Pumpkin Spice Latte - Seasonal Coffee Recipes

The PSL has taken the world by storm. It has taken pumpkin from being only used in pies at holiday dinners to being a specialty coffee drink, a hair color, a pasta dish...anything you could think of. Pumpkin is to food as the little black dress is to wardrobes: a favorite on top of a must. We, at Lattes, Life & Luggage, love our PSL from Starbucks but we don't enjoy the $5 price tag. Let's do some math. One PSL a day is $35/week and $150/month. Take that from September to November and you've racked up a whopping $450! So as much as we love the PSL, we'll savor it for those extra chilly fall days when we deserve a treat. Instead, whip up this delicious homemade recipe that costs no where near the same price and allows YOU to control the sugar and ingredients.

First step, cook the pumpkin. All items in the squash family have a gross taste and smell before being cooked. Cooking it will bring out the natural flavor and sweetness that we all love about pumpkin. It doesn't take more than a minute or so since it's such a small quantity. You want to heat it through well and see it start to thin a bit. Make sure to heat the pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice at the same time so you can allow the flavors to really marry. Add the sugar once it's heated and this will turn it into an extra thick syrup resembling goop. It looks nasty and it's hard to imagine that this will become a delicious PSL but trust us, it does. It smells fantastic too. 

Once syrupy, add the milk and vanilla. Whisk vigorously and consistently. At this point, I get my Keurig going to brew a strong cup of coffee. If you're using an instant coffee brewer like a Keurig, now is a great time to get it going. If you're using something that takes more time, set it to brew before starting the pumpkin. I use lactose-free milk which is sweeter than traditional milk. Because of this, I cut the sugar so if you like a sweeter drink, I'd suggest adding a tablespoon more. Once the milk is frothy and hot and the coffee is brewed, it's time to assemble! 

Coffee goes first into the mug. Make sure the mug is large enough for the cup of coffee and the cup of milk. Pour the milk over the coffee. Use either homemade whipped cream which is simple to make (use a mixer to whip heavy whipping cream and powdered sugar until it forms stiff peaks) or just use the canned version. Being short on time and in no mood for more dishes, I went the canned route. Sprinkle a bit of pumpkin pie spice and voila! You have your very own PSL a la you. Enjoy!

2 tbsp Canned Pumpkin
1/2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice, plus more for garnish
1 tbsp Sugar
1 cup Milk (I used lactose-free 2%)
1/2 tsp Vanilla
1 cup Strongly Brewed Coffee or 2 shots of Espresso
Whipped Cream

1. In a small saucepan, whisk together the canned pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice until warmed and bubbly. This will cook the pumpkin so it gets rid of that "squash-y" flavor and brings out the natural sweetness.

2. Add the sugar. One tablespoon is enough for me but if you like a sweeter drink, add another. Whisk together until the pumpkin mixture because smooth, thick and bubbly. Whisk in milk and vanilla. Whisk vigorously until bubbling consistently.

3. Pour your coffee or espresso in a mug. Add the pumpkin milk. Top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice. Serve. 

Yields one serving