Marcus Gavius Apicius, a first century Roman gastronome, apparently came up with the phrase,"we eat with our eyes first." The phrase aligns with our digestive process, which starts in the brain when we let our thoughts wander to food. In today's world where food photos have become ubiquitous, our eyes offer enough (read countless) cues to dine multiple times, visually. I tend to belive that I am immune to these visual cues, but every fall I find it hard to ignore the appetizing images of pumpkin spice latte that seemingly are plastered everywhere. While the pictures looks quite appetizing, the pumpkin spice lattes at coffee shops are cloyingly sweet.
I still enjoy the beverage by making this no-processed-sugar-added homemade vegan pumpkin pie spice latte, which has real pumpkin and spice.I am not sure if the cafes purveying pumpkin spice lattes use real pumpkin. My recipe starts with real pumpkin puree (homemade or canned), preferably organic. I am a huge fan of Farmer's Market Organic boxed pumpkin. No, I am not affiliated with the brand, but I just love it. You can also use homemade pumpkin puree. For the choice of coffee, I have used decaffeinated instant coffee as caffeine and I don't get along well. You can use your choice of freshly brewed instant or drip coffee or a shot of espresso.
Pumpkin pie spice is the ideal choice, but if this is something not part of your pantry, you can replace it with cinnamon. I usually add a pinch of some kind of pepper to my hot beverages and in this recipe it's black pepper. It offers that extra zing without being obtrusive. For the choice of sweetener, I have used the combination of dates and maple syrup; you can use just the maple syrup as well. Homemade almond milk remains my favorite for making hot beverages.
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Vegan Pumpkin-pie Spice Latte
- 1.5 cup homemade almond milk*
- 1/2 cup strong coffee** (freshly brewed)
- 2.5 tbsp pumpkin puree (fresh, canned, or boxed; preferably organic)
- 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice*** =
- 1 medjool date (or any other)
- 1 tbsp maple syrup**** (can sub with honey)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (pure, optional)
- 1 pinch black pepper (ground, optional)
- 1 tbsp almond whipped cream (optional, or any other)
- 2 pinches cinnamon (ground, optional)
- Add homemade almond milk, freshly brewed coffee, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, medjool date, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and a pinch of black pepper to a high-speed blender. Blend for 60-75 seconds or until well mixed.
- Transfer the mixture to a small pan and bring it to a boil. Waterfall the hot latte into a wide-mouth cup for a couple of times to create a foamy top. Top it with almond whipped cream and a pinch of cinnamon. Enjoy!