Homemade Pumpkin Spice Lattes.
For some reason, I've never liked Starbucks' Pumpkin Spice Lattes. I really, really wanted to like them, though. When I used to work there, I would see everyone getting so excited about the arrival of their favorite seasonal drink. I love seasonal stuff, but I just can't. I decided to try and make my own pumpkin spice lattes at home.
There are a lot of other recipes out there, most of them aimed at duplicating Starbucks' version, or making the drink healthier or cheaper. I just wanted to improve the flavor. Now, I know a lot of people aren't going to think that the flavor needs improving, and I totally understand that. Just don't think of this as a "copycat" recipe, but as another way to enjoy a little seasonal indulgence. I don't really like Starbucks' copycat recipes, anyway, because Starbucks sells their actual syrups (including Pumpkin Spice), and I'm sure that most people don't have professional grade espresso machines in their homes.
If you've never been a Pumpkin Spice Latte fan, you should still give this one a try. Like the Starbucks' version, it's got lots of condensed milk (who can argue with that?*), but unlike Starbucks' version, there's 100% pure pumpkin in it. If you can't get past the idea of pumpkin in coffee, the pumpkin base can also be used in a bunch of different (and even more delicious) ways. Below I've included recipe ideas for Pumpkin Spice White Russians and Pumpkin Spice Milkshakes (my favorite). You could also do Pumpkin Spice White Hot Chocolates, Pumpkin Spice Cremes (like the lattes, but without espresso), or even use it as a little sweet spread (on Maria cookies would be good).
Homemade Pumpkin Spice Sauce
1 15 oz. can of 100% pure pumpkin
1 14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk
1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. honey
1 tsp. real maple syrup
Pinch of salt
Whisk together all ingredients in a small pot over medium heat until smooth and thoroughly combined. You can store the sauce in the fridge in an airtight container for a few weeks.
For Pumpkin Spice Lattes: place two tablespoons in the bottom of a 10 to 12 ounce mug. Pour in a shot or two of freshly brewed espresso, stir together quickly, and top with 8 ounces of freshly steamed milk. Serve topped with whipped cream and a sprinkle of a cinnamon.
For Pumpkin White Russians: in a cocktail shaker with ice, combine 2 oz. vodka, 1 oz. Kahlua, 1 oz. heavy cream, and 1 tbsp. pumpkin sauce. Shake well and strain into an Old Fashioned glass (in this case, a re-purposed Ikea candle).
For Pumpkin Spice Milkshakes: Combine 2-3 scoops of ice cream (vanilla is a good choice, but try it with eggnog ice cream if you get a chance), 1/3 cup of milk, and 3 tbsp. of pumpkin sauce in a blender. Serve topped with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon.