Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Pumpkin spice latte

Update: What was a yummy drink on the first day became a heavenly and wonderfully frothy drink on the second day. I had leftover of the pumpkin/milk mixture in the fridge and I thought I would whiz it in the blender to remix before adding coffee... That simple act (which I admit I ignored on the first day, what with the fear of being burned...) really did elevate the whole thing. In the future what I will do is mix up the pumpkin, milk and spices in the blender before warming, thus avoiding the inevitable trip to the ER.

Tis the season for all things pumpkin. I've got recipes for pumpkin soup, pumpkin bread, pumpkin fudge, pumpkin snickerdoodles, pumpkin cheese dip, pumpkin cinnamon rolls... you get my drift.

But for a lot of people, the season is heralded by the beginning of pumpkin lattes at their favorite coffee joint. Which, generally speaking, seems to be late September, early October... (and, like holiday displays at WalMart, that seems to creep back each year... one day soon we'll turn around and have pumpkin pie right after the 4th of July.) (I hope not, but some months it kind of feels like that.)

For me, the pumpkin latte is a rare and special treat--I really only need one or two of them a season to get my fill. Rather like pumpkin pie. I could eat pumpkin bread all day, but pumpkin pie, for some reason, isn't high on my list.

So when I saw this recipe, I thought it might be worth a whirl, using my "homemade is better" logic, of course. One of my beefs with flavored coffees is the too-sweet factor, and it seemed that being able to control that sweetness might be a good thing. Sure enough. This was good. I adjusted a few things as you'll see below, but it was definitely a warm and soothing send-off to the day...

Pumpkin Spice Latte
makes 1-2 servings

2 cups milk
4 tablespoons canned pumpkin (original recipe called for 2 Tbsp, but it just wasn't pumpkin-y enough for me, surprisingly)
2 tablespoons sugar or sugar substitute (I used Splenda) (adjust according to your tastes... I say I don't like it sweet, but compared to a lot of coffee drinkers, I do... and if you add more pumpkin, you'll probably want more sweet)
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1-2 shots espresso (about 1/4 cup of espresso or 1/2 cup of strong brewed coffee if you don’t have an espresso machine)

In a saucepan combine milk, pumpkin and sugar and cook on medium heat, stirring, until steaming.

Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and spice, transfer to a blender and process for 15 seconds until foamy. If you don’t have a blender, don’t worry about it – just whisk the mixture really well with a wire whisk. (I didn't use the blender--I could just imagine the hot milk mixture leaping from up and scalding me! Trust me, it would happen... to me.)

Pour into a large mug or two mugs. Add the espresso on top.

Top with whipped cream and sprinkle pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg or cinnamon on top. (I didn't do any of those things, and my mug was still lovely. Maybe I'll indulge in the full deal on the weekend...)

Happy autumn flavors!


  1. I'm in a hurry this morning and was scanning your post (will read later, I promise!) and this caught my eye: BEEF FLAVORED COFFEE. I thought right away, yep, Sherilee's finally lost it with the "homemade is better" policy if she's fiddling around with beef flavored beverages.

  2. Going to make some of that pumpkin spice latte for your father and me...what a lovely way to celebrate a beautiful day!

  3. Officially Halloween-tested and pronounced delicious with decaf (Ethan), regular (Cliff) and chai (me). Yummm.

  4. ooh I'm so excited to make this Pumpkin Spice Latte! You posted this for me...I just know it!!! Thank you....and keep writing, I love it over here on your blog!


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