I don’t even pretend that I’m unique in loving the pumpkin spiced offerings. I’ve been trying to swing by Target for the past few weeks to pick up some of the Pumpkin Spiced Latte M&Ms. I’m totes a fangirl.
I love the changes in seasons. I love the beginnings of spring from winter, I love summer coming out of spring, and I really love fall. I’m just not a fan of hot and humid. I’m a fan of Memphis, I’m a fan of the south, but that doesn’t mean I enjoy the heat. I can try and embrace the Faulkner-esque climate or pretend I’m Flannery O’Connor sweating it out in Milledgeville, but I’m not that good at pretending. So when it starts to cool down a few degrees and the soupiness starts to subside, I’m downright giddy.
I honestly think that’s why I get excited about the fall offerings. I love what they mean: INCREDIBLE WEATHER!
I also love to be reminded in scent and taste of my favorite non-religious holiday, Thanksgiving. I know most everyone has fond memories of Thanksgiving. But I taste pumpkin pie spices and I’m taken back to Grammy’s (Virginia) enormous dining room table (or the kids table in the kitchen with you, Liz!). Grammy loved Thanksgiving and requested that each of her three daughters always try and spend the holiday with their side of the family. Grammy viewed the other holidays as the domain of the girls husbands’ families. She only requested Thanksgiving.
As fond as I am of everything pumpkin spiced, my love fizzles out only a few weeks in. It’s a short lived season for me. But I love it nonetheless.
I started making my own pumpkin spiced syrup for coffee a few years ago. I’ve since perfected my own recipe and love to make it as gifts throughout the fall. I’m also proud to have created a recipe made of whole spices. I really think they elevate the flavor. It’s still very sweet (hello, it’s sugar syrup) but it tastes a bit more sophisticated than the pumpkin spice creamers and such. This is also missing real pumpkin puree. When I worked as barista in college I had to field about 20 questions a week about how upsetting it was that the PSL didn’t contain a drop of real pumpkin. I’ve tried recipes including pumpkin, it just isn’t worth opening a jar of pumpkin that will get strained out of the final mix. And, in case you didn’t know, pumpkin doesn’t have much flavor on its own.
I don’t think the pumpkin spice trend had fully hit when Grammy and Mudder were still with us., but I choose to believe they would have loved it. And they’d have certainly DIYed their own homemade versions of it for sure! Starbu-who?
Here’s the recipe:
Pumpkin Spice Syrup
1 and 1/2 Cups Sugar
1 and 1/2 Cups Water
5 Cinnamon Sticks (do not sub ground cinnamon, it will make the syrup snotty)
1 Teaspoon Freshly Grated Nutmeg
8 Whole Cloves
1/2 Teaspoon Dry Ginger (a 1″ section of fresh ginger root will also work)
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla ExtractIn a small saucepan on medium heat, dissolve sugar into water. Add spices and simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off heat and let steep for 20 min. Strain with a fine mesh sieve. Pour into an airtight jar and add one of the cinnamon sticks for storage.
Pumpkin Spice Latte:
2 Tablespoons PS Syrup, 2 shots of espresso, 8 ounces of steamed milk.
Mix together the shots and syrup and pour over the streamed milk. (See below for a few latte hacks.)
If you aren’t lucky enough to have an espresso machine (one of the top 10 gifts I’ve ever received!) there are a few hacks that can give you the taste of a latte:
- In the microwave heat 8 ounces of milk in a mason jar. Remove (CAREFULLY! With a potholder!!) place a lid on the jar and shake until frothy.
- Stovetop mokka pots aren’t expensive and can make some delicious espresso (which is key to making a true PSL). Or you can buy instant espresso powder in some grocery stores for a similar taste.
- I’ve also had success mixing Starbucks Via Powder with milk for a quick latte.
- If you don’t have access to any espresso, simply brew double strength coffee and do a half/half mixture of strong coffee and milk.
Happy Pumpkin Spice Latte Season, y’all!