While some people rue the end of summer, I celebrate it as openly as possible. Not only can I wear all of the layers my little heart can take, I get to openly drink pumpkin spice EVERYTHING. While I know Ugg-wearing, Instagramming, PSL-obsessed “basics” get ridiculed online, fall is the perfect time to embrace all things basic. Think about it: sweaters, furry boots, and leggings are just about the closest you can get to public pajamas; pumpkin has always been a fall staple; and if someone spends five minutes making a cool design on my latte, you better believe I’m snapping a pic.
That being said, sometimes I don’t want to spend upwards of $5 on fancy coffee, but I do need my PSL fix. This syrup recipe is one that I have been making for the last three years. I usually make a couple batches at a time – a spoonful of syrup makes my morning mug fall-ready in seconds. In fact, I have been known to add it to pretty much any sweet I make from September to December. One thing to note about this recipe is that the entire thing can be adjusted for taste; I really enjoy the spiciness of ginger, so I add more. Don’t go adding cups of dry spices (the finished texture will be chalky), but adjust the spices to your preference.
2 1/2 c water
1 ½ c sugar
1 ½ c dark brown sugar (light brown will work, as well)
4-5 cinnamon sticks (or 1 big teaspoon of ground)
1 tsp nutmeg
1” chunk of fresh ginger, grated (or 1 tsp ground)
½ tsp clove
½ c pumpkin puree
Bring sugars and water to a gentle boil; stirring until sugar dissolves (about three minutes boiling should do the job).
Turn heat to the lowest setting, and add spices. When you’re sure the mixture isn’t boiling, add pumpkin and stir.
Cook on low 5-6 minutes. You will know it is ready when your entire kitchen smells like pumpkin pie, and the syrup is completely mixed.
Let cool. Put in a mason jar or other airtight container. Store in the refrigerator, and make sure to shake it up before using (it will separate a little).
Suggested Uses (other than lattes):
Frappe: National Frappe Day on October 7 is the perfect excuse/opportunity to bust out the blender. Add 2 tbsp of syrup (or more depending on your taste), 2 cups of strong coffee, a heaping cup of ice (adjust depending on how slushy you want it, and a splash of cream to a blender. Blend until smooth. Top with whipped cream and pumpkin spice.
Cakes: I add about a quarter cup of the syrup to any cake recipe (I usually reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe slightly). It adds a subtle spiced flavor, and warms up any plain cake base.
Yogurt Parfait: For a sweet, but not too sweet breakfast mix a teaspoon of syrup with a cup of plain yogurt. Layer in a parfait glass with granola.
Roast squash or sweet potatoes: Seriously! Toss cubed butternut and/or sweet potato with oil, a drizzle of syrup, salt, and some cayenne or chili powder. Roast at 375 degrees until vegetables are tender.
Cocktails: Truth time – I originally found this PSL syrup recipe on A Beautiful Mess (one of my favorite blogs), and adjusted their technique and ingredients for my own recipe. This recipe they have for PSL White Russians, however, is perfect just the way it is. Take a look.
How do you PSL? Send us a picture using the hashtag #FeedYourCuriosity or write a comment below.
Growing up in a Mexican family in the South, Rachel Valdéz loved food before she could hold a spoon. After graduating from Northwestern University with a degree in journalism, Rachel decided to go get a degree in her most pervasive and everlasting passion: food. After completing an associates degree in culinary arts at Kendall College, Rachel got the gig of a lifetime as the blog manager at The Red Fork. Though she now lives in St. Louis, a big part of her heart (and stomach) still resides in Chicago. In her spare time Rachel enjoys cuddling her puppy, haphazardly doing yoga, and writing about herself in the third person.