There are a few little preparation quirks that distinguish a good smoothie from a great one - at least in my book. For one, I like to par-freeze the fruit I'm using - not rock solid, mind you - because it helps thicken the drink; room temperature fruit only thins it. Ditto for the liquid I use, in this case coffee - usually left over from the pot I've made that morning. As prepared here, this smoothie has a mild coffee flavor, but if you want a stronger coffee kick then go ahead and use some double strength brewed coffee that has been well chilled.
- 3⁄4-1 cup fresh brewed coffee, cooled
- 1 medium banana, peeled
- 1 -2 tablespoon sugar (optional) or 1 -2 tablespoon honey, to taste (optional)
- 1 1⁄2 cups french vanilla yogurt (low-fat or nonfat is fine)
- 1 -2 tablespoon protein powder (or other nutritional powder) (optional)
- 1 teaspoon chocolate syrup (optional)
- 1 drop vanilla extract
- Twenty to thirty minutes before you plan to mix your smoothie, put the coffee in a shallow pan and place it in the freezer, stirring once or twice after 15 minutes.
- It should become slushy-icy.
- Thinly slice the banana onto a plate and put that in the freezer as well, to chill.
- While you're waiting, chill the glasses you plan to use.
- When you're ready to proceed, combine the chilled coffee, banana, and sugar to taste in a blender.
- Blend just until smooth.
- Add the yogurt and any of the remaining ingredients you wish to use.
- Blend again, briefly, just until smooth. Taste, adding a little more sugar if needed. Transfer to the chilled glasses and serve.