Saturday, 27 September 2014

Cooking: Pumpkin Spice Latte or Squash Spice Cappuccino

Yesterday while Jason was still here, I put him to good 'support person' use by asking him to cut up a squash for me (because cutting up squash is the worst). I'm sure that is exactly what he had in mind when he asked if there was anything I needed done.

While I had some of the squash for supper, I cooked up a bit of it early to try to make a pumpkin spice latte. Since I've seen it advertised everywhere, I figured I should see what the fuss is about. After 10 seconds of Internet research, I discovered that most of the 'pumpkin spice' items are basically just cinnamon and ginger with no actual pumpkin flavouring. It's basically the same as Gingerbread flavouring with slightly less ginger. They should really just call it 'Cinnamon and other yummy spices' flavouring.

I wanted an actual pumpkin flavor so I perused the Internet for recipes that used pumpkin and mixed what I thought sounded the best and then tweaked it as I went along. 

Alley's Pumpkin Spice Latte or, realistically, Squash Spice Cappuccino (trademark! I'm sure that name will be just as popular as PSL) for 2:
  • 3 Tablespoons cooked squash (I guess you could use actual pumpkin but squash has way more flavour)
  • 2-3 tsp of pumpkin spice, adjust to taste
    • Pumpkin spice(makes more than necessary for 2 drinks): 4tsp cinnamon, 2 1/2 tsp ginger, 1 tsp all spice, 1 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 tsp ground cloves, adjust to taste 
  • 2-3 Tablespoons water
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 shots espresso
  • Whip cream

Step 1: Stir squash, spices, and water over low-medium heat in a small pot until smooth. I added the water just so it wouldn't burn to the bottom. This may not be necessary if you used canned pumpkin or have runnier squash than I did. It should make a smooth mixture.

Step 2: Add sugar and stir for a few minutes until it's bubbling and thick. If you are like me and tasted it at this point and were slightly overwhelmed by the strong flavor, it's okay. It will be diluted with all the liquids.

Step 3: Add vanilla and milk, and stir until warm but not boiling. Basically, don't burn the milk. I now always take the pot off the burner for a second before adding the milk because I've ruined too many white sauces by adding it while the pot was too hot.

Step 4: Froth the milk. If you have a milk frother thing, it would be best to take out some of the milk mixture and froth it separately. I tried frothing the entire pot and it didn't work very well. A smaller portion would have worked better. If you don't have a frother thing, you can use a wire whisk and your muscles. Or one of the techniques here (I have not tried these, they may all be horrible).

Step 5: Pour espresso into mug, add milk and frothy bits, top with whip cream, and sprinkle with more pumpkin spice. Enjoy!

Note: If you're thinking "wait, where did the squash go, shouldn't you strain it out? I don't want to drink squash chunks." I had the same thought. There are some recipes that suggest straining out the squash which I was prepared to do initially. Until the entire thing seemed to just dissolve into the milk leaving no squash chunks to strain. The squash was clearly still there as there were a few squash bits at the bottom of my mug with the leftover cinnamon but it weirdly just dissolves into the liquid.

Pumpkin Spice Mix. I have enough for a weeks worth of drinks!
Milk mixture.
Espressos ready to go!
Some lovely whipped cream courtesy of Jason. I make all my support people whip cream for me.
And voila! Served with some toasted squash seeds. The seeds were a flop but the idea was good! Also, yes, we had Starbucks after physio an hour earlier. It was a two-fancy-coffee-drinks type day.