A bulletproof coffee smoothie

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I love coffee. My standard order is simple: coffee with milk, no sugar. I don't veer off into milkshake-land or over-sweetened hot-chocolate-type drinks with folds of fluffy whipped cream.

So when bulletproof coffee — usually a mug of joe blended with butter — became trendy a few years ago, it was a non-issue for me. Why mess with 30 years of simple coffee-drinking perfection?

Proponents claimed bulletproof coffee helped them lose weight (I was skeptical), and it gave them more energy (wasn't that the point of caffeine?). And then I tried it: it was downright delicious; lusciously creamy. Why didn't the PR folks lead with that?

For those of you who have not tried bulletproof coffee, it is essentially hot coffee blended up with a spoonful of coconut oil or ghee (clarified butter) until the whole mixture becomes creamy pale brown, as the oil emulsifies into the coffee. Usually, a little vanilla or cinnamon is added.

Basically, it's creamy coffee, without the cream, and a coconut flavor undertone. It appeals to the dairy-free and paleo crowd to be sure, but honestly, anyone who loves coffee should try it at least once. (Tip: be very careful when you blend up hot liquids in a blender.)

Now, imagine that your bulletproof coffee and your favorite smoothie had a child. That is my recipe today — Frozen Bulletproof Coffee — and it may become your new favorite coffee order.

I made this version with peanut butter, banana and cinnamon, but feel free to swap out ingredients and make it your own — add pumpkin pie spice and you'll be super seasonal. Even if you are addicted to the fluffy frozen dessert concoctions that are made in the name of coffee, you will love this frozen bulletproof coffee.

(Fluffy coffee drinkers note: there's no added sugar in my recipe, but feel free to add a small spoonful of honey if you must.) Bulletproof coffee is like being on an exotic vacation — I love it, but I also crave the homey comfort of my standard cup of morning joe. When I feel like something special, though, this Frozen Bulletproof Coffee is my go-to.

Frozen bulletproof coffee

Start to finish: 5 minutes

Servings: 1

Ingredients:

3/4 cup brewed black coffee (hot)

1 tablespoon coconut oil (not melted)

1 cup ice cubes

1 tablespoon peanut butter

1/2 banana, frozen and sliced

1 tablespoon plain protein powder, plant-based or whey (optional)

Pinch cinnamon

Dash vanilla

Pinch salt

Directions:

Place the coffee in a blender and add the coconut oil. Cover, leaving the lid a little askew (so steam doesn't build up), and cover with a kitchen towel. Carefully blend on medium-high until coconut oil is emulsified into the coffee and it is creamy brown, about 30 seconds. Add the ice cubes and the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth, about 30 more seconds. Pour into a large glass and enjoy.

Note: It's important to make the bulletproof coffee first before adding the other ingredients so that the coconut oil emulsifies properly.

Nutritional information per serving: 306 calories; 195 calories from fat; 22 g fat (14 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 20 mg cholesterol; 108 mg sodium; 19 g carbohydrate; 3 g fiber; 9 g sugar; 11 g protein.

Food Network star Melissa d'Arabian is an expert on healthy eating on a budget. She is the author of the cookbook "Supermarket Healthy." Online: http://www.melissadarabian.net


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