Ever since brewing up my very first cup of mud so many years ago as a wee preteen, using my little pink Hello Kitty coffee maker and all, I've been a strictly black coffee kind of gal. No sugar, no cream, thank you very much. Simply a means of getting a quick caffeine pick me up, it's always been a no-frills affair. However, you'll rarely be able to poke around in my fridge without finding at least one pint of creamer chilling out. An incredibly useful ingredient, it often finds its way into baked goods and desserts of all varieties, adding richness and sweetness like no other vegan alternative. Up until recently though, that creamer was always soy-based, as there were simply no other options out there.
You've probably already guessed it, but this looks like another job for coconut! Matching the standard trio of flavored soy creamers, Turtle Mountain has now leveled the field with another reason for soy-avoiding vegans to be delighted.
Trying for get a basic understanding of the product to begin with, I naturally chose to Original (plain) variety to sample first. Surprisingly less sweet than expected, and very neutral in flavor, it would make for a completely inoffensive addition to coffee indeed. Agreeable enough to pair well with any flavored coffee, it would also happily blend into the background of any baked good, just as you might hope for from standard dairy cream. In fact, I'm willing to bet that dairy-drinkers would welcome this creamer in their cup of joe, too. Despite its subtlety, there's not a hint of coconut flavor- A truly impressive feat in my book.
Stepping it up a notch with the French Vanilla, it's immediately apparent that this one is sweeter. In fact, it was sweet enough that when sampled with coffee, it would be overkill to add in any sugar along with it. Perfectly suited for making fancy lattes if one so desired, its light, floral vanilla essence adds volumes of flavor. Easily my top pick of the group, this one convinced me that there may be merit in coffees lightened with creamer yet.
Now fighting a mean coffee buzz, it seemed time to put away the brew and pull out the ice cream machine instead. By far my favorite use for creamer, it was only a matter of minutes before the Hazelnut coconut creamer was whipped into an ice cream base with a touch of vanilla bean paste, and then was churning away. Anxious to have a taste right away, I served it straight out of the machine like soft serve, and oh, what a treat it was. Ultra smooth and creamy, it was unbelievable that such a simple concoction could be so good. Though it has the vague aroma of almond extract, it is easily distinguishable on the tongue, with more complex nuances than almond. Happily, it's not the least bit bitter, as some hazelnut-infused foods can be. Score yet another one for the mighty coconut! I for one can't even imagine what it may turn up in next.