My morning simply doesn't start well without a big mug filled with equal portions of espresso and hot, foamy milk. It's so important that for a long time I put up with the spurting and spattering of the steam jet on my espresso machine. When the plunger devices that force bubbles into hot milk came along, I was an immediate convert. Now, I've found an even more effective tool: the Froth Au Lait. It heats the milk while frothing it with a whisk. You just set the pitcher on the motor base, add the milk, put the cover in place, and push the button; the machine shuts off automatically in about 3 minutes.
Curiously, the finest, thickest, and most stable milk froth is made with nonfat milk (1 cup becomes about 4 cups), but low-fat (1%) and reduced-fat (2%) also make richly textured foams. Whole milk gets somewhat frothy, but cream doesn't foam up.
Hot milk froth has many uses beyond coffee drinks. We flavored it with chocolate drink powders, malted milk powder, and flavored syrups to make luxuriously thick beverages. Try the hot sundae that follows. Froth Au Lait: $49.95; (866) 376-8437 or www.frothaulait.com.