct flavor which Olive Nation has worked hard to duplicate in a bottled extract for our enjoyment. I promptly ordered my French Vanilla Extract from and couldn’t wait for it to arrive so that I could make my hubby some flavored creamer for his coffee that doesn’t contain all the chemicals that I don’t even know what they are. While waiting for the order to arrive I looked up some of those ingredients from the container of coffee creamer right there in our own refrigerator, then I went to the store to see if the other brands were about the same and they were, not exactly but most are about the same. For starters it contains hydrogenated oils.  Why?  I don’t know. coffee mate 2Then there’s that cellulose gum, what the heck is that?  I can easily pronounce it, so it must not be too bad. Or is it? Ok, I admit it, right here, and right now.  I am so in love with Google for coming to my rescue every time I go on a wild chase. So, that Cellulose Gum aka Carboxymethyl cellulose is essentially wood pulp.  Really! you have got to be kidding me.  Why in the world do we have wood pulp in our food supply?  A closer look around and my goodness, it’s in almost everything. It’s in food and non-food items.  Check your pantry, check your beauty and health care products.  Gosh, we have been duped again.  No shocker there. It’s okay though because after all, wood is natural, right? Well yeah, but I don’t want to eat it, drink, it or wear it. Cyanide and arsenic are natural too, you know. But….. well, anyway………… I got a lot of my information from and it seems cellulose which is the outer part of a green plant is extracted from wood pulp and cotton cellulose.  It is dried into a powder form that is then made into a polymer that can be used to thicken and mix things that wouldn’t normally mix together so easily.  It is used for binding, and as you have probably already guessed it helps with the sweetness in foods. I figured it was some kind of sugar because of the “ose” like fructose, sucrose, and glucose, but not exactly. Well alrighty then, if it makes you feel any better, only the highest quality of this wood pulp is approved for human consumption, the lower quality stuff goes in your shampoo, toothpaste, and other beauty/health care products.  Now I feel so much better, don’t you? There’s a lot of science and chemistry going on before it makes it to our everyday products and if it makes you feel any better it is FDA approved. (like I said, if that makes you feel better) OK, the good news is, that it doesn’t appear to be necessarily bad or harmful for human consumption and it isn’t digested because our bodies can’t digest it, so it just passes through.  So then, why use the stuff????  OK, I have gotten completely off the subject.  Where was I, oh yeah, making my hubby some French Vanilla Coffee Creamer. 3 days later: My bottle of extract has arrived, now on to make my hubby his coffee creamer without wood pulp or hydrogenated oils. I set up a “sampling” center for him to taste test little cups of creamer until we found the one he liked best.  I will admit that, after a dozen or so concoctions, I have not been able to 100% duplicated the one he likes best from the grocery store.  I have been able to find one that he likes and is happy with, it is close, but I guess without the hydrogenated oil and wood pulp, I just can’t make it the exact same. Here is the final recipe after several attempts.

Homemade Real French Vanilla Coffee Creamer (made with real French Vanilla extract)

 1 – 14 oz can of Sweetened Condensed Milk 42 oz. of milk – the can from condensed milk filled 3 times (I used 2%, I’m sure your choice of milk is fine) 1 TBSP of *French Vanilla Extract 1 tsp of vanilla extract 3 TBSP **corn syrup – whirl in a blender for about a minute, it does work better than just shaking it in a jar, which I also tried, but had better results with the blender. There you have it, pour in a couple of bottles or jars, mark the date as the date your milk expires.  If your house is like ours, it will be gone before then anyway.

* the French Vanilla Extract from Olive Nation is very strong, a little bit goes a long way. **not HFCS, just plain corn syrup- I used Karo because it does not have HFCS, the store  brand sitting right next to it on the grocery shelf does have HFCS.  The corn syrup is used to help in binding so the thicker condensed milk doesn’t settle to the bottom, it also adds a little extra something to the flavor that was missing in previous attempts.     

side note:  you will notice the evaporated milk in the pictures which I used in a few attempts but not in the final recipe.

Let’s say this is one more item that we can remove from our grocery list and make our own.

I hope you enjoy this recipe.  If you have any make your own recipes that you would like to share, please leave them in the comments section.  I will probably try it too.

Thanks for reading and sharing.

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About Debra

Hey Y'all, I'm Debra, Southern but not a Charmer - A little bit opinionated, a little bit stubborn, a little bit strong willed, and a little bit witty. Homemaker & Homeschooler - Enjoys Cooking and Crafting but not Cleaning - Never enough time to do it all - Gotta have Coffee, Chocolate, Good Books, Flipflops, and the occasional Sweet Tea- Runner Wannabe - Finding and claiming balance between healthier options for home and body, but not being a slave to those choices. Lover and Follower of Jesus, it's a relationship not a religion.
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