Thankfully since this is a blog…you technically can’t tell that the leaves have blossomed into a beautiful green, as the months have passed since my last post, they’re changing into yellow and red.
But the cats out of the bag and I have a confession to make:
My name is 26 Countries and 1 Kitchen and it’s been exactly 5 months since my last article. I shall drink 12 lattes as a form of punishment…
Like any traveler who’s caught up in the moment, we got stuck in China and never left… so we’ve decided to come back State side for a couple days of reflection.
We’ll be sitting back and chanting motivational hymns such as, “I must not use a blog like a forgotten New Years Eve Resolution.”
In the meantime, we’ll be visiting a couple of our favorite American dishes before heading back to China to take on the culinary challenges there.
Now that we’re home, we have to start with what I’ve been pining for since April: A delectable Pumpkin Spiced Latte. The true mark of fall for any working woman who’s more obsessed about this one little drink
than a zombie is about brains.
Typically, I swing by Starbucks in the early morning hours and pick up my latte. But I wanted to know how on earth I could make one at home. Granted, I’m choosing to toy with a sacred Starbucks drink
that I’m convinced magical elves make.
But I decided, what the heck? Why couldn’t I make it? I came across an easy and gorgeous recipe by the website Daily Nibbles: Pumpkin Spiced Latte recipe.
All it called for was milk, sugar, vanilla extract, pumpkin pie spice, canned pumpkin, and espresso. Easy, right?
So I fought the urge to swing by Starbucks and headed to the store instead. I immediately found the Pumpkin Pie Spice and the only other ingredient I needed was the canned pumpkin which was nowhere in sight. All I could locate was a can of Easy Pumpkin Pie Mix.
I eyed the can of pumpkin pie mix wearily. Since my head was starting to groan for espresso, I considered ditching the recipe. Maybe we should just make pumpkin pie? After all, the signs are all pointing to pie, right? Who needs another sign to make pie?
But after checking the ingredients, my hubby noted that it was just canned pumpkin plus sugar and spices. We decided to give it a shot.
The last thing on the list that was hard to come by was the espresso. Which in all honesty was a potential point of contention to my master plan. We don’t have an espresso machine and I didn’t have the urge to make espresso yet….so we decided to swing by Starbucks anyway.
But if this recipe works, I’m saving a good $3 a day by swapping my latte for a shot of espresso to go! So it’s not really cheating, right? Right.
Once home, I was all pumped and ready to go. I grabbed up a small pot and added 1 cup of milk, 2 teaspoons of sugar, and 1 tablespoon of our pie mix. We turned the pot up to medium high and stirred it with a whisk until it started to steam. Then, we removed it from the heat and added 1 teaspoon of Vanilla Extract.
Then…we were supposed to add 1/4 teaspoon of Pumpkin Pie Spice but my husband reasoned that due to the fact that the mix was already seasoned with spices, we should skip this step.
I….agreed on principle. But who doesn’t love more pumpkin spice?? What’s wrong with more? After all, he hates coffee. I was the one who had to drink it….so
like an experienced, well seasoned wife I added the spices before he could object.
We then whisked it a bit before adding it to a blender and pulsed it for 15 seconds. It came out looking deliciously frothy and I dumped in 1/4 shot of espresso to my latte. I topped it off with more Pumpkin Pie Spice and began foaming at my mouth.
I took my first sip and….did my impression of “Bahumbag!” It was so disgusting I couldn’t take another sip. It was cold and full of spice….way to much spice. Who would have thought that? Weird. Just strange.
I shouldn’t have added so many spices. But all I wanted was a homemade latte. I began to get upset and I still hadn’t had any coffee for the day. So my husband, who hates coffee to his core, took a sip and said, “It’s not that bad.”
He’s a total sweetheart but it really was too awful to drink. Thankfully sensing a possible flop, I had ordered a double shot of espresso. I had a least a shot left.
So we decided to try it all again. This time, we halved the recipe by adding in only 1/2 cup of milk, 1/2 tablespoon of pumpkin mix, and we doubled the sugar. Once it started to steam, we added 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla and no spices. We pulsed it and heated up the espresso before pouring it all into a mug. I topped it off with an extra teaspoon of sugar for good measure and a tiny amount of spice on top.
This time, we nailed it. It tasted just like a hot Pumpkin Spiced Latte from Starbucks. Mission Accomplished.
Although, I have to say it felt odd knowing I was drinking a beverage with actual pumpkin in it, kind of like the first time you realize yams don’t traditionally come in cans…
But all and all it was damn good.
*FYI: I spoke with my sister who worked at a coffee shop. Apparently, espresso shots have a time limit on them. They can start to lose their flavor and age in just a matter of ten seconds if they are left to sit. In order to prevent this, you need to add a dash of milk or cream to it if you can’t add it to your drink right away. Who knew?!