September 26, 2012

Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe

I am obsessed with Starbucks' Pumpkin Spice Latte. Obsessed. This latte is the perfect combination of smooth coffee taste with the exact right amount of fall spice and pumpkin flavour. Autumn is my favourite season, and this drink is like the best elements of autumn in a mug. Delicious!

The only problem is that I can't keep going to Starbucks and buying these wonderful drinks - neither my wallet nor my waistline can afford it. So I decided to search the Internet to see if I could find a recipe for pumpkin spice lattes that are low in calories and dollars. After searching a few sites and various recipes I settled on the recipe below, from The Kitchn. This recipe appeared to the simple to make, and relatively healthy; as you can substitute canned pumpkin for pumpkin syrup the drink will contain a lot less sugar than the Starbucks original. Additionally, as I have many of the required ingredients on hand at home already (milk, sugar, coffee, etc.) this recipe doesn't break the bank.

Pumpkin Spice Latte

2 cups milk

2 tbsp canned pumpkin {can substitute with 1 tsp Torani Pumpkin Spice Syrup}
2 tbsp sugar {half this if too sweet}
2 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1-2 shots espresso {can substitute with 1/2 strong brewed coffee if you don't have an espresso machine}

1. In a saucepan combine milk, pumpkin, and sugar and cook on medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture is steaming.

2. Remove the mixture from heat and stir in the vanilla extract and the pumpkin spice.

3. Transfer the whole mixture to a blender and blend for approximately 15 seconds, until the mixture is foamy. If you don't have a blender, then use a wire whisk to whisk the mixture well until foamy.

4. Pour the mixture in a large mug or two medium-sized ones. Add the espresso {or coffee} on top of the mixture and stir. Be careful not to stir too much to decrease the foam created by blending/whisking the pumpkin and milk mixture.

6. {Optional} Top with whipped cream and garnish with additional pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, or nutmeg.

I initially tried out this recipe last week. It was delicious and a pretty good substitute to the Starbucks original, but I felt like something was a little off. It wasn't off in a bad way, but I found it to be a little more bitter than the original, which I assume is based on the fact that I used real pumpkin rather than a sugary flavoured syrup.

This evening I had some free time and decided to see if I could alter the recipe a little to make it turn out a little more like the original. However, it is really important to me that I don't add extra sugar, which would be an obvious fix given that I wanted to make the drink taste a little sweeter. Instead I decided to reduce the amount of pumpkin pie spice in the recipe to 1/4 tsp, as this spice tends to be strong and often bitter if used in excess. This made a bit of a difference, but it wasn't much sweeter.

So I gave in a little bit and I added some left over whipped cream, from when I made Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes earlier this week. This helped a lot, as it made the drink a lot more sweet. But I am still going to work on perfecting the taste of the drink without adding whipped cream, as I would like to make it as delicious as possible without consuming a ridiculous amount of calories. I'll keep you updated!

Photo Credit: Mashable

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