A Taste of Autumn Any Time of the Year
The pumpkin spice latte revolutionized the coffee world when introduced in 2003. Since then, it seems every coffeehouse, fast-food restaurant and casual-theme restaurant has its own version of the popular drink. Now it's your turn.
Total Time: 10 minutes | Prep Time: 10 minutes | Serves: 2
- 2 tablespoons canned pumpkin
- 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, plus more for garnish
- 2 tablespoons sugar, plus more to taste
- 2 tablespoons real vanilla extract
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 shots espresso, or 1/2 to 1 cup freshly brewed strong coffee, divided
- 1/4 cup heavy cream, whipped to firm peaks
- 2 cinnamon sticks (optional)
- In a saucepan over medium heat, heat the pumpkin and spice until heated through and fragrant – about 2 minutes – stirring the pumpkin constantly.
- Stir in the sugar and continue cooking until the pumpkin reduces to a syrupy consistency – about 1 to 2 minutes.
- Whisk in the vanilla and milk and allow the mixture to heat through. Reduce the heat if you see the mixture about to bubble over.
- Using a stick blender (or regular blender), mix the pumpkin-milk mixture until frothy. Add one shot of espresso to each mug and pour in the pumpkin-milk mixture.
- Garnish with whipped cream and a cinnamon stick for each. You can also sprinkle a bit of pumpkin spice over the whipped cream, if desired.
Whole milk produces the richest flavor in a pumpkin spice latte. You can, however, substitute 2-percent milk or even skim milk to similar effect.
Not a coffee drinker? No problem. Follow the recipe as described, but omit the espresso.
For a vegan variation, substitute soy milk or a rich nut milk, such as cashew, almond or hazelnut. Coconut milk works well, too, and adds a compelling exotic note to the flavor profile.
Like mocha? Good, because mocha pumpkin spice lattes are a delight. To make a mocha pumpkin spice latte, add 2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder to the pumpkin base.
To make your pumpkin spice latte a veritable dessert in a cup, add 1 teaspoon of hazelnut syrup and 1 teaspoon of toffee nut syrup to the pumpkin base.
If you want a taste of autumn in the summer, but don't want a hot pumpkin spice latte during triple-digit weather, allow the latte to cool, then chill it in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes and blend it with ice.
A.J. Andrews' work has appeared in Food and Wine, Fricote and "BBC Good Food." He lives in Europe where he bakes with wild yeast, milks goats for cheese and prepares for the Court of Master Sommeliers level II exam. Andrews received formal training at Le Cordon Bleu.