What do you get when you combine dates with maca? Caramel. Not the sickly kind – I’m talking earthy, malty, bear-hug caramel, the type that makes you feel like you’ve just put on an oversized woolly jumper. This warming Caramel Maca Latte is my new favourite mid-arvo bevvy, and hits the 3pm sweet + cosy cravings perfectly.
Here’s what we’re talking…
- Made in 5 mins with just 5 simple ingredients
- Caffeine free (making it great for afternoons and eves)
- No added sugars, yet perfectly sweet
- The perfect sub for your afternoon caffeination cravings
I’m also going to teach you a bit more about maca, a great little add-in to your weekly routine, which can support energy, hormone balance, fertility, and even rev things up in the bedroom. Did I get you now? Alright, let’s get cosy.
How to Make a Caramel Maca Latte
What are caramel lattes normally made from?
Rock out a caramel latte from the likes of Starbucks, and here’s what you’re in for:
Dairy milk, caramel syrup, coffee, brown sugar, caramel sauce, whipped cream
One large caramel latte with regular dairy milk and whipped cream = 410 calories. The same as eating 5 apples.
I remember ordering these types of drinks when I was a teenager, having no idea how much of a weapon they were. Great news is, we can recreate all of those caramel feels with a few creatively combined plant-based ingredients, and skip the sugar + cream hangover afterwards as well.
Ingredients for this caramel maca latte
I promised you 5 ingredients, so 5 ingredients we shall (plus salt – I never count the salt, are you ok with that?). Here’s what you’ll want to grab now:
- Plant-based milk (I’ve used soy, but oat, almond, rice, hemp – any will do)
- Dates (the regular kind, not medjoul)
- Maca powder (we’ll chat more about this guy below)
- Vanilla extract
Blitz this up in a blender or bullet, and heat it up with either a coffee machine or on the stove, and caramelly latte deliciousness is yours.
What is maca?
Maca is a root vegetable that grows wild in Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay and Argentina. It looks a little like a caramel coloured radish, and smells like butterscotch crossed with sweet potato or kumara.
Maca is more commonly known as Peruvian Ginseng, which, if you know anything about the ginseng family, gives you a hint as to some of its properties. Ginsengs are adaptogenic substances, meaning they help us cope in times of stress – increasing the body’s resistance or “adaptation” to physical, emotional or biological stressors. Most people in our modern world would do well by taking some sort of adaptogenic substance (myself included).
Nutritional benefits of maca
In addition to being used to enhance the body’s stress response, maca has also traditionally been used for anaemia (low red blood cell count), chronic fatigue syndrome, and to enhance energy, stamina, athletic performance, and memory.
In the hormonal arena, it has been used for female hormonal imbalance, menstrual cycle irregularities, re-stablishing periods, fertility, menopausal sypmtoms, impotence, and as an aphrodisiac for both men and women. I often have women ask me whether it’s safe to take maca, given its ability to alter hormonal balance and impact estrogen levels. There is not a lot of clinical research on maca (as with many natural supplements), and as a result, many people will suggest avoiding use in pregnancy, lactation, and endocrine cancers (breast/uterine/ovarian/endometriosis). My personal recommendation is if you have an estrogen-influenced cancer or are in the first two trimesters of pregnancy with a history of miscarriage, you may be best to avoid it. However, if you are breastfeeding, and your milk is flowing well, there is no reason to not include it in your diet.
Meanwhile, if you are trying to get pregnant, or just wanting balance your hormones (either menstrual or menopausal), maca is an excellent nutritional addition. There are numerous case studies reporting positive experiences with fertility, menstrual management, and the improvement of menopausal symptom such as hot flushes, vaginal dryness, and low libido. In addition to these case studies, preliminary clinical research has showed that maca can improve sexual dysfunction and libido in women and men, as well improving volume, count and motility of our male swimmers (sperm).
Substitution ideas for these caramel maca lattes
Back to our luscious lattes. It’s a pretty basic ingredient list, but here are a few flex ideas in case you don’t have everything at the ready right now:
- Plant-milk – I’ve used soy here as that’s what we had in the fridge, but oat would also be a great choice. If you want something lighter and less creamy, then almond, coconut (not from the can), or rice would also work well. Note that rice milk is naturally much sweeter than the other milks so you might want to drop one of the dates (or just be happier with a sweeter result).
- Dates – I recommend regular dried dates for these, but if you want you could use the fancier (more expensive) medjoul or fresh dates. I typically don’t use those as much as they are so much more expensive, and honestly this bevvy works just as well with the regular cheapies. If you are using medjouls, I’d just use 2-3. If you don’t have dates, you could use ¼ cup of raisins or sultanas.
- Maca powder – if you don’t have this, you could play with adding lucuma or mesquite powder if you have any lurking. Otherwise just skip it – they’re still tasty without.
- Cinnamon – if you don’t have the dry powder, add a drop of cinnamon oil instead (order the food-grade oils I use here). You could also use ½ teaspoon of clove powder, a pinch of nutmeg, or 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder for a different vibe.
- Vanilla extract – use ¼ teaspoon of vanilla powder, or 2 drops of vanilla oil.
Tips for making the best whole foods lattes
It’s hard to go wrong with these epic lattes, but here are two of my top tips:
- Blend for at least a minute – when we’re blending dates and other things like nuts, it’s best to blend for at least 60 seconds to get that café-like creamy result. No-one wants chunks of dates in their latte, and also, it won’t be sweet enough if you do.
- Use organic when you can – it goes without saying, organic ingredients just taste better. So when you’re making a simple recipe like this one, see if you can get organic dates, or organic cinnamon, or organic natural vanilla extract or oil. It’ll make a big difference to the lushness of your end result.
How to store your latte
This latte can go either way – hot, or cold. If you want it hot, I froth mine up with our coffee machine steam, but you can also just gently heat it on the stove. Or, in the microwave at a pinch. You can also heat the milk before hand if you like, and then blend it hot, if you want to retain maximum frothiness.
Cold though it’s also delicious. My kids love drinking this as a caramel milk, and it’ll keep in a sealed glass bottle in the fridge for 3-4 days. I typically make a two person batch like this one, and give one to Tony or the kids, but if they’re not home I’ll just pop it in the fridge and reheat with the milk frother the next day.
Love a good hot bevvy? Try these next:
If you make this Caramel Maca Latte, I’d love to hear what you think. Leave me a rating and comment below (it helps others find the recipe too), and tag me on Instagram @begoodorganics! I can’t wait to hear how you get on.
- 2 cups plant-based milk
- 4 dates
- 1 tbsp maca
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch sea salt
- Add all ingredients to a blender, and blend for 1 minute on high until the mixture is super creamy and smooth.
- For a cold maca latte, serve as is or with a few cubes of ice. For a hot latte, froth with a coffee machine milk frother, or heat gently in a pan until hot but not boiling, and serve immediately sprinkled with cinnamon. Any leftover latte, pour into a glass bottle, seal tightly, and store in the fridge for 3 days.
- If you don’t have any plant milk handy, just add 2 cups of water along with 1/4 cup of cashews, macadamias, or hemp seeds.