By Christine Springer
If you saw the post about the ingredients in a very popular Pumpkin Spice Latte and were concerned, you were not alone. I was shocked to read about the chemicals in that syrup product and decided to make my own.
First off, let me say that this recipe tastes nowhere NEAR as pumpkin-y as the stuff you get in the coffee shop. I think that's because it has no chemicals in it.
If you've ever noticed a "hopped up" extra [insert your favorite flavor] in any product, there was probably a chemical involved to make the flavor more pronounced.
I wanted to use real pumpkin since it’s very good for you, and I also wanted a paleo version.
I started with organic pumpkin, maple syrup, organic honey, whole nutmeg, ground ginger, ground cloves and ground cinnamon. The jar spices are all from Penzeys Spices, which I absolutely LOVE. I normally don’t buy spices anywhere else. If you’re not on their mailing list, you should be, because they send out some very nice coupons frequently.
I didn’t have to purchase any of these ingredients because I had them all in my pantry. If you've been paleo for awhile, there's a very good chance you already have many of these items, with perhaps the exception of the pumpkin.
Like my Supercharged Coffee recipe, I didn’t measure this exactly. But I’ll give you the recipe framework and you can adjust the spice to your taste.
If you need exact measurements, start with these:
1/4 cup pumpkin puree (homemade or store-bought)
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Kosher salt (My go to salt in the kitchen)to taste
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon orange extract
Zest from one whole small lemon
One small can of unsweetened full fat coconut milk (mine was about six ounces)
Start by adding the pumpkin, maple syrup, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger into a medium-large sauce pan.
Whisk the pumpkin, maple syrup, honey and spices, (except for the salt) together. They will look like this:
Place your pan on medium heat on the stove. It will start to thicken up and look like apple butter. Add some water to thin the mixture out and stir it occasionally to smooth out the lumps and let it thicken back up smoothly.
I was tasting mine the entire time it cooked to see if I liked the balance of the spices. Ultimately, I think I went a little heavy on the cloves, but it still tasted amazing. Plus, I am probably going to use mine in coffee, so that flavor will probably not be so pronounced.
As I heated this up, I added more spices plus several pinches of Kosher salt for contrast with the sweetness.
The lemon zest was something I decided to add on the spur of the moment because I had some left over from another recipe. Zest is super easy to get from the lemon with a Microplane grater (pictured above) or you could use lemon extract.
Similarly, the coconut milk was another improvisation, but it really added a nice layer of smoothness to the syrup, almost like a caramel flavor.
As the mixture cooled, I added the vanilla extract and I also decided to add orange extract. I really liked the interplay between the pumpkin and orange flavors. You don’t have to add the orange extract. If you don’t like it, leave it out, or use another flavor. I think almond would be really good.
After the syrup was completely cooled, I put it into the glass bottles pictured at the top of this post. Since everything was shelf stable before I put it together, I leave this out on my shelf at room temperature.
This would be really good in your coffee, with your favorite non-dairy ice cream, in smoothies, and probably anything else you think tastes good with pumpkin.
If you find you really want your syrup sweeter, try adding a drop or two of stevia.