Friday, October 18, 2013

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte

I once read an article stating that 80% of Americans live within 20 miles of a Starbucks.  Well, I happen to be part of that lingering 20% that don’t live within 20 miles.  In fact, I’d have to drive a couple hours to get to the nearest true “coffee shop” (I’m not sure that McDonalds will ever count as a coffee shop in my book).  Oh one of the many “joys” of living in the middle-of-nowhere Texas :) 

I love coffee & coffee shops.  One of my most favorite jobs was in a coffee shop. I love creating & producing fancy beverages, as well as serving them to people.

Imagine my excitement and then sadness (plus a teensy bit of envy) when at the beginning of September, pumpkin spice lattes invaded social media. In south Texas, the beginning of September means we’re still in the thick of summer with temperatures remaining steady in the triple digits. All the pictures and mention of pumpkin spice anything made me really nostalgic for fall & for slightly cooler weather. I would have loved to taste a fall-themed beverage, even if I had to get it iced due to the scorching heat.  I even dreamed one night about getting a pumpkin spice latte....   

Instead of moping about not being able to buy a pumpkin spice latte, I decided to make my own!  I found a great post online for recreating the pumpkin spice syrup & I made a big batch one weekend. I cold brewed some coffee (which is better on my system these day) and mixed it with a generous portion of homemade foamed milk (all you need is a clean jar with a lid, a microwave & some milk).  A couple spoonfuls of the syrup & a sprinkling of cinnamon and I had my very own homemade pumpkin spice latte.

While traveling a couple of weeks ago, I finally bought myself a pumpkin spice latte.  But I realized that I may even prefer my homemade version! Thank goodness the batch of syrup is such a large amount--now I’m able to enjoy many, many PSLs at home, which I have been doing on a daily regular basis. 

Pumpkin Spice Latte Syrup 
adapted from A Beautiful Mess

2 cups water
10.5 oz / 1.5 c granulated sugar
3.75 oz / 0.5 c brown sugar
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
3.5 oz / 4 heaping Tbl pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling!) 
  1. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and stir just briefly to combine. 
  2. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, not stirring. 
  3. Strain into a jar & refrigerate once cool. Add back the cinnamon stick, if you like. 
  4. Syrup will keep in the refrigerator for several weeks (in fact, I think the flavor improves after a couple days).  Shake/mix well before using.  
PS Latte/Cafe au lait
Due to some health issues, I have to make my coffee beverages more milky.  Feel free to adjust these ratios to your preferences.  

1 tbl Pumpkin Spice Syrup
3 oz strong coffee (recipe for cold brew follows, or use french press coffee) 
5 oz foamed milk (recipe follows) 
ground cinnamon, for garnish
  1.  Add a tablespoon of pumpkin spice syrup to the bottom of a coffee cup.  Top with the strong coffee & microwave to warm. 
  2. Make the foamed milk (recipe follows). Add the milk part of the foamed milk & stir to combine the milk with the syrup & coffee. 
  3. Spoon the remaining milk foam over the drink & sprinkle with a little cinnamon.
  4. Taste & add more syrup, if desired.  

Homemade Foamed Milk
adapted from The Kitchn

Small Jar with a Lid 
  1. Fill the jar just shy of half way full of fresh, cold milk.  Tightly screw on the cover. 
  2. Vigorously shake the milk for 30 seconds.  (I usually do this over the sink just in case the lid leaks at all). 
  3. Remove the lid & microwave the jar for 30 seconds. 
  4. Pour the milk into hot coffee & spoon the foam on top.  

Note: do this just before serving & make only as much as needed--it really doesn't keep.

Cold Brew Coffee
Adapted from Food52

1/3 c Coffee Grounds (coarse ground is best)
1 1/2 c Cold Water
  1. Mix the coffee and cold water in a mason jar. Cover and refrigerate 12 hours. 
  2. Pour through a strainer lined with a coffee filter & place back into a jar. 
  3. The concentrated coffee will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. 
  4. To use, mix with equal parts cold or hot water, adjusting the amount of concentrated coffee to taste.  
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  1. I live less than five miles from three different Starbucks, but I still want to make this myself!

    1. Lucky you :) But, I agree, there is something about the convenience of making your own at home!

  2. Thank you so much for the recipe! I am excited to try it.. I also live far from a Starbucks, 3.5 hours to be exact. We live in Northern Ontario, Canada. lol.