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The Secret Behind Pumpkin Spice Latte

Every fall, one “flavor” gets a ton of attention.

Pumpkin Spice Latte

Pumpkin Spice Latte

Pumpkin.

In fact, one sure sign that Fall has arrived is the Pumpkin Spice Latte. If you are a coffee fan, as I am, then this is good news since I love the Pumpkin Spice flavor. More about that word “flavor” later.

History of Pumpkin Spice Latte
But the holidays are over now and we’re in the dead of winter. However, I still remain fascinated by the flavors of Fall and want to continue enjoying them throughout winter.

Do you know the history of the Pumpkin Spice Latte? When it was developed in 2003 by the Starbucks lab, they weren’t sure it would catch on. But it became an instant hit and by 2006 it was even available as pods (K-cups) for home brewers. By 2007, other coffee chains began offering it and the Twitter handle of #PSL appeared. The Starbucks website says that there have been 29,000 tweets with the hash tag: #pumpkinspice since August, 2012.

This year, I tried to buy Pumpkin Spice Coffee at Trader Joe’s and was told that they sold out almost immediately. Starbuck’s says this drink is seasonal so it will eventually disappear by the end of 2014. Boo-hoo!

But now I know how to make it myself, so I can enjoy it all winter. 

Make Your Pumpkin Spice Latte
If you want to continue drinking Pumpkin Spice Lattes (or PSL) throughout the winter, we can thank the Food Network for this recipe that you can make yourself. One of the things I like about making my own PSL is controlling the sugar, since I find the Starbuck’s version too sweet for my tastes.

Make Ahead and Keep on Hand
Using the recipe from the Food Network as a base, you can modify your homemade latte as you like. Certainly less sugar for me! And, while I love nutmeg, I prefer less than this recipe uses so I cut it in half. You may have other preferences, so try the recipe and see how you like it.

Another great thing about making your own is that you can make a base (all the ingredients except the coffee and milk) and store it in the refrigerator. Then heat the milk and coffee (or, steam the milk if you’re lucky enough to have an espresso machine that also froths milk) and stir in as much of the base as you like. Using whipped cream on top is up to you (I don’t usually do that, except as an occasional treat). And, a final dusting of grated fresh nutmeg (or cinnamon) is the perfect touch.

Pumpkin Flavor without the Pumpkin?
Notice that the Food Network’s recipe contains real pumpkin. It may surprise you to learn that many “pumpkin-flavored” items don’t have any pumpkin in them at all. Of course, foods such as Pumpkin Pie and Pumpkin Bread contain real pumpkin, but most commercial coffee drinks do not. Have you ever tasted pumpkin by itself? It is actually quite bland and not necessarily that inviting. In fact, it’s awful. However, when blended with all those wonderful spices it is absolutely divine, so I use it in my recipe.

Wondering what to do with the leftover pumpkin? If you make a lot of lattes, you will use up a 14-ounce can in a few days. Store any leftover pumpkin, tightly covered, in the fridge for up to a week and use it to bake gluten-free Pumpkin Bread.

Happy Pumpkin Spice Latte!

2 comments to The Secret Behind Pumpkin Spice Latte

  • michele Ranch

    Please help. I have most of your recipe books and have followed the white bread recipe twice. Both loaves failed to rise. Can you give me suggestions.
    Thanks
    Michele Ranch

    • Carol Fenster

      Michele: Make sure you are using the right type of yeast and that it has not expired. Also, use 110 degree liquid to proof it. Use nonstick (gray, not black) pans and make sure your oven is baking at its indicated temperature. Where did the loaves rise: oven, countertop, etc. and what was the temperature? Be sure to follow proper measuring techniques (see how to measure flour in the Video section on my blog). If none of these ideas help, please call me at 303.741.5408 and we can discuss in person to figure out what’s happening.

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