Skillet Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

Here’s a quickie tip for those of you that forget you placed your seeds in the oven to roast and find out they are burnt little seeds…..I like to skillet toast my pumpkin seeds.  Right in front of me, where I’m stirring and sniffing till perfection!

After cleaning your seeds from all the slimmy fibers of the pumpkin, rinse well and allow to somewhat dry out on a towel lined baking sheet for at least an hour.  When ready to toast, heat up a dry cast iron skillet over medium heat.  Use the hand test to feel the heat; hold your hand about 6 inches from the skillet to feel the heat (1-2 seconds is high heat, 4-5 seconds is medium).  Meanwhile, drizzle the pumpkin seeds with a bit of olive oil and season to taste.  My son prefers a simple kosher salt and a creole-type mix of cayenne, garlic, black pepper, oregano and paprika.

Toss the seeds with the olive oil and seasoning and pour into the skillet.  Toast the seeds by stirring often about 5 minutes or until golden toasty brown.  As I love to eat them hot from the skillet, I prepare these right before serving.  Leftovers, if any, are great tossed into salads!

Pumpkin Tiramisu

Tiramisu is one of my favorite Italian desserts.  Translated, it’s the “pick me up” dessert as it normally contains espresso mixed with liquor.  Its lightly sweetened with just enough richness to feel indulgent.  The touch of liquor, whether Amaretto, Kahlua, Frangelico or Rum enhances the taste of the gentle mascarpone and ladyfingers for a wonderful after dinner dessert.

While I love cheesecakes in every flavor imaginable, the lightness of the Tiramisu makes it more welcoming to me after a full dinner.  Traditionally the ladyfingers or sponge cake are dipped in a mixture of espresso and liquor with a dusting of cocoa powder.  During the holidays, I’ve also used Panettone sliced for the cake layers.  In the spring I’ve made it with mixed berries and now for the fall and Thanksgiving holiday, pumpkin!

Some variations use eggs, either raw or cooked.  This recipe has no eggs and no baking which makes it quick and easy to pull together.  Just make sure to prepare it one day ahead to marry the flavors and set up nicely.  And that to me is a plus as I love make-ahead desserts!

Pumpkin Tiramisu

Adapted from Cookies from Italy

1 ½ cups chilled organic whipping cream

¾ cup sugar

1 8oz container mascarpone cheese, room temperature

1 15 oz can pumpkin puree

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon cloves

¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 cup Amaretto liqueur

1 7 oz package ladyfingers and ½ of another

2 oz  Amaretto cookies, crushed

In a medium size bowl, beat whipping cream and sugar until peaks form, set aside.  In a large mixing bow, beat mascarpone cheese, pumpkin, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg beating until combined well and smooth.  Stir in the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture, blending well.

To assemble:  Quickly dip the ladyfingers into the amaretto and line the bottom of a 9 inch spring form pan.  Dip the ladyfingers just to moisten, not get totally soaked.  Break some of the ladyfingers to fit completely.  Spread half of the filling over the ladyfingers smoothing evenly.  Repeat with the second layer of amaretto dipped ladyfingers and top with the remaining filling.  Smooth and cover tightly in plastic wrap, then foil.  Refrigerate overnight.

To unmold, run a knife around the inside edge of the pan.  Release the pan sides and sprinkle the top with the crushed Amaretto cookies.  Serves 8.

Roasted Pumpkin Sweet Potato Hash

Was I kidding when I said pumpkin will be sneaking in almost every one of my posts this month!!  Not a day or two goes by without something pumpkin showing up in one of my meals!  Especially when I roast a whole pumpkin I have plenty of leftovers to use in various ways.  Last year I made a Roasted Pumpkin and Apple Soup.  I just so happened to be on a 21 day cleanse at that time but I’ve also served it to friends receiving lots of compliments and requests for the recipe. 

In my kitchen you will find one or two small pumpkins decorating my counter waiting their turn to be prepped into my next meal.  It’s a weekly purchase of pumpkins, those cute little 2-3 lb pie pumpkins.  As always, whenever I roast any veggies, I try to take advantage of my heated oven and roast several whole garlic bulbs, an eggplant to use as a dip or spread or sometimes chicken breasts to have on hand for lunches.  Over the weekend I tossed in a sweet potato while I was roasting my pumpkin as I had an idea to create a roasted pumpkin and sweet potato hash.

I was going to serve this for Sunday brunch, but my morning got a bit hectic and this turned into a later lunch.  Having the pumpkin and sweet potato roasted the day before, it was easy to pull together.  A poached egg on top would be perfect for brunch; I served it at lunch with a green salad.  The colors were vibrant and so very flavorful.  The pancetta added just enough earthy saltiness along with the sage adding in its unique slightly peppery aroma that always reminds me of Autumn and Thanksgiving.  For a heartier hash, crumbled Italian sausage or breakfast sausage would be a fabulous addition.  Quantities can vary; this would serve 4 small servings or 2 large.

Roasted Pumpkin Sweet Potato Hash

For the roasted pumpkin and sweet potato:

1 small cooking pumpkin, about 2 pounds, cut into cubes – I leave the skin on and peel it off after roasting; much easier!

1 medium sweet potato

1 -2 tablespoons of olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the hash:

1-2 cups of roasted pumpkin, diced

1 roasted sweet potato, skin removed and diced small

2 tablespoons chopped pancetta

1-2 cloves of garlic, mashed

Pinch of crush red pepper

1 small red pepper, diced

2 green onions, thinly sliced, white and green parts

2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

To roast the pumpkin and sweet potato:  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Place the cubed pumpkin on a large baking sheet. Drizzle on oil, kosher salt and pepper.  Mix well arranging the pieces evenly on the sheet.  Prick the potato and place on the sheet.  Roast until fork tender and lightly browned, about 35-40 minutes.  Allow to cool before handling or wrap and refrigerate overnight.

For the Hash:  Heat a large skillet over medium high heat with a touch of olive oil.  Add in the pancetta and allow to release its fat and slightly crisp.   Add in the crushed red pepper, garlic, onion and red pepper and cook for 2-3 minutes or until softened. Add the roasted pumpkin and sweet potato to the skillet.  Allow it to cook without stirring for a few minutes to brown the bottom.  Stir gently to crisp and brown the hash and sprinkle in the sage.  Serve immediately.

Pumpkin Rugelach

The weather over the last few days is exactly what I love about living in Florida.  The humidity has left behind cool breezes ranging in temperatures from the mid 80s in the day to mid 60s at night.  My first Halloween here was when I feel in love with this climate.  When we were living up North the possibility of snow on Halloween was not uncommon.  Bundling the kids in winter coats totally covering their costumes; unless they were wearing masks or tiaras it was hard to see what the kids were dressed up as!

That first year on Halloween the evening was cool.  The kids were dressed in costumes and as we walked through the neighborhood people were sitting out in their driveway, not behind closed doors keeping warm, but sitting in chairs with family and friends passing out candy!  Home and after home was decorated.  It was so welcoming and fun!  Some of the families were grilling dinner enjoying a whole night of celebration.  I remember we walked and walked for hours!   Definitely accummulating more candy than my kids needed!

I do miss those days when I had little ones to walk through the neighborhood.  Halloween and all those pumpkins will always be dear to me!  And anyway I can slip in pumpkin to a recipe, you know I will!  Rugulach is always on my Chistmas Cookie tray so I thought I could easily swap out the sweet preserves with pumpkin.  As I don’t like overly sweet desserts, I only added 1 tablespoon of brown sugar to the pumpkin puree.  For a sweeter taste, increasing the tablespoon to two would sweeten it up more. 

As I make note at the end of the recipe, freezing half of the unbaked cookies to bake for another day allows me to be “party” ready for entertaining in the next month.  Pumpkin for me ends at Thanksgiving.  I give it my all for the months of October and November and then it’s over until next year!!

Pumpkin Rugelach

Adapted from Barefoot Contessa, Parties! Cookbook

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/4 cup granulated sugar plus 9 tablespoons

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour or all-purpose white flour

1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

3/4 cup dried cranberries

1 cup pecans,  finely chopped

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon milk, for egg wash  In a large mixing bowl, cream the cheese and butter with the paddle attachment until light.  Add 1/4 cup granulated sugar, salt and vanilla.  Add the flour and mix  until combined.  Dump the dough out onto a well floured board and roll into a  ball. Cut the ball in quarters, wrap each piece in pastic and refrigerate for  one hour, or overnight.

To make the filling, combine 6  tablespoons of granulated sugar, the brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon  cinnamon, the dried cranberries and pecans.  In a separate bowl, combine the pumpkin puree, tablespoon of brown sugar and cinnamon together and  refrigerate until needed.

On a well-floured board, roll each  ball of dough into a 9-inch circle. Spread the dough with 2 tablespoons pumpkin  puree mix and sprinkle with 1/2 cup of the filling.

Press the filling lightly into the dough. Cut the circle into 12 equal wedges—cutting the whole circle in quarters, then each quarter into thirds. Starting with the wide edge, roll up each wedge. Place the cookies, points tucked under, on a baking sheet lined with Slipat or parchment paper. Chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Brush each cookie with the egg wash. Combine 3 tablespoons granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon  cinnamon and  sprinkle on the cookies. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove to a wire rack and let cool. Makes 4 dozen cookies.

Note:  I baked half of the batch and froze the rest on a cookie sheet.  When completely frozen put  the unbaked cookies in a container and save for another time.  Do not defrost and bake for 2o minutes.  Can be frozen up to 2 months.  Great idea for holiday cookies all ready to go!

Where I Write

I’ve been absent from my posting for a week having taken a mini vacation back home to Ohio.   It’s been 11 years since I’ve seen fall leaves and felt crisp air.  Swaying palm trees, blue skies and ocean views compete in my affection for fall leaves of beautiful russet, gold, and deep red coloring the landscapes and covering the ground.   And my love for pumpkin, well they were everywhere!  The markets were filled with pumpkins for sale; huge pumpkins, mini pumpkins; homes were decorated with pumpkins on door steps and lawns.

It wasn’t just to see fall leaves but to see my family and dear friends.  I’ve missed a lot of years and it was bittersweet in seeing them all.  I returned with a longing for family around me and quite the funk in getting back into my groove.  Thankfully, Cecelia at The Kitchens Garden  wrote a post that sparked my interest.  She shared photos of where she writes and encouraged others to share their writing/creative areas.

My little Villa, as they call it, has a wonderful view of a lake in my backyard and a feel of openness which is not common in most of Florida’s zero lot line homes.   Inside, my living quarters are small, just enough for peaceful, happy living.  I don’t have a formal desk and actually prefer to be right where all the action is….in my kitchen!  So I sit at my kitchen table, laptop open, espresso in the am, a glass of wine in the evening.  The view of the lake is to my left and my kitchen right behind me allowing me to keep on baking and writing all at the same time!!

Where I Read

When the cooler months approach I will move to my screened in patio, but for now this is my chair.  Big enough to sit two people, my Chihuahuas can easily sit on either side of me or on my lap as the fight to get there first takes place before everyone settles in.  Behind the chair are my cookbooks.  Not all as I have another narrow bookcase next to the couch, more in the kitchen and some in the bedroom.  I have my books arranged by theme, or maybe it’s mood, as Italian / Latin books have their own space in the kitchen, veggie/healthy cooking above the frig, more healthy recipes next to the couch and celebrity chefs/destination cookbooks are behind that big chair.  I love to read cookbooks that not only have recipes, but history and stories about their country.  Whenever I travel my souvenir will be a cookbook from that area.

My bedroom holds my “romantic” cookbooks; okay I can’t be the only one with those.  Like Fork Me, Spoon MeIntercourses, and A Taste for Love among others.  A corner bookcase holds spa cookbooks and actually reading novels and inspiration books.  I do actually read books other than cookbooks!

A Halloween Dinner 7 Deadly Zins Pasta

7 Deadly Zins is my favorite Zinfandel wine. It’s a full bodied red which seems to surprise a lot of my friends as they normally know Zinfandel to be a blush or a White Zin.  And normally the reaction to a White Zin is that it’s sweet and cheap!  Red Zinfandel, and in particular, 7 Deadly Zins is a mix of grapes from seven vineyards.  Actually they state they use the grapes from the oldest vines of seven vineyards to produce a wine resulting in a blackberry/cherry, peppery and spice earthy blend.  The back label lists its Zins in the following amusing poem:

 I’m raging with ire, an ocean of fire,
My Wrath is the path to all I desire.
Oh Lord, forgive me my Zins.
I’m inflated with pride, near-bursting inside,
A self-centered repenter, Vanitys’ bride.
Oh Lord, forgive me my Zins.
I’m mired in mud, inert as a slug,
Sloth is the cloth that’s woven my rug.
Oh Lord, forgive me my Zins.
I eat day and night, consuming all in my sight,
A Glutton with nothing but a huge appetite.
Oh Lord, forgive me my Zins.
My will I ignore, my Envy’s a chore,
Over zealous and jealous, I want so much more.
Oh Lord, forgive me my Zins.
I’m ravenous to feast, an insatiable beast,
I concede to the Greed demanding release.
Oh Lord, forgive me my Zins.
I hunger for trust, my craving’s a must,
My sin is the Zin enslaving my Lust.
Oh Lord, forgive me my Zins.

–       Kevin Phillips

I’ve always wanted to have a Halloween dinner party where everyone would bring a different “Halloween” wine to sample.  Vampire Wines has their Vampire and Dracula wines and Elk Creek Vineyard has their Ghostly Wine Chardonnay and Bone Dry Red Cabernet.  Honestly I don’t choose my wine based on the label but for Halloween it’s all for fun!

Since I wasn’t as familiar with those wines as I am with 7 Deadly Zins, I decided to use the wine I knew would be to my liking in this pasta.  I first heard of this pasta dish from Michael Chiarello and his Red Wine Spaghetti with Broccoli Rabe.  Instead of the broccoli rabe, I chose to sauté chopped walnuts and a topping of gorgonzola cheese.  The blood red pasta is perfect for a Halloween dinner.  The taste will obviously follow along with the wine you select as the pasta simmers in the wine turning deep red and absorbing its flavor.  Truly a unique pasta dish, the walnuts and gorgonzola add crunch and a creamy bite.  Think wine…cheese…and nuts.

7 Deadly Zins Pasta

Recipe adapted from Michael Chiarello

1 lb. bucatini or spaghetti

1 bottle (750 ml) Zinfandel or a dry red wine of your choice

1 tablespoon sugar

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons thinly sliced garlic

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 cup chopped walnuts

¾ cup gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

In a large pot, boil the pasta in salted water for only 5 minutes.  Drain and reserve 1 cup of the pasta water just in case you need it.  Return the empty pot to the stove.  Add the wine and sugar to the pasta pot.  Bring to a boil, reduce to medium and cook until reduced by half, about 8-10 minutes.  Add in the pasta and gently stir with tongs until well coated and simmer in the wine until most of the liquid is absorbed and the pasta is al dente about 4-5 minutes.

While the pasta cooks in the wine, heat a large deep skillet over medium high heat.  Add the olive oil, reduce the heat to medium low and add the garlic, crushed red pepper, walnuts, salt and black pepper.  Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally; do not allow the garlic to burn.  Add ½ cup of reserved pasta water or more if needed and stir to combine.  Stir the pasta into the skillet, toss gently add in the gorgonzola cheese, plate and serve.  Makes about 4-6 servings.

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes

For many years now I have maintained a tradition of giant blueberry pancakes for my birthday.  I wait all year to indulge completely in these pancakes.  It’s not that I deny myself but rather enjoy the anticipation of this once a year treat that makes it all the more special to me.  As my daughter so kindly states, I do get excited over the littlest of things.  And one of my other annual treats is these pumpkin pancakes.

Pumpkin pancakes will appear at my table at least twice during my pumpkin frenzy in October and November. I use whole wheat pastry flour as its texture is lighter than using regular whole wheat flour.  The pancakes are earthy, with the unmistakable spices of fall; cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg.   While the pancakes alone are moist, tender and fluffy; it’s the topping of the marinated dried cranberry, golden raisins and walnuts or pecans that always seems to get everyone’s attention.  Without fail, my guests are scooping up more of the topping and drizzling the liquor on their pancakes.  Now this topping is certainly not for the kiddies as the dried fruit and nuts have been swimming in Pumpkin Spice Liqueur and Kahlua.  A sprinkle of mini chocolate chips or granola in lieu of the spiked fruit will being smiles to the little ones faces.

To real maple syrup, I mix in some of my pumpkin spice syrup to enhance the pumpkin flavor.  A dollop on the side of whipped cream with freshly grated nutmeg could almost turn this breakfast into dessert!  These make about 8-10 pancakes, double the recipe for double the pancakes!

Pumpkin Pancakes

Dry ingredients:

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoon turbinado, raw, sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon ground allspice

½ teaspoon ground cloves
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground ginger

Wet ingredients:

1/3 cup canned pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling

1  cup milk

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons walnut oil or melted butter, cooled (plus extra for greasing the pan)

In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients, stirring well to mix all the spices into the flour.  In a separate bowl, combine the wet ingredients with a whisk until smooth.  Gently pour the wet into the dry and stir until combined and still a bit lumpy.  Do not overmix the batter as it will  over develop the gluten making tough pancakes.  Refrigerate the batter for 15 minutes or overnight.  Heat a griddle pan to medium heat, brushing on a light coating of butter.  Remove the batter from the refrigerator, but do not stir again as it will break up the air bubbles.  Scoop out ¼ cup portions for each pancake.  Allow to cook for 3 minutes per side, flipping over once.  To keep the pancakes warm while making batches, place cooked pancakes in 200 degree oven.  Serve immediately with the dried fruit topping and a maple pumpkin spiced syrup.

Dried Fruit Topping

½ cup dried cranberries

¼ cup golden raisins

½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans

2 tablespoons Pumpkin Spice Liqueur

1 tablespoon Kahlua

Combine all ingredients and allow to marry for at least an hour.

Pumpkin Oatmeal and Raisin Biscotti

How could I let this pumpkin season go by without filling my cookie jar with pumpkin biscotti!!  These are so full of fall flavors that my kitchen immediately filled with the warm aroma of pumpkin and spice.  Oatmeal and spices makes these more rustic in appearance; the texture is crisp and the flavor screams fall.  I’ve gotten into the habit now of using a mix of dried currants, golden, dark and cranberry or cherry. I like how the different colors look like the changing colors of fall leaves.

If you’re not into raisins, as I’ve just learned from Katherine about Greg at Rufus’ Guide to Food and Spirits, you can swap the raisins for walnuts or check out my last year’s pumpkin biscotti recipe.

On another note, how can I delay any further acknowledging the thoughtfulness of John from the Bartolini Kitchens, Ambrosiana from Tales of Ambrosia and Stefanie at A Dash of Sugar and Spice who nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award!   Please check out their blogs; from Chicago to California to Rome, fabulous recipes, heart warming family memories, travel and all things nice!

As I had received this award awhile ago I was surprised and flattered to see my blog recognized again.   As part of the process for receiving the award, I had listed out 7 things about myself.  My daughter thought I could have come up with better things to say about myself, so with this second recognition, I kindly asked her to make a list of what she thought we the 7 things others should know about me,  And in her words, the following…..

  1. You made sure to the color of your dogs’ fur was the same as your hair color, just so everything matched perfectly
  2. It’s extremely hard for you to accept help from others, especially in the kitchen
  3. You always put others before yourself
  4. Growing up your children never had a real Christmas tree because you’re allergic
  5. You get excited over the littlest of things
  6. You would rather wear your white fox fur coat from years ago during winter than buy another
  7. YOU ARE THE BEST MOMMY IN THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE!

Pumpkin Oatmeal and Raisin Biscotti

2 cups white whole wheat flour

¾ cup oatmeal, not instant

½ cup turbinado sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon ground cloves

½ teaspoon ground allspice

½ cup raisins, I used a mix of dark, golden and cranberry

½ cup pumpkin puree

3 eggs

1 tablespoon walnut oil

1 tablespoon pumpkin spice liquor or pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Place parchment paper or a Slipat on a baking sheet.  Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl and stir well.  In a separate bowl, combine the pumpkin, eggs, oil and liquor and beat well with a wire whisk.  Slowly add the wet to the dry ingredients stirring until mixture is moistened and well blended.  Divide dough in half and form two equal logs about 12 inches in length directly on the baking sheet, placing them about 3 inches apart.  The dough will be sticky, therefore slightly wet hands will help to form the dough.  Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown.  Remove from oven and reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees.

Allow the biscotti to cool for 10 minutes then slice diagonally into ½ inch slices.  Return the slices to the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes until crisp.  Remove and allow to cool on baking sheet.  Makes about 36 biscotti and can be stored covered for a few weeks.

Maple Pumpkin Spice Syrup for Pumpkin Spice Lattes

My sweet baby girl will be starting her first unpaid internship.  She was lucky to have found a paying internship through the summer which in turn made me the lucky mother.  I’m really not complaining here.  She is definitely getting a great opportunity to work as free labor and gain valuable experience.  But how do unpaid college interns afford Pumpkin Spice Lattes?

I’ve told Gina we will work it out.  Thankfully this girl can cook!  Unfortunately, she has other vices.  My clothing crazed daughter will simply need to shop smart for her Fall and Winter 2011 fashions and creatively use what she already has in her TWO walk-in closets!  Cheap thrills, budget entertainment, ladies night and happy hour 2 for 1 drinks will also help this short on cash girl get through these next few months.  But what about those Pumpkin Spice Lattes that just happen to seasonally appear and SHE and I love so dearly???

Answer:  we make them at home!  And not just for less money, but healthier too!  A typical Grande Pumpkin Spice Latte comes in at a nice 380 calories (that’s with 2% milk) and whipped cream while costing somewhere between $3 -$5!

A main ingredient to the latte is the Pumpkin Spice Syrup.  I’ve seen dozens of these recipes out on the internet over the years using sugar and varying the spices.  A batch of this syrup will last in the refrigerator for a month, if it actually lasts that long!

Along with mixing it in my espresso, the uses for this syrup are endless!  Think about swirling it into oatmeal or granola for a sweet pumpkin spice flavor; or as a maple syrup for pancakes and French toast.  And if you’re so inclined for a cocktail; mix with 1 oz syrup to 2 oz vanilla vodka and 1 oz Kahlua for a pumpkin martini! – dip the rim in cinnamon sugar, yum!

Pumpkin Spice Syrup

1 ½ cups maple syrup

4 cinnamon sticks

8 whole cloves

8 whole allspice

1 teaspoon nutmeg

½ teaspoon ground ginger

3 tablespoons pumpkin puree

1 whole vanilla bean split lengthwise

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Simmer gently, stirring often for about 5-6 minutes until all the ingredients are well blended.  Remove from the heat and allow to cool.  Pour into a glass container and refrigerate overnight to continue to steep the flavors.  Then next day bring the syrup to room temp and strain it into a glass container through a cheesecloth or fine mesh towel.  Squeeze the cheesecloth at the end to get out all the syrupy goodness!  Store in the refrigerator for up to one month.

Pumpkin Spice Latte or Cappucino

Depending on your preferred sweetness begin by adding 1 teaspoon of syrup for each shot of espresso or strong coffee (about ½ cup).  Add an additional ½ teaspoon for a sweeter cup.

I’ve read many variations on the difference between a Latte or Cappuccino but I’ve always gone on the following:

For a Cappuccino I use equal amounts of espresso or coffee, hot milk or cream and steamed milk foam.  A Latte contains coffee or espresso, hot milk and no foam using either equal or less coffee to milk ratio.  Of course if you’re into Latte Art you can impress everyone with your artistry!  And don’t forget a topping of whipped cream, a drizzle of salted caramel sauce and grated nutmeg to totally indulge all your senses!