Starbucks really jumped the season this year – Pumpkin Spice syrup in August? Guess they figured if Costco has Christmas up on August 1st, they can push their seasons as well. I loved the “secret” get-it-early push. Oh please. Come on, give me to at least the 1st. I wanna pretend it is sweater weather….I was trying on sweaters yesterday and sweating to death in the tiny changing room.
Truthfully, I could have pumpkin treats year round. But…SB’s PSL isn’t something I can drink every day. It is worse than drinking a caramel latte made with the sauce. Not exactly lightweight in calories, fat or sugar content. A grande, made with whole milk and whip cream? Over 400 calories, nearly 50 grams sugar, and ouch…I gotta not look at nutritional stats. I had a free one yesterday, and after a third of my drink I tossed it. It was way too sweet. I couldn’t taste the coffee at all. It was just numbing sugar. And more so, isn’t vegan – even with soy milk, if you care. We can do better!
Fall is coming, so let’s celebrate with 5 Days of Recipes, all featuring the heavenly aromas of Pumpkin Spice! And up first? Pumpkin Spice Syrup and Pumpkin Spice Lattes (ooh, bonus day – you get two recipes!)
Pumpkin Spice Syrup
- 1½ cups water
- 1½ cups organic sugar
- 4 cinnamon sticks (about 4″ long each)
- 1 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- ¼ cup pumpkin purée
Add the water, sugar and cinnamon sticks to a tall saucepan. Heat over medium, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. Add in remaining spices and pumpkin, stir in. Cook for 5 minutes more, stirring often, do not let boil.
Let cool for 30 minutes, then strain through a Jelly Strainer Bags. Transfer to a glass storage container, seal and refrigerate. A tall olive oil bottle with pour spout works great.
Don’t press hard on the jelly bag, or too much solids will pass through. I rest my bag in a fine mesh strainer, over a bowl. Discard the pulp and cinnamon sticks left in bag.
Pumpkin Spice Latte
- 2 to 3 Tbsp pumpkin spice syrup
- Milk, of choice
- 2 shots espresso
- Whip cream, if desired
- Pumpkin spice blend, for topping
For a grande latte, steam about 1½ cups milk to desired temperature. I go for about 150° to 160° personally.
Pour syrup into mug, add in about half the milk, while pouring shots:
Add in shots, down the center of mug, top with remaining milk. Decorate top as desired.
When using non-dairy milks, use unsweetened and organic for best results. Almond often steams easiest, with little carry-over taste. I find that soy fries on the steaming wand, so have a wet rag ready when you take the wand out of the pitcher. Rice tends to be watery, coconut is delicious, but has a very pronounced flavor when warm. As always, if you drink dairy, whole tastes best.
I realize of course that not every one has an espresso machine on hand. I was a barista in my 20’s for 9 years. This is the machine we run on: Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine. No, it isn’t cheap. It runs beautifully – and is pretty user-friendly (also easy for the non-barista to master).
So…the other thing is yes, you can warm milk in a saucepan and use double strength brewed coffee – but that isn’t a true latte. Please, consider an espresso machine if you love lattes. Find a barista who is nice, and ask them to teach you the basics. I did this for many customers. Once you learn how…next thing you know, you’ll have a showcase machine and all the tools to go with it And a tip jar on your counter! Your machine will pay for itself quickly if you are a daily drinker!
See you tomorrow and have a wonderful Labor Day!