Homemade Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer is a must for fall coffee drinking!

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer | thepajamachef.com

I love Pumpkin Spice Lattes from Starbucks like none other. I know, I know. They don’t contain pumpkin. I DON’T WANNA HEAR IT! They are delicious, and the lack of pumpkin isn’t my biggest gripe with them. But my biggest gripe with them is that they are so freaking expensive. Seriously, paying $5 for a grande isn’t something I do very often. So, I have a few of them every season, say that’s that, and go the DIY route to save some cash monies. I’ve made pumpkin spice lattes at home before with homemade syrup, but this method is MUCH easier for your pumpkin spice coffee fix. And bonus? It doesn’t have any weird ingredients–just your usual milk/cream or half and half, plus pumpkin, maple syrup, and spices. Easy easy!

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer | thepajamachef.com

Basically you just mix everything up on the stovetop and let it simmer away for a bit, then strain, chill, and enjoy! If you’re into pumpkin yogurt, you can stir the leftover pumpkin puree/spice mixture into some plain yogurt. Heavenly! I’ve made this in years past but this is my first go-round this year, and I just discovered the yogurt trick. It’s nice!

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer | thepajamachef.com

Normally, when I use flavored creamers I just like them with plain coffee. But we’ve recently discovered that this creamer with Apple Crisp Coffee from Paramount Coffee is incredible! [No affiliation, we just buy and love their coffee! It's available online and sometimes TJ Maxx.] And why wouldn’t it be? Apple and pumpkin are the flavors of fall, right? I think this creamer would be tasty with almost any seasonal spiced coffee, or even with hot chocolate or chai. Mmm, the possibilities! Enjoy!

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer | thepajamachef.com

one year ago: Cream of Broccoli Soup with Cheese
two years ago: No Bake Tropical Energy Bites
three years ago: Pumpkin, Sausage, and Spinach Lasagna
four years ago: Southwestern Pepperjack Baked Penne

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer

  • Servings: 2 cups/16 ounces
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Print

from Next to Heaven

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole milk*
  • 1 cup heavy cream*
  • 3 tablespoons pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 4 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 cinnamon stick, optional
  • a few whole cloves, optional
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Whisk milk, cream, pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, and maple syrup together in a saucepan. Add the cinnamon stick and cloves, if using. Set over medium heat. Reduce heat to low when it gets steamy, then let it simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Use a fine sieve or a coffee filter set over a colander to strain out the cinnamon stick, cloves, and pumpkin puree/spices. Don’t skip this step! I usually strain everything in my sieve into a measuring cup, then pour the mixture into a jar or pitcher for storing in the fridge.

*I have also made this using all half and half, and while it might not be traditional “creamer” it is still really good! Use what you prefer. :)

 

 

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Honey Lemon Thyme Iced Tea

If you were to come visit me, the first thing I’d do would be to have you take a glimpse of our porch. It’s pretty much my favorite thing ever in the summertime.

Honey Lemon Thyme Iced Tea on thepajamachef.com

We don’t really have room [or enough direct sunlight] to grow veggies, but every summer I grow tons of potted herbs. This summer we have rosemary, catnip, lemon thyme, parsley, chocolate mint, and spearmint [RIP summer savory]. I’m a lemon thyme newbie, and I am absolutely positively in loooove. Not only is the sweet and citrusy lemon thyme awesome in a tossed salad, but it makes a mean simple syrup that we’ve been chugging for the past two weeks straight. Seriously. Well, in my favorite Cold Brew Iced Tea… but we are SO addicted. [FYI Lipton has no idea who I am. I just like their Iced Tea.] It is so refreshing, smooth, and fun… a fabulous drink for the summer.

Honey Lemon Thyme Iced Tea on thepajamachef.com

If you’ve never had lemon thyme before, you should get yourself some just for this recipe. It’s wonderfully aromatic and fresh. If you can’t find any, you can substitute common thyme and add the zest of one lemon to the simple syrup. Basically, this simple syrup is a spinoff of my Iced Tea with Ginger-Mint Simple Syrup from last summer. Both are excellent in their own way, but what truly sets this Honey Lemon Thyme Simple Syrup apart is the honey base. Simple syrup is made by dissolving sugar in water on the stove, and infusing it with a variety of fruits, herbs, or any other additions of your choice. White sugar is my go-to sweetener for simple syrup, but I am so glad that I decided to experiment with honey this time for a bit of natural sweetness. It was a rockin’ success–the honey added a nutty, woodsy sweetness and paired perfectly with the tart lemon juice and the herby goodness of lemon thyme.

Honey Lemon Thyme Iced Tea on thepajamachef.com

Now, I haven’t tried this… but both Ben and I agree that a little bit of Bourbon would be an excellent addition to this iced tea for a little grown-up fun. Let me know if you decide to try it that way–but even if you don’t, be sure to make some Honey Lemon Thyme Simple Syrup to flavor your iced tea for the 4th of July or any other special [or ordinary] summer day. Enjoy!

Honey Lemon Thyme Iced Tea [a TPC original]
click to print

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup + 1 quart water, divided [filtered if you prefer]
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup lemon thyme, roughly chopped
  • 2 large “family-size” cold brew iced tea bags [or the equivalent of regular tea bags if you prefer iced tea made some other way... I like cold brew iced tea cause it's easy]

Directions:

In a small saucepan, combine honey, sugar, 1 cup water, lemon juice, and lemon thyme. Stir over medium heat for 3-4 minutes until sugar dissolves. Turn heat to low then simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and steep for 20 minutes.

While simple syrup is steeping, prepare iced tea. Combine 1 quart water and tea bags in a large pitcher [mine is probably ~1 1/4 quarts] and let steep for 8-10 minutes, or until tea is brewed to desired preference. Place in refrigerator to chill.

After syrup has steeped 20 minutes, pour syrup through a fine strainer into a large measuring cup or bowl. Refrigerate syrup, strainer and all [to catch any last lingering drops of syrup caught up in the lemon thyme].

After tea and syrup have chilled, stir in syrup to taste. I used a generous 1/4 cup and found that plenty sweet for me, but it was nowhere near Southern sweet tea so if that’s your thing, use more. Store extra syrup in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to a month.

Time: 2 hours [15 minutes active].

Yield: 6-8 servings tea, 2 cups simple syrup.

Linked with: Weekend Potluck.

Iced Tea with Ginger-Mint Simple Syrup

It’s finally here!! I am so excited… and here’s why!

The Jenna in question here is the writer of Jenna’s Everything Blog. She and her husband, Adam, live in Chicago and are expecting their first baby, Alice, quite soon. When Veronica of Veronica’s Cornucopia emailed me a few months ago to ask if I wanted to be part of a virtual baby shower for Jenna, I didn’t have to think twice!

I’ve been reading Jenna’s blog for quite some time… delighting in her tasty recipes [like these no-bake peanut butter cup bars that I blogged about last summer], eating up her awesome book reviews [she loves the Christy Miller books, which I adored growing up], loving her amazing photography skills [like these Chicago photos], and exploring all the other areas of the “everything” portion of her blog. Including the little fact that Jenna and her husband graduated from Indiana University, where I currently am a graduate student! Woohoo! Anyways, even though I’ve never met Jenna in real life, I am convinced that she and her husband will be awesome parents. They love the Lord and will raise their daughter well… and we are all excited to be able to honor her today!

For the occasion, I decided to make Iced Tea with Ginger-Mint Simple Syrup. I normally don’t take the time to make “special drinks,” but showers are the perfect time to deviate from the norm.

This Ginger-Mint Iced Tea is a simple, subtle, elegant drink that is a perfect compliment to any party, occasion, or plain ‘ole everyday refreshment. I made it by infusing a basic simple syrup with lots of fresh mint and ginger… a painless process that I can see myself doing time and time again to flavor my iced tea [or even lemonade] on a regular basis.

The advantage to sweetening tea with syrup rather than straight-up sugar is that liquid dissolves more easily in liquid… who knew? It’s a breeze to stir this syrup into iced tea to your taste preference [I used 1/4 cup for a quart]. Speaking of preferences, I typically make iced tea with cold brew tea, but feel free to use whatever method you prefer. That’s the beauty of beverage recipes… they are super flexible and hard to mess up. Always a good thing, if you ask me. :) And speaking of good things, don’t let this recipe be the only stop at the virtual baby shower. Be sure to check out the other recipes from Jenna’s other wonderful blog friends, posted below the recipe. :) Enjoy!

Iced Tea with Ginger-Mint Simple Syrup
click to print

Ingredients:

  • 1 quart + 1 cup water, divided [filtered if your town's tap water is as icky-tasting as mine is]
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped mint, packed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, roughly chopped
  • 2 large “family-size” cold brew iced tea bags [or the equivalent of regular tea bags if you prefer iced tea made some other way... I like cold brew iced tea cause it's easy]

Directions:

In a small pot, combine 1 cup water, sugar, mint, and ginger over medium-high heat. Stir continually until sugar dissolves–about 4-5 minutes for me until sugar was really dissolved, then reduce heat to low. Simmer for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let steep for 20 minutes.

While simple syrup is steeping, prepare iced tea. Combine 1 quart water and tea bags in a large pitcher [mine is probably ~1 1/4 quarts] and let steep for 8-10 minutes, or until tea is brewed to desired preference. Place in refrigerator to chill.

After syrup has steeped 20 minutes, pour syrup through a fine strainer into a large measuring cup or bowl. Refrigerate syrup, strainer and all [to catch any last lingering drops of syrup caught up in the mint and ginger].

After tea and syrup have chilled, stir in syrup to taste. I used a generous 1/4 cup and found that plenty sweet for me, but it was nowhere near Southern sweet tea so if that’s your thing, use more. Store extra syrup in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to a month.

Time: 4 hours [15 minutes active].

Yield: 6-8 servings tea, ~ 1 1/3 cup simple syrup.

Be sure to continue the virtual baby shower love for Jenna by checking out these wonderful posts too:
A Little Lunch (Eufaula, OK): Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice Scones
City Songbird (Greensboro, NC): Merry Christmas, Alice!
Eats Well With Others (New York, NY): Peanut Butter and Honey Ice Cream
Hunting for Bliss (Bozeman, MT): Garam Masala Deviled Eggs
Pinking Shears & Broccoli Spears (Newark, DE): Making Food Good For Your Baby
Sydney Shares (Eugene, OR): Baby BLTs 
That’s Some Good Cookin’ (Salt Lake City, UT): Cheesecake Cookie Bars
The Pajama Chef (Bloomington, IN): Iced Tea with Ginger-Mint Simple Syrup
Two Dogs In The Kitchen (Sterling, MI): Spicy Asian Meatballs
Veronica’s Cornucopia (Wichita, KS): Raspberry Almond Fudge Cookies
Very Culinary (Sacramento, CA): Toasted Orzo and Chickpea Salad
Words on Wendhurst: A Gift For Jenna and Alice

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Lattes–sans espresso machine!

Okay, so I know this fall there have been about a zillion variations of DIY pumpkin spice latte recipes online. But I kept making excuses for making them, even though I was craving that pumpkin spice-flavored syrup.

I didn’t have any cinnamon sticks [remedied with a trip to Sam's... big jar for under $4! Apparently sticks > ground.] or any cheesecloth [it's $2 at the grocery store], and lastly, I certainly didn’t have a fancypants espresso machine. No way to get steamed milk. Ummm… yeah, can’t get past that obstacle for cheap. Or can you? A little googling and apparently some Mason jar-shaking action has somewhat of the same effect. Not exactly the same, but close enough. I was quite impressed with myself after testing out that googled solution. Thankfully I’ve been working out! I combined that milk with some fall-spiced pumpkin simple syrup I cooked up in a jiffy, freshly brewed espresso blend coffee, whipped cream, and cinnamon and had myself a nice, fancy coffeeshop-worthy beverage.

If you don’t want to go to all the trouble of a DIY latte and would rather leave that to the professionals, this syrup is also fabulous stirred into coffee, hot chocolate, and probably even ice cream [though I haven't tried it yet]. It’s easier than you think–I promise!

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte [from Annie's Eats]
printable version

Ingredients:

for syrup

  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 3 tablespoons pumpkin puree

for latte

  • 6 ounces skim milk
  • 3 ounces brewed espresso or strong coffee
  • 1-2 tablespoons pumpkin spice syrup
  • whipped cream and ground cinnamon for topping

Directions:

Stir together water and sugar in medium saucepan set over medium-high heat. Stir from time to time until sugar dissolves. Add cinnamon sticks and whisk in spices, then stir in pumpkin puree. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring continually. Do not let mixture boil. Remove from heat and cool for 15 minutes. Then, strain syrup through a cheesecloth and store in the refrigerator in a sealed container.

To make latte, pour milk into a Mason jar, screw on lid, and then shake for 60 seconds. Then remove lid and microwave for about 60 seconds or until hot, transferring to a larger container or bowl if necessary. [I did this so that it wouldn't overflow.] Pour into a large mug and stir in coffee. Drizzle in pumpkin spice syrup then top with whipped cream and cinnamon as desired.

31 days of pumpkin

Watermelon Coolers

I know, I know. It’s Monday. But that doesn’t mean that a little cocktail is out of the question. It is summer, after all. Because I mean, seriously… what else are you going to do with 31 cups of chopped watermelon?I love watermelon as much as more than the next girl [in my youthful days I may or may not have told my mom I'd eat an entire watermelon on my own...] but 31 cups? From one melon? You’ve got to be kidding me!

watermelon!

oh my goodness... watermelon galore!

Before you go into watermelon overload, have no fear because…

are here!

A little sweet + a little tart + a little fizzy + a little kick = a whole lot of refreshing. I’m not one who drinks often, but when I do, I gotta love it… which to me means fruity, fun, and without the overbearing taste of alcohol.

These Watermelon Coolers are so refreshing and fresh that I’ve made them time and time again this summer [if time and time again means twice... I told you, I don't drink often!]. It’s the perfect afternoon treat, and could instantly become family friendly by omitting the tequila. Either way, it’s a sip of summer, so enjoy while it’s still here!

What part of summer do you want to soak up before it’s too late? I know I’m going to be gobbling down as many berries, melons, and tomatoes as I can in the coming weeks! Yum!

Watermelon Coolers
printable version

Ingredients:

  • 2 3/4 cup watermelon, cubed and frozen
  • 12 ounce can Sierra Mist Naturals
  • 3-4 ounces tequila, depending on how strong you like it
  • 1 lime

Directions:

In a blender, mix together watermelon, Sierra Mist, and juice of half a lime. Blend until watermelon is pureed. Stir in tequila. Garnish with remaining lime. Serves two.