Have you ever flipped through the pages of a coffee menu, saw the item “Half and half”, and wondered what it was and if it was worth trying out?
If you are like many people, you would probably skip it and go for something you are more familiar with.
After all, what you don’t know won’t kill you (or harm your taste buds).
But there’s no harm in finding out what this coffee-related item is, is there?
More so, as you keep reading through this article, you’ll find out that half and half is worth considering especially if you want a middle ground between what whole milk and heavy cream provide (spoiler alert!).
And if you are here to find out if this creamer is bad for you and whether or not it will be a useful addition to your diet, we will explain all of that in this article.
But, first, let’s start with a detailed description.
What is Half and Half?
For the uninitiated, it is a coffee creamer that is right between light milk and heavy cream in terms of fat content and texture.
If you’ve ever been to a hotel or diner and noticed small containers of coffee creamer, there’s a high chance that the creamer is this blend we are talking about here.
But where does this creamer get its name from? Well, the name explains the composition of the creamer. The name means it contains equal parts of regular milk and heavy cream.
This implies that irrespective of the quantity you use, the composition of the milk and cream will always be in the ratio 1:1.
So, say you have 4 cups of the creamer, 2 of it will be regular milk and the other 2 cups will be heavy cream.
What is It Used For?
Since you most likely came across the name “Half and Half” at a coffee shop, then you already know that it can be used as a creamer in your cup of coffee. However, it has several other uses.
For starters, you can add it to your mashed potatoes to add creaminess and rich silkiness to your dish.
You can also add it to your caramel sauce, quiche custards, and French sodas.
So, if you are looking to add the sort of rich creaminess that is not as light as whole milk and is not as heavy as the ultra-rich cream, then this option is something you should consider.
However, unlike heavy cream that you can easily whip up, this creamer doesn’t have enough fat in it to achieve the same results. So, if you are looking to get some homemade whipped cream on your dessert, you are better off with heavy cream.
You can click here to learn about the difference between the common coffee creamers.
FDA stipulates that this creamer should have 10.5 percent to 18 percent of milkfat. Just so you know, regular milk contains 3.25 percent of milkfat, while heavy cream has 36 percent of milkfat.
So, if you want to reduce your calorie intake or the amount of fat in your diet, then this blend is a good substitute for heavy cream.
For context, 4 teaspoons of this blend has 80 calories while heavy cream of the same amount contains 100 calories.
Is There Such a Thing as Fat-free Half and Half?
Yes, there is. However, the fat-free version is made with corn syrup, skimmed milk, and different chemicals like additives and colorings.
If you ask us, we will advise you to choose the regular option over the fat-free version because the regular is safer and healthier.
What are the Substitutes?
Some food recipes require half and half. But what do you do when you can’t get your hands on any at the store? Use available substitutes.
Here are some substitutes that you can try:
1. Equal Parts of Whole Milk and Heavy Cream
Remember that Half and Half is equal parts of whole milk and heavy cream. So, if you can’t get some from the store, simply mix equal parts of whole milk and heavy cream and use the mixture as the recipe requires.
However, note that the mixture won’t be as homogeneous as the store-bought version. The commercially-made version is mechanically mixed to achieve the homogeneity that you see when you add it to your cup of coffee.
2. Low-Fat Milk and Heavy Cream
Even if you take low-fat milk instead of whole milk, you can also make a substitute for this popular blend by mixing two-thirds of a cup of low-fat milk with one-third of a cup of heavy cream.
This substitute may not be as perfect as the commercial creamer but it works as a substitute. Visit https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/dairy-and-egg-products/48/2 for nutritional information about this creamer.
3. Whole Milk and Melted Butter
To make this substitute, melt a teaspoon of margarine or butter into a cup and mix it with an almost full cup of whole milk.
Half and half is a creamer that contains equal parts of whole milk and heavy cream. It is commonly used as a coffee creamer but it can also be used to add rich creaminess and silkiness to dishes like quiches, mashed potatoes, and panna cotta.
If you need a substitute, you can make yours by considering one of the three mixtures that we mentioned in this article. It shouldn’t be difficult to create the blend if you read through the article.