The pumpkin spice craze is upon us.
During the fall, pumpkin is everywhere—especially in beverages. Pumpkin and a blend of autumnal spices are added to coffee, lattes, tea and smoothies, then topped with whipped cream and maybe a sprinkle of cinnamon. For some, it doesn’t feel like fall until they take that first sip. While these drinks are tasty, they typically are loaded with sugar. And don’t get us started on the astronomical carb count. Why waste money on these drinks when making them at home is cheaper and you can control the ingredients?
Making pumpkin puree isn’t as daunting as you might think. Simply chop off the top of a sugar pumpkin near the stem, halve it like you would a melon, scoop out the seeds, put it face down on a baking sheet and roast until tender. The skin will be so soft that it will peel away. Then, mash it with a potato masher or run it through a food processor to get it nice and creamy. The resulting puree should be used immediately or frozen for six to eight months. Pumpkin year round—yeah!
These drinks come together in mere minutes and are low in calories, carbs and sugar.
Pumpkin Spice Drink Base
1 cup pumpkin puree
½ cup dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
In a medium saucepan, whisk together the pumpkin puree with sugar, vanilla extract and spices until smooth. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture just begins to bubble. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Use as directed in the following drink recipes. Store the pumpkin spice base in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.