Many of us really welcome the fall after a long and oppressively hot summer. I’m happy to say that my iced lattes have been retired for about a month now, and Starbucks has brought back my pal, the Pumpkin Spice Latte. I really do love them, and the baristas at the Starbs are so nice and hard-working, but I just felt like my drinks were missing something. Blasphemy, I know, and I’m sorry. Perhaps if I lived a shorter distance to the ‘starbs and could be there on a daily basis and coach my favorite little dumpling along the journey to the perfect latte, it would be worth the effort.
Instead, I’ve taken matters into my own hands. And it’s vegan. I am proud to say, I like my home version BETTER than Starbucks and it is really easy to make, and can be done without an espresso machine, because I do not have one. Here goes.
- 2 cups Unsweetened Almond Breeze almond milk, vanilla flavor
- 3 tablespoons sugar (or less, depending on taste – or use a sugar substitute)
- 2 tablespoons canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 2-4 shots espresso (or as I use – 1 cup of super-strong brewed coffee, I use french vanilla flavor)
In a small saucepan, whisk the almond milk, sugar and pumpkin and heat until almost boiling, steaming hot, about 180 degrees. Remove from heat, whisk in vanilla and pumpkin pie spice. Put in a blender or use a stick blender to froth it up, blending about a minute. Pour into two cups, add espresso or coffee and sprinkle a little cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice on top to make it look pretty. You could also add whipped cream, but that would not make it vegan anymore.
My customizations: I like a little less pumpkin pie spice, maybe like 3/4 of a teaspoon or a half. It depends on the day. I like using vanilla flavored coffee – it really gives the drink more depth of flavor. I’ve used Dunkin’ Donuts vanilla coffee and when I ran out of that, I used some Gevalia brand coffee I got as a sample. I also used the bottom a glass to tamp down my coffee grounds in the filter so it’s more like an espresso puck. I don’t know if it actually makes a difference or not, but the coffee came out good and strong.