Veganized Pumpkin Spice Latte Sauce

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PSL or Pumpkin Spice Latte has been a Fall staple from the Bucks of Star going all the way back to 2003. Unfortunately, vegans have not been able to partake in this iconic drink at the official SB store, because the syrup that they use contains milk. So, my fellow vegans and dairy-free people, get your UGGs on and head out to the pumpkin patch for some selfies! You can easily make your own vegan PSL sauce at home.

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The syrup is best known for making a latte or a creamy tea. But, you can use it on so many things to bring Fall enjoyment to pretty much everything in the season. Drizzle it on oatmeal. Pour some on ice cream. Dump it on a loved one and lick it off. The possibilities are endless. It’s sticky, sweet, and has all of the pumpkin spice flavors. It even has real pumpkin in it! So. Healthy, right?

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The sauce takes maybe 10 minutes and makes a pint worth, which is plenty for many lattes or other treats. It lasts in the fridge for a long time, but, chances are, it’ll get used quickly.

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The recipe is made in two stages. You first make a simple syrup heating equal amounts of sugar and water until thickened. Then, all you need to do is heat the remaining ingredients! Quick, easy, and delicious.

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Making simple syrup is in the name. It’s simple and it’s syrup. You cook equal amounts of sugar and water until the sugar has dissolved and reaches the boiling point. You don’t need to cook it for long because the more it cooks the more the sugar will crystalize and your syrup will turn into a hard candy. This simple syrup is important for making this recipe because it doesn’t leave behind crunchy sugar crystals and it makes the end result a syrup that blends into other liquids well.

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There are a lot of recipes online that make the Pumpkin Spice syrup using just sugar, water, spices, and maybe pumpkin puree. Even the Starbucks website has a recipe to make your own. However, the recipe that Starbucks shares isn’t the PSL sauce that they use in stores. The one difference? Milk. Specifically, sweetened condensed milk.

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Sweetened condensed milk is made using milk that’s been reduced to have a less water to lactose (the sugar in dairy milk) ratio. The condensed milk is then sweetened with sugar to make it shelf stable for many years. The sugar prevents bacteria growth. It also makes it taste sweet and a useful ingredient for desserts. Evaporated milk is entirely different and the two can’t be substituted for each other.

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The addition of sweetened condensed milk is what gives that Pumpkin Spice Latte it’s thick and rich texture and the sweetness that people crave. I’m not here to make a “healthy” version of this drink. I just want you to have a great vegan option! It’s not even hard to make it vegan, which makes me confused as to why Starbucks doesn’t do it too. You can swap the sweetened condensed milk with sweetened condensed coconut milk. That’s really it. It doesn’t even taste like coconut once you add in the other ingredients.

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A can of sweetened condensed coconut milk is more expensive than it’s dairy relative. Pretty much the only reason why is demand. Don’t worry though, this recipe only costs about $5 to make. The dairy industry often uses their waste products to create other products. The big reason that there’s so much focus on Whey Protein Shakes is because we eat more cheese than ever before and whey is a byproduct of that process. Clever marketing has us convinced that whey is healthy. The dairy industry just saw a way to make money off of something they were dumping into streams and lakes. The same for collagen. Collagen is just animal skin that’s been boiled down into a gel: AKA gelatin. You’d never eat a bowl of Jell-O and think that it’s making you look younger; however, we’ve been convinced that we need collagen for skin health. Again, great marketing for a byproduct and a way to make more money. If there was more demand for dairy-free sweetened condensed milk, maybe the price would go down. Until then, just spend the extra for homemade. If you make your PSL at home, you’ll save far more money than you would ever “spend” buying a tin of this dairy-free milk.

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What’s the nutrition content for it? My gut it to just say, “it’s a treat and treats don’t matter,” but here it is just in case you’re really curious.

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A serving of my PSL sauce is 1 Tablespoons per 8 ounce latte (equal to 2 pumps)

  • 66 calories
  • 0 mg cholesterol
  • 10.8 mg sodium
  • 1.8 g saturated fat
  • 11.7 g sugars

If you’re wondering, my recipe is “better” for you than what you’d buy in the store in terms of saturated fat and sugar.

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Vegan Pumpkin Spice Latte Sauce

Veganized version of the iconic pumpkin spice latte that is nearly identical to the coffee shop, but homemade in about ten minutes. Great for a PSL, a drizzle over pancakes, oatmeal topping, or poured on ice cream.
Course Appetizer, Drinks, Ingredients
Cuisine American
Keyword drinks, vegan, veganized
Prep Time – 5 mins
Cook Time – 5 mins
Total Time – 10 mins
Servings – 16 Tablespoons
Calories Per Serving –66
Cost $5

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree (Canned pumpkin)
  • 7.5 ounces sweetened condensed coconut milk (See blog post )
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice seasoning

Instructions

  • In a sauce pot, whisk together the water and sugar. Heat over medium high heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved and the water looks clear. About 1 minute. Leave on heat and stir occasionally until bubbles form across entire surface. Cook for one minute longer once those bubbles form. Remove from heat.
  • Stir in the remaining ingredients, place pot back on medium heat and stir to melt the sweetened condensed coconut milk. Once the coconut milk has melted, stop stirring. Let mixture heat until you see bubbling or foaming across the entire surface. Stir and remove from heat.
  • Pour the pumpkin spice sauce into a mason jar or other glass container. Use immediately or refrigerate for longer storage.
  • Use 1 tablespoon of the sauce per 8 ounce latte. Use more if desired.

Notes

Per 1 tablespoon of this sauce: 
  • 66 calories
  • 1.8 g saturated fat
  • 0 mg cholesterol
  • 10.8 mg sodium
  • 11.7 g sugar
(These nutrition numbers are roughly half what is per Tbl from SB)
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