recipes

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte (sweetened with dates!)

Homemade pumpkin spice latte

Like any human person, I enjoy the occasional pumpkin spice latte to celebrate the return of fall. A good pumpkin spice latte is like a liquified version of Thanksgiving dessert. And as a former Starbucks barista, I’m always kind of amused by articles like this one. I agree it’s kind of gross and surprising how many chemicals go into one – but no one is actually surprised that they contain no real pumpkin, right? I mean, that bright orange colour just isn’t natural at all.

So I aimed to make my own, with actual pumpkin. And since my biggest pet peeve with Starbucks flavoured lattes is how much sugar is in them, I wanted to avoid that as well. I’ve been playing around with these medjool dates lately, and I know lots of people use them to replace sweetener in truffles, no-bake bars and smoothies. So why not in coffee?

Homemade pumpkin spice latte

A warning that this won’t be nearly as sweet as the PSL you’re used to. But if you want the flavour without the 50 grams of sugar that a grande PSL usually has, I think it’s perfect. I used some of the hints in this recipe, like adding the black pepper, which really does give it a nice spicy bite. But I also made mine with coffee instead of espresso. And OK, since it doesn’t contain espresso it’s not really a latte. More like a coffee misto (which is half coffee and half steamed milk). And I think it would be just as lovely with almond or soy milk, if you’re also looking to avoid dairy.

Homemade pumpkin spice latte

I added whipped cream to mine because I was feeling decadent. And I didn’t even add any sugar in that! A confession: as a barista, when I would make my own experimental drinks I used to prepare the whipped cream with a QUARTER of the syrup that the recipe calls for and it was plenty sweet! The whipped cream is just going to melt into the drink anyway, why does it need to be teeth-jarringly sweet?

Homemade pumpkin spice latte

(I served in it my engagement mug – sometime I will properly blog about my engagement story and how Will gave me this adorable mug to misdirect me from the actual surprise!)

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte

Makes one giant mug.

  • 3 tbsp canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling – you want to be able to flavour it yourself!)
  •  2-3 medjool dates, pitted and finely chopped
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup strong coffee
  • whipped cream (optional)

After you pit and finely chop the dates, place them in a small saucepan with the canned pumpkin. Add the seasoning and cook over low heat for around five minutes – you want the pumpkin to heat up and the dates to break down slightly. Add the milk and heat slightly, then blend the mixture thoroughly with an immersion blender, ensuring that there are no date chunks left.

Fill your mug halfway with coffee, then top with the pumpkin milk mixture and stir well. Top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice for that proper coffee shop look. Enjoy!

recipes

Fake Red Lobster Biscuits (and some soup as well)

soup and biscuits

A confession:  I know basically nothing about photography. I know, I can hear your gasps of disbelief from here. “But Nicole!” you say. “What about your award-winning photographs? What about your dozens of instagram followers?” Total dumb luck, I assure you.

soup and biscuits

The one thing I do know about photography, the thing that’s been drilled into my head by every photographer friend I have, is natural light. Food (and everything else) looks much better with natural light. Now here’s the issue. My old apartment had much better windows, included a nice big one in the kitchen. As long as I wasn’t cooking at night, I could be guaranteed some pretty good natural light. Our new apartment, not so much. The kitchen doesn’t even have a window in it, so I basically rely on icky fluorescent light. Bleh. It’s enough to make a girl give up totally on the idea of food blogging.

But that’s not really my style. And even though when I’ve woken up lately it has been so dark and dreary that I actually assume that I was accidentally waking up in the middle of the night, I wanted to do some cooking. And I wanted to record what I was cooking, because these are my favourite biscuits of all time. I call them Fake Red Lobster biscuits, but Will claims that they’re better than Red Lobster biscuits. I wouldn’t know, having been a vegetarian for so long.

Continue reading “Fake Red Lobster Biscuits (and some soup as well)”