It is here! It has arrived! ‘Tis the season for all things pumpkin!
I am a pumpkin lover. Fall is wonderful because it brings cooler weather after our crazy hot and humid summer months, and SO MUCH PUMPKIN! It is always exciting to see the pumpkin flavored items return to the stores and coffee shops. Pumpkin breads, pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin pancake mix, pumpkin granola, pumpkin cinnamon rolls, pumpkin scones, etc, etc. I thank Trader Joe’s for most of my pumpkin goods because they have a seriously wonderful plethora of pumpkin items.
Although I have a crazy love for pumpkin flavored foods, I had never had the famed pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks until last weekend. I know, who am I? The last one to the PSL boat ever. I don’t drink coffee very often, I’m more of a tea person, but I have a definite appreciation for coffee and coffee drinks. There are some days when tea just doesn’t do the trick and you need that cup of coffee (for some that just happens to be every day).
Since the PSL has had so much hype over the past few years I had high expectations going into it. I thought the drink would taste like a cloud of smooth, milky coffee with a distinct pumpkin flavor. I probably just set the bar way to high, but I was unimpressed. I really wanted it to win big points and it definitely wasn’t my favorite drink on the menu. Instead, I set out to create a tastier, cheaper version that I could have in the comfort of my own cozy home. This DIY won big time.
You can adjust the amount of pumpkin spice syrup to your liking for a sweeter or less sweet cup of joe. No fear fellow tea loves, added to a cup of chai tea, the pumpkin spice syrup makes a delicious pumpkin chai tea latte too. If you want to use less sugar overall, replace the sugar with a sugar substitute or try substituting maple syrup for some of the sugar. Coffee shops usually add vanilla syrup to their pumpkin spice lattes. To imitate that we add a bit of vanilla extract. If you like the vanilla flavor, up the amount of extract or pull out that vanilla coffee syrup we made earlier this year.
Mmmm, fall is wonderful. Whip up this delicious pumpkiny treat, surround yourself with pumpkins, warm blankets, cozy socks and a view of those beautiful fall leaves and you have it made. A slice of pumpkin bread on the side never hurt either.
Pumpkin Spice Syrup
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon or 4-5 cinnamon sticks (or a combination)
heavy 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon allspice
4 tablespoons pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon vanilla
Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte
1-2 tablespoons Pumpkin Spice Syrup
espresso, strongly brewed coffee, or strongly brewed chai tea
To make the Pumpkin Spice Syrup
Place all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir the ingredients together until the sugars dissolve. Lower the heat to low or medium heat and continue cooking for another 5-6 minutes. Do not allow the mixture to boil. Strain the mixture through a sieve or fine mesh. You can store the syrup in an airtight container for about 2 weeks in the refrigerator. The spices settle to the bottom so shake or stir well before each use.
To make your Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte
Note: Everyone has different ways they take their coffee so I’ll leave the proportions of coffee and milk up to you. A traditional latte would use about a 1 to 1 ratio of espresso or strong coffee and milk, but feel free to adjust based on your coffee preferences. 1-2 tablespoons of syrup is usually good for a 10-12 oz mug, but you can adjust that based on the size of your mug and your preference for sweetness. The syrup is also great in regular coffee if you don’t want a latte and makes a great pumpkin chai tea latte.
If you have a milk frother: Heat and froth your milk according to your milk frother’s instructions.
If you do not have a milk frother: Pour more milk than you need for your latte into a microwave-safe cup, bowl or jar. Shake the jar with all of your might or whisk the milk in your cup/bowl as hard as you can until you create milk foam. Heat up the milk in the microwave until the milk is hot.
Pour your hot coffee/espresso/chai and 1-2 tablespoons of the pumpkin spice syrup into your mug. Hold the milk foam in your cup back with a spoon and pour the warm milk into your mug. Stir your coffee to mix the milk with the pumpkin spice syrup and coffee. Spoon the milk foam on top and sprinkle with cinnamon. If you have whipped cream around, by all means plop some of that on top too. After all, there’s only one PSL season a year. Put on your coziest sweater and enjoy the fall weather and your homemade PSL!