Dessert,  Drinks

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!

I love being in the kitchen. Early mornings, soft music, a hot espresso. Easing into the preparation of delicious meals. Glancing through cookbooks, gathering inspiration and planning my day. I look forward to the cycles of the seasons, the pleasures of tasting and savoring and sharing this with those dear to me. Weekends are special to me as my week days are often rushed, but still I create the ambiance, light the candles, set the table and uncork the wine.


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