Pumpkin Spice Latte

One of the things I look forward to most in the fall are pumpkin spice lattes.  Judging from the popularity of these fall coffee treats among the foodie bloggers and coffee shops, I am not alone.

I started thinking about what makes flavors like sweet potato, pumpkin, and eggnog so popular.  For me, there is powerful imagery connected to these flavors.  I hear pumpkin and I think crisp Halloween nights and the sound of crunching leaves under little trick-or-treaters feet.  I remember walking home from the grocery store with my mom on a Halloween late afternoon when I was around six, watching the sky turn a darker blue lit by shades of gold and orange and set against skeleton trees and a ground littered with fall leaves.  Sweet potato conjures up cozy Thanksgivings by the fire, watching my Grandma stud sweet potato casseroles with marshmallows.  Eggnog takes me back to childhood Christmas Eves, watching the colored lights wrapped around the Christmas tree flicker while Bing Crosby crooned in the background.

These flavors, so intertwined with memories of childhood bliss, when combined with coffee turn into liquid comfort food.

I, once again, substituted pumpkin for sweet potato (purely because of a pumpkin shortage on this island).  If you want to do the same all you have to do to make your sweet potato puree is preheat your oven to 400 degrees, slice your sweet potatoes in half and bake on baking sheet lined with baking paper that has been lightly greased.  Bake until sweet potatoes are soft and you can mush them with a fork. Remove the skins and mash the potatoes.  For this recipe, I highly recommend throwing the puree into a food processor or blender to get rid of any excess lumps.

While I love me my Pumpkin Spice lattes, I do not love the calorie bomb that comes with them.  I also find that they can be too cloyingly sweet which overwhelms the pumpkin spice flavor.  I tweeked this recipe to lower the sugar and fat content and up the pumpkin and spice flavor.  However, feel free to make it decadent by adding a splash of whipped cream on top.

Pumpkin Spice Latte

makes 3-4 glasses

adapted from Recipe Girl

1 cup nonfat milk

4 heaped tbs pumpkin puree (or sweet potato puree)

1/2 tsp brown sugar

scrapings of one vanilla bean

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp nutmeg

2 shots of strong espresso per glass

1/2 teaspoon sweet condensed milk per glass

1) In a microwave safe bowl, whisk together puree, milk, sugar, vanilla bean scrapings, vanilla extract, and nutmeg.

2) Microwave mixture for 2 minutes.  Whisk for 30 seconds.  Microwave again for 2 more minutes.

3) put 1/2 tsp of sweetened condensed milk in each glass, add 2 espresso shots to each glass and fill up the remainer of the glasses with the puree.

4) Stir well and enjoy!

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