Toasted Rice Horchata w/ Salted Caramel Drizzle & Coconut Charcoal Whipped Cream (vegan & gf)


Horchata is probably my favorite daytime drink. Why? Because it’s creamy, sweet, laced with cinnamon, and no one judges you for drinking it at 3pm (although I won’t look at you sideways if you want to drink a milkshake midday either). If you’ve never tasted it – prepare your tastebuds for a life changing event. Seriously, they’re going to build new societies after this.

But first, I guess a proper explanation is in store: Horchata is a creamy plant-milk beverage found in many cultures across the globe. Okay… yeah, that ain’t very specific. However, I can share a detailed description about the horchata we’re sharing with you today: Mexican-style horchata that’s creamy, sweet, infused with cinnamon, and made from a base of white rice. That’s right – Mexican horchata is a rice milk drink. The only problem is that many traditional recipes are sweetened with sweetened condensed milk for it’s added umph. Yikes. No worries, that’s why we’re making our own!

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So yeah, rice milk is delicious – especially the store bought versions – but homemade rice milk doesn’t achieve the same level of creaminess on its own. That’s why we’re bringing in some special techniques and ingredients that’ll make the store brought varieties bow down to this homemade treasure. First off, cooked rice will make your milk gummy, starchy, and overall bleh, but on the other hand, raw rice tastes… well, raw, which isn’t good either. To get around this, we toast our rice over dry heat until it’s lightly caramelized, which deepens the flavor of the milk without making it gummy.

Toasting the rice won’t make our milk creamy though, which is why we deploy coconut milk as well as sweetened condensed coconut milk as these will bring fat and viscosity to the party, which will make for full-bodied horchata. Because horchata’s sweet, the sweetened condensed coconut milk will also add sweetness, however we’re going to need a little but more – preferably in the form of a liquid. Ahh yes, agave syrup does the trick nicely – plus it comes from a plant native to Mexico. Match made in paradise.

Oh, you wanna know about the other stuff in the photos and title? Well, horchata doesn’t need any other team players to make it spectacular – this stuff is the nectar of the Gods on its own – but it doesn’t hurt to be a little fancy sometimes. That’s why we crank up the gears with a salted caramel drizzle based off of an Alton Brown recipe (shocking, I know) and top it off with black whipped cream BECAUSE IT’S FREAKING GOTHTOBER GUYS!

But more about those in the recipe, until then, this horchata is:

  • Sweet, creamy, and rich with cinnamon
  • Mexican-style horchata
  • Divine with salted caramel drizzle and coconut whipped cream
  • Vegan & Gluten-Free

Kickin’ Off Gothtober Right,
Ryan

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Toasted Rice Horchata w/ Salted Caramel Drizzle & Coconut Charcoal Whipped Cream (vegan & gf)

  • Servings: 9 cups
  • Difficulty: Moderate
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Sweet & creamy rice milk, rich with cinnamon, is complimented by a complex caramel drizzle. Topped off with black whipped cream for October's spooky spirit.

Ingredients

Horchata

  • 2 cups long grain white rice (we used Jasmine rice)
  • 2 – 2 ½” cinnamon sticks, broken into a couple pieces
  • 8 1/4 cups water, divided
  • 1 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 c sweetened condensed coconut milk
  • 1/4 c agave (plus more if pairing with caramel & whipped cream)

Salted Caramel Sauce*

  • 7 oz (3/4 cup + 2 tbsps) cane sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 2 tbsps agave
  • 3/16 tsp salt

Coconut Charcoal Whipped Cream

Directions

  1. Horchata: Heat a medium-large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add in dry rice and cinnamon pieces. Toast mixture, stirring frequently, until many grains of rice are lightly browned; about 4 minutes. 
  2. Note: Don’t go too long without stirring and keep a watchful eye on it because burnt rice is not what you want.
  3. Transfer rice and cinnamon to a blender and add in 6 ¼ cups of water. Place on the lid and let it soak overnight or for at least 8 hours.
  4. The next day (or after 8 hours), blend rice mixture on high speed until creamy and broken down; about 3 minutes. Pour mixture through a nut milk bag or a couple layers of cheesecloth in a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl. Squeeze out as much liquid as possible, which will take a couple minutes.
  5. Rinse out your blender and transfer strained rice milk back into blender. Add in coconut milk, sweetened condensed coconut milk, 1/4 cup agave, and 2 more cups of water. Blend on high for 1 minute. Blend in two separate batches then combine later if blender’s not big enough.
  6. Note: If you plan to drink your horchata with the caramel and whipped cream, add an extra 3 tablespoons of agave, that way its flavors won’t be overwhelmed by the other components’ sweetness. Otherwise, sweeten to taste.
  7. Empty out nut milk bag or cheesecloth from before and pour horchata through it again to ensure there’s no grittiness. Serve immediately over ice or store in a large pitcher in the fridge for up to 5 days – stir before drinking.
  8. Salted Caramel: Combine cane sugar, water, and agave together in a small, heavy-bottomed sauce pot over high heat. Give it a quick stir (just once), clip on a candy thermometer, and cook until the mixture reaches 230° F. When it hits that point, turn the heat to medium, and allow temperature to rise to 300° F.
  9. You can now gently stir the caramel with a silicone spatula. When the temperature reaches 340° F, turn off the heat, and carefully remove the thermometer. Quickly pour in the coconut milk and stand back as it will bubble up.
  10. As soon as the bubbling has simmered down, place back over medium heat, stir in salt, and cook for 2 more minutes. Allow it to cool for about 10 minutes before transferring to a squeeze bottle for easy control.
  11. Store caramel in the fridge for up to a month. To reheat the caramel sauce, place squeeze bottle in a pot with very hot water, changing out the water when it gets cool, until the sauce is loose again.
  12. Grand Finale: To make whipped cream, mix two tablespoons of coconut whipped cream per drink with enough charcoal to turn it black; about 1/4 teaspoon per 2 tablespoons of whipped cream. Add to a pastry bag if a pretty design is desired.
  13. Drizzle the inside of a glass with caramel, add in a few ice cubes, fill up glass with horchata, top with whipped cream, and finish with more caramel. Best enjoyed with a straw.

*For coconut whipped cream, you can make your own using heavy coconut whipping cream, which is what we usually do, but hear us out: SoDelicious makes a coconut whipped cream that can be found in the freezer section of many grocery markets. Yes, it looks like a tub of Cool Whip, but this stuff tastes delicious and it doesn’t melt within minutes at room temperature like homemade coconut whipped cream. Oh, and it’s pretty dang affordable too.

*Salted Caramel Sauce based off of an Alton Brown recipe for caramel sauce. No one’s more reliable than AB.

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