I'm a Food Writer, and This $17 Milk Frother Is My Go-To Stocking Stuffer This Year

It was the best gift I gave my daughter last year.

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Zulay Original Milk Frother Handheld Foam Maker for Lattes
Photo: amazon.com

Teeangers are the most critical gift judges in the world. The silence that follows the unwrapping of a gift has the tension of a horror movie climax. A slowly delivered "thank you," can be devastating. But I've come here to tell the tale of the single greatest gift I gave my teenage daughter in the past year.

It's not fancy. It fit in her stocking. And yet, the Zulay Original Milk Frother brought her more joy than I could have imagined. My daughter loves chai lattes. And the idea that she could have a decaffeinated chai latte whenever she wanted was transformational. This milk frother, only $17 right now, gave her agency and a license to play around in the kitchen.

Zulay Original Milk Frother Handheld Foam Maker for Lattes

To buy: $17; amazon.com.

The electric frother is dead simple. You hold it in one hand, and depress the button on top to move the frother below. When you let go, the frother stops. My daughter, a perfectionist who can be easily frustrated when something doesn't go right the first time, was smitten when she quickly discovered that moving the frother up and down, would yield a foamy latte in 30 seconds.

The electric frother runs on two AA batteries (not included). While that doesn't give it the strength of an immersion blender, it can turn a few ounces of milk into whipped cream in a little over a minute. Even with us using it several times a week, it's still going strong a year later on that initial set of batteries.

After each use, we give the bottom metal half a quick rinse with dish soap and water. Be careful to keep the plastic top with the batteries out of the water. Then, we towel the frother dry and slot it back in the included metal holder. It has a home on the bar in our dining room; but it would look nice on a coffee bar and is small enough to fit in a drawer.

While my daughter is in school (be cool and keep this secret), I regularly use the frother during the day. It was great for the few months when the world was making dalgona coffee, a whipped blend of instant coffee, sugar and water. And I've found it makes a nifty baby iced mocha latte by quickly blitzing cold brew coffee, chocolate syrup, and milk.

The frother has come in handy for more than just coffee. My daughter often uses it to mix hot chocolate and a dollop of whipped cream. The light, fluffy hot chocolate lets mini marshmallows float on top and keeps them from melting quickly. Pro tip: Pulse the frother up and down, rather than hold it still in the liquid to avoid splatter.

Like many of my favorite kitchen tools, I've found unexpected uses for the handheld frother. I grab it in a pinch to quickly scramble a pair of eggs for a sandwich. And when I'm dressing a lunch salad for myself, I mix oil, vinegar, and herbs in a tall glass (remember the splatter?). I know egg white cocktails can be polarizing; but I've frothed a few egg whites for a New York Sour, a layered bourbon drink made with lemon, simple syrup, and red wine. I'd recommend it.

The Zulay Original Milk Frother is a great stocking stuffer or a solid alternative to giving a host a bottle of wine, especially if they're a chai or coffee drinker. More importantly, if you're a late gift-getter like me, you can still buy it on Amazon for $17 right now for delivery by Christmas.

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