“Heaven…I’m in heaven…”
Name that tune.
The point is, I’m in a good mood. I’m in a good mood because there were fallen leaves on my car this morning and such an occurrence inspired me to purchase a large can of pumpkin puree, which led me to think of pumpkin-y things to make this weekend, which is why I’ve had two pumpkin lattes inside of one hour.
Truth be told, I was never a huge pumpkin lover, but Ben has been working hard to convert me. In essence, he loves the stuff, and because I love him, I’m bringing all my loves together in one frothy, warming, sweetly spicy coffee holiday drink.
Can we talk about holiday drinks for a second? I’m a fan. (Was that a short-enough second for you?) In all seriousness, I love the gingerbreads and pumpkins and peppermints that invade my coffees this time of year. I crave them. I need them. I whine about them when I don’t have one…to the point where Ben has to go out and get one in order to appease me like a 5-year-old child. Did I mention I’m almost 28? K, cool…
Foamed milk. It’s fun. It’s airy. It’s the cool kid at the party. It’s the envy of all regular milk. And it’s so simple to do at home…without an espresso/cappuccino/milk-foaming machine. If you have a handy-dandy immersion blender, you can use it to foam up milk in a regular-old pot. Coolio! (And if you don’t have an immersion blender, a regular whisk and a ton of upper-arm strength will get you there as well.)
Aside from the really fun pumpkin mixture, the other major component of the latte is the coffee, right? Strictly speaking, a latte is made with espresso. Well, don’t you know I didn’t have any? Here are my recommendations regarding coffee roast and appropriate pumpkin-mixture-to-coffee ratio:
1) Everyone has their own preferred levels of sweetness and strength of coffee. I used a medium-roast coffee and essentially doubled the strength when I brewed it up. If you have a dark roast or espresso roast, use that and brew it according to the package instructions or your preferred taste.
2) I started each latte by filling the bottom quarter to third of the glass with the brewed coffee. Then I filled up the rest of the glass with the pumpkin mixture, leaving about half an inch at the top for the foamed milk. These ratios are not exact and should absolutely be played around with to suit your tastes. You may like it stronger (add more coffee) or sweeter (add more pumpkin mixture) or with more foamed milk (add more…um…foamed milk). This is not an exact science, so feel free to play around with things until you’re sublimely happy.
3) If you like huge, gigantic mugs for your lattes, this recipe will probably only serve two. If you like smaller, dainty glass cups (as pictured), you could get four servings. You can scale this recipe up or down depending on your favorite components.
Another neat-o trick I did? Adding pumpkin pie spice to the coffee grounds before I brewed it. A-MAZ-ING! You get the wonderful aroma of fall as you sip away, and even though it’s subtle, you know it’s there and that’s just such a comforting, cozy scent to have on a Saturday morning in September.
Now, if I could only master the funky latte swirl designs in the milk foam, I could open up a cafe. That’s all you need to know in order to open up your own coffee shop, right? No?
Ahem. I’ll stop now.
You can make your own foamed milk at home (without a cappuccino machine), and use it to top off this sweet and festive pumpkin latte.
- FOR THE COFFEE:
- 2 cups water
- 1/4 cup coffee
- 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- FOR THE PUMPKIN MIXTURE:
- 2 cups milk (I used low fat)
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 2 tbsp and 2 tsp brown sugar
- FOR THE FOAMED MILK:
- 1 cup milk (I used low fat)
- Ground cinnamon for dusting (optional)
- Mix the coffee grounds and pumpkin pie spice together. Brew coffee according to your preferred brewing method. If you're using espresso or a dark roast, brew the coffee using your normal ratios of grounds to water.
- In a medium-sized stainless steel pot, add the milk and turn the heat on medium. While whisking, add the pumpkin puree and brown sugar. Constantly whisk until all the ingredients are dissolved and the milk begins to steam, about 5 minutes. At that point, turn the heat down to low until you're ready to combine it with the coffee.
- In a small stainless steel pot (I used a 1.5-quart pot), add the 1 cup of milk for foaming and turn the heat on medium. Using an immersion blender, insert the blender nozzle into the milk and tilt/angle the pot toward you so the end of the nozzle is submerged into the milk. Turn on the blender and blend until you have foamy milk, about 1-2 minutes. (Once you stop blending, the foam bubbles will begin to slowly subside, but you can always reblend them to make them foamy again.)
- Take a mug or glass and fill the bottom quarter to third of the mug with the coffee. To that, add the pumpkin mixture and fill it to the top, leaving about a half inch for the foamed milk. Using a soup spoon, gently scoop out the foamed milk from the pot and lay it on top of the pumpkin-coffee mixture in the glass. Pile it as high as you'd like.
- Sprinkle the foamed milk with ground cinnamon (optional) and serve immediately.