Now that I have perfected the art of making an espresso at home, I've been dabbling in fancier drinks. Starting with the one drink I always order at Starbucks - a caramel macchiato. At Starbucks, this is a layered drink that starts with a shot of vanilla syrup. They then fill the mug with hot steamed milk, add a shot of espresso and top with a drizzle of caramel.
The starting point of making this drink at home is the caramel drizzle. I used to be scared of making caramel but with this super easy sauce, I can make caramel in my sleep, with no thermometer whatsoever. You can make the drizzle as much as a week in advance but if you are anything like me, you will go back and eat it all by the spoonful so make it the same day or the day before at the earliest. If you want a professional drizzle, put the caramel sauce in a squeeze bottle while it's still warm. You can also forget all of the above and buy a bottle of caramel if burning sugar at home scares you.
Next step is to make an espresso. At the same time as my espresso was brewing on the stove, I put a cup of milk in a saucepan and put it on the stove to warm. When the milk started to simmer, I turned off the heat and used my milk foamer to make foamy steamed milk (its like a stick blender and works like magic with warm milk). Finally, since I was lacking in vanilla syrup, I took a tsp of vanilla essence and added it to the milk.
First went the vanilla milk in the cup. Then I poured a shot of espresso into the cup, trying to keep as much of the foam intact as I could. You need this foam of course to hold the caramel drizzle. As you can see, I did not have the presence of mind to use a squeeze bottle and drizzled the sauce with a spoon. So not as pretty as a Starbucks drink but it tasted pretty much the same. Much better in fact, because I used my favourite coffee beans.