By Julia Edwards, Special to Tribune Newspapers
The thought of bittersweet pumpkin aroma rising above layers of foam, whipped cream and spice is enough to drag most latte lovers out of bed on mornings when the wind starts to carry a bite.
Just when we want to slip into hibernation, pumpkin spice lattes come out of hibernation and into the hands of loyal fans. Fall marketing campaigns would almost have us believe it is a biological response to crave pumpkin-spiked coffee this time of year. But in this economy, few can afford a $4-a-day addiction.
If the coffee pushers decided to withhold them a month longer and sell them for a dollar more, our loyalty would probably only grow stronger. They are just that good.
When Starbucks started serving the pumpkin spice latte in October 2005, sales jumped 11 percent higher than the previous, pumpkin-less October. And for the past seven autumns, our taste buds have led us back to our friends in the green aprons, who stand ready to serve the fruits of the harvest: four pumps of flavored syrup.
Yet, for those who cannot depend on the coffee shop or seasonal promotions anytime they crave one, there is the DIY option. This recipe uses real pumpkin instead of syrup. So brew your own PSL: It's a small statement of independence that can't get you into trouble.
DIY pumpkin spice latte
Note: Adapted from the blog FrugalDreamer.com.
2 cups milk
3 tablespoons canned pumpkin
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, plus more for garnish
1 cup strong brewed coffee
Combine milk, pumpkin and sugar in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until steaming. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin spice. Whisk the mixture until foamy. Transfer into two mugs, filling each only half way; top with coffee. Garnish with a dollop of whipped cream and a dash of pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon.