Tag Archives: drink

Tina’s PSL *Revisited* Pumpkin Spice Latte

This is the old PSL & the revamped is even better.

There are times in our lives when what we think is near perfection is actually not quite.  Last year I adapted a PSL (pumpkin spice latte) thinking it was great.  However, after making a couple since that time I have come to the following conclusions:

  1. The recipe I had given you is more strenuous & labor intensive if you made one even two mornings a week (for those of you on the 3+ PSL’s a week–it’s our little secret).
  2. I couldn’t get past the muck of spices in those last couple sips.
  3. There must be an easier way to eliminate time constraints & spice granules swimming in my mouth.

Here’s what I’ve come up with and I think you’ll be pleased.

  1. Make a simple syrup.
  2. Use whole spices to infuse the syrup.
  3. Keep simple syrup in your fridge for your PSL needs.
  4. Combine 1 part simple syrup to 2 parts pumpkin puree.
  5. Add steamed milk & shots of espresso.
  6. Put whipped cream on top & sprinkle with nutmeg.

And it must be said that whenever I drink a mocha (I’m typically an americano girl) I don’t have whipped cream.  If it’s made right, then I really don’t think it’s necessary.  However, I would say that a PSL & whipped cream have a symbiotic relationship.  If you’re going to make one, please do us all a favor and just add the whipped cream (you know you want to).  Your friend who stopped by will thank you for it (and it’s a sure way to add a bit of flare to that hospitality).

Tina’s PSL (Pumpkin Spice Latte) Revamped (printable recipe)

Most simple syrup recipes use regular white sugar.  However, I like rapadura for it’s molasses undertones.  Plus, it’s unrefined.  So when the sugar dissolves you are going to get a dark simple syrup.  Don’t worry–it’s totally fine.  In my first PSL recipe it calls for vanilla (along with some other ingredients).  However, by using rapadura you don’t need any vanilla since it’s so flavorful.  You can find in bulk at most health or co-op stores.

Simple Syrup Ingredients:

1 cup water

1 cup rapadura sugar

4-5 cinnamon sticks

1-1 1/2 tsp whole cloves

3-4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

Directions: Add water & sugar to a small pot & turn on heat to low.  Combine until the sugar is dissolved & syrup is hot (not boiling or simmering though).  Add the spices and allow them to infuse for 5 minutes.  Strain the infused syrup using either a fine sieve or cheesecloth.  Discard spices & keep the spice simple syrup.

Pumpkin Spice Latte

1 cup of steamed milk (160 degrees)

1-2 shots of espresso, freshly pulled

1 Tb spice simple syrup

2 Tb pureed pumpkin

whipped cream

Putting it together:  Steam your milk to 160.  If using an espresso machine, you want to barely put the tip in the milk to create a couple bubbles until it hits 80 degrees.  As you see the very small bubbles, you want to submerge your wand deep into the milk and constantly swirl the wand around in the pitcher.  This will create that wonderful silky foam you get at a good coffee shop.

You can either combine your pumpkin puree & spice syrup in the cup, or you could add it to your steaming milk.  Caution: if you’re trying to achieve that wonderful silky foam, then don’t add the syrup or pumpkin, because it will disrupt the milk from stretching.

Pull your shots & add them to the syrup & pumpkin puree. Stir with a spoon. Pour in your milk.  Top with whipped cream & a little nutmeg.  **Remember that you can add a little more pumpkin or less, all depends on what your tastebuds tell you.


Caramel Sauce (for a Caramel Latte)

My most favorite coffee drink is a caramel latte from Avelino.  As you watch them prepare the cup you begin to wonder if they are over doing it with the caramel.  Trust me, they’re not.  I got away with some of my favorite fellow moms back in early March, where I brought caramel sauce to make said latte for them.  Talia looking at the cup as I spooned the gooey sauce in said, “Uh, maybe a little less for me.”  I said with all courtesy & politeness (maybe a little blunt) to a pregnant lady, “No, trust me–you don’t want less.”  As I handed it to her, she said, “You’re right Kamille–this is perfect!”

I often dream of getting away in a cabin far away on days like this.  Caramel latte in one hand, good book in the other, and peace & quiet.  It could be that I’m anxiously awaiting my anniversary getaway this weekend with Ben and without the kids.  But, I think it’s a little deeper.  I’ve been very short, sarcastic, rolling the eyes due to kid annoyances, and feeling like life should stand still for me.  My tolerance level is at an all time low and my connecting with my girls seems to have fallen off the radar.  When I’ve been told about the importance of having a “daily quiet time” with God or somehow that is equated with spiritual depth–I begin to wonder how true it is.  My friend read a book recently where the author (and I paraphrase) said, “maybe we shouldn’t gauge spiritual life with daily devotion/quiet time.  Instead, when we find ourselves becoming angry, bitter, impatient, lacking grace & forgiveness–maybe those should be the signs of spiritual decay.”

My pastor mentioned something along these lines on Sunday.  How he’s definitely a proponent of reading the Bible, but we’ve met many people who read their Bible daily, yet their life lacks any evidence of it.  I’m in need of a cleanse.  My soul is stagnant waters in a cesspool right now.  It’s on days like today that I’m reminded the most important job I could do is give my girls as many hugs & speak life-giving words to them.  It’s not about the laundry getting done, the ratio of carbs & proteins on their lunch plates, or hurrying them off to bed to be partly done with the day.  And I need more than myself to do that job.  Yes a break this weekend is nice, but I’m running on empty right now.  So how are you?  How do you refuel, in order to do better than “just make it” to the weekend?  I’m grateful to you, who allow me to open up my heart & mind on days like this.

Caramel Sauce & Latte (printable recipe)

This recipe is from Fine Cooking Winter 2004 issue.  I cook mine in my dutch oven to ensure it doesn’t burn.  Making caramel is more about color and temperature than about time.  The original recipe says it takes “about” 28 minutes to get to the right color.  But, what you need to do is stay right by the stove while it cooks, because it can go from just ready to burnt in no time.  Make this when you have peace & quiet without disturbances–you’ll feel better when you’re licking the spoon and no one is watching.


1 cup water, plus more for brushing down sugar crystals

4 cups granulated sugar

2 Tb light corn syrup

4 cups (1 quart) heavy whipping cream, at room temperature

4 ounces (1/2 cup, 1 stick) unsalted butter, softened and cut into pieces

1/2-1 tsp sea salt

Directions: Have your cream & butter ready.  Pour some water into a small bowl and a pastry brush to set aside the stove for brushing down sugar crystals.  Pour 1 cup water into a heavy-bottom pot (8 quart or dutch oven).  Add sugar & corn syrup.  Cook over high heat, stirring often with a wooden spoon, until sugar has dissolved and the mixture is boiling.  If you see any sugar crystals forming on the sides of the pot, just above the sugar mixture, wipe down with wet pastry brush.

Reduce the heat to maintain a gentle boil; it shouldn’t be sputtering.  DO NOT STIR it any longer.  Simply allow the sugar to cook.  You will need to gently swirl the pan to disperse the sugars & even out the color.  Continuing wiping down the sides if sugar crystals form and allowing the sugar to reach a light honey color, this should take roughly 20 minutes.  Continue with the swirling & wiping of the pastry brush, and the sugar should become a rich, red-brown color, roughly an additional 8 minutes.  The best way to tell what color the sugar is is to spoon a bit on a white dish.

Remove pot from heat and slowly pour in the cream, but be careful while pouring as it will splatter.  Stir with a wooden spoon, making sure any solidified caramel on the bottom or sides melts.  If it’s not melting, you can set it over medium heat again & gently stir until it is completely smooth.

Stir in the butter and salt.  Let cool to room temperature. If you want flavored caramel sauce, look below.

Put in a jar and refrigerate.  Will keep about 3-4 weeks in the fridge–perfect to give some away.

Caramel Latte

To make a double tall caramel latte, steam 8 ounces milk, two shots espresso & about 3 Tb of caramel sauce.  Put caramel in bottom of mug.  Add hot shots and stir to thoroughly combine.  Add your frothy & creamy steamed milk and you have yourself “paradise in a cup.”

Orange-Cardamom Caramel Sauce:

In a small saucepan, combine 1 1/2 cups fresh orange juices with 2 Tb plus 2 tsp finely grated orange zest, bring to a boil, and cook until reduced to about 1/2 cup.  Pour through a fine sieve, pressing against the zest to release all the liquid.  Stir the strained, reduced orange juice and 4 tsp ground cardamom into the cooled caramel sauce.

When Life hands you lemons & lavender!

Go ahead and finish the cliche…make lemonade!  That’s right, nothing original, but we don’t always have to be original.  And most likely, hardly anything is truly original anyway, but doesn’t mean it’s not good.  My friend Lindsey mentioned that I needed to get on the bandwagon and create a Lavender Lemonade.  Not only that, but have a Spring kickoff of food you should be making in the kitchen this time of year.

I have been reading a book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, which has inspired me even more to be a seasonal eater & cook.  It’s about her family’s year long adventure of eating only food grown locally (which would also be in season).  Now, I don’t think I would ever be able to do that, but she makes some good points with the main two being how much fossil fuel is used to transport food that you wouldn’t be able to find locally.  The other point is how much better the food actually tastes (along with health benefits) when you get it farm direct.  I would wholeheartedly agree as Ben and I were talking about the vegetables he actually likes.

His thing is he will eat vegetables because he knows they’re essential, but he doesn’t necessarily like many of them.  However, when I prodded a bit more, we came to find out that a majority of veggies he dislikes are actually eaten out of season.  Now, all that to say and lemons are definitely not a seasonal, nor local thing here in Bellingham (hence why I couldn’t abide by a 100% locally grown philosophy–plus what about coffee?).  Lavender does grow abundantly in the Pacific Northwest.  However, it’s more of a summer thing.  Okay so none of the ingredients, except water, is in season or local at this point in time.  But…I had lavender in my cupboard from a local Lavender farm, so I feel justified.

Lavender Simple Syrup

I liked this lemonade quite a bit.  It had a subtle lavender aroma & taste.  I used unrefined sugar, which in making a simple syrup you never get that clear syrup.  So other than visual appeal, the unrefined did just fine and the lavender lemonade hit the spot on a lovely Spring afternoon.

Lavender Lemonade (printable recipe)

If you want a clear simple syrup, then use white granulated sugar.  The simple syrup makes more than what the recipe calls for, but just put it in your fridge to make more later.  It will keep in your fridge for 2 weeks.

Simple Syrup

1 cup unrefined granulated sugar

1 cup culinary lavender

1 cup water

Lemonade Ingredients

12 Tb lavender simple syrup

3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemons

2 1/2 cups cold water

In a mortar, gently crush about 1/3 cup of lavender.  In a small pan over medium heat, combine sugar, lavender & water.  Stirring to combine and until the sugar crystals disappear.  Don’t stir and let it cook for 3-4 minutes.  Remove from heat.

With a sieve over a measuring cup, pour lavender simple syrup through to separate the syrup from the lavender.  Set aside.  Squeeze your lemons (I had 3) to make 3/4 cup and pour into a pitcher.  Add 10 Tb of lavender simple syrup, along with 2 cups of cold water.  Taste to see if you need more water or syrup.  I used 1/2 cup more & 2 more Tb of the syrup.

Serve by putting some ice in the pitcher & sprinkle with lavender.  Sit outside and breathe in Spring.

Tina’s PSL


What exactly is a PSL you ask? I had the same question as I was reading a good friend’s Facebook status. She wrote that she had her first PSL of the season and then a lot of Fall connotations. What was worst were the people commenting as if they had a clue as to what this PSL she spoke of. It was finally about 8 hours when enlightenment hit. The acronym code was broken…”Pumpkin Spice Latte!!”


Now it must be said that I am personally not a huge pumpkin fan. There are those who love everything pumpkin, those who cannot stand it, and those who are a bit impartial. Growing up I didn’t like anything pumpkin. For instance, the only pumpkin pie available in my house during Thanksgiving was the one from the grocery store. Neither mom or dad did much of baking pumpkin quick bread, pumpkin cookies, or pumpkin anything. Funny thing is when I entered college I got back to my middle school roots of home economics and my love of baking & cooking, which eventually led me to the “pumpkin.”

IMG_3532mise en place

I feel like one true sign of an affinity to baking is when you use ingredients that you may not personally adore, but use them to bless others that do. This is pumpkin for me (to some degree, as I’m not a lover nor a hater). However, you wouldn’t know this as I buy a sweet meat squash every year fall, bake it, puree it and freeze parts of it for later use. I guess most of this is aside from the point, well…onto the recipe I found for making your very own PSL at home.

IMG_3547Frothed & Steamed Pumpkin Spiced Milk

IMG_3558Shots of espresso

IMG_3560I definitely think this is intended for whipped cream, don’t skimp!

PSL (Pumpkin Spice Latte)

This recipe is taken from Baking and Books, with a little adaptation.


1 cup milk (use whatever kind you typically drink)

a pinch of ground cloves

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 1/2 Tablespoons pumpkin puree

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 tablespoon raw sugar or rapadura sugar (these are different & I used rapadura as I’m trying to use less refined sugars)

2 shots of espresso

2 tablespoons half & half

1-3 teaspoons raw sugar

Whipped cream

Combine milk, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, pumpkin puree, vanilla & 1/2 tablespoon sugar in a blender. Blend till frothy. Steam milk mixture to 160 degrees, or you can heat in a pan on top of the stove over low-medium heat till milk is 160 (be sure to stir if on top of stove).

Pull two espresso shots and pour in cup. Add warmed pumpkin milk, along with 1 tablespoon half & half, to your shots of espresso. If you taste your latte at this point all you will taste is spiced flavored milk and it’s not as appealing, so add however many teaspoons of sugar to the pumpkin milk until it reaches the right sweetness factor. Top with as much whipped cream as you’d like. Sprinkle a bit of nutmeg on top and cozy up to a good book.

IMG_3524(clockwise) Cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves & rapadura sugar

**I would say the one downside to this recipe is the last two drinks, because the spices settle to the bottom of the cup leaving a bit of spice soot. I think the only way to counter this would be to seep the milk in whole cloves, nutmeg & cinnamon sticks; however, that would take a much longer time than it’s worth.