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Mason Jar Latte: The Journey for Pumpkin Spice

"ERHMAGHERD!!!  PUMPKIN!!!  AHHHHHHHHH!!!" -- People everywhere on September 1st, every year.  Don't get me wrong, I love me some pumpkiny goodness.  But the pumpkin-mania has gotten a little out of control, don't you think?  I just did a quick Google search for "pumpkin spice" and found this as the second link.  Pumpkin spice Cheerios?  Bailey's?  Triscuits?  Wine?!

[Pulls out a bullhorn] Calm down, everyone.  This is not a drill.  Please sit your crazy tails down and breathe.
[Puts bullhorn away] Okay, are we less crazy now?  Probably not, but we can try, right?  Well, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em, am I right?  Today in our continuing series, Mason Jar Lattes, I give you...[drum roll]...a better pumpkin spice latte.  A pumpkin spice latte the way your grandma would have made it.  Not your mama's pumpkin spice latte.  Wait, by that logic, your mama betrayed your grandma to forge the great pumpkin spice empire, if your grandma has three pumpkins and your mama has eight spices.  That's a math problem.  Right, lets just get to the recipe.

The Latte Formerly Known as But is Now Known Again as Pumpkin Spice
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
Two cinnamon sticks
1 inch piece of ginger, cut in half
1/8 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp-sized chunk whole nutmeg, cut into a few pieces
4 whole cloves
2 cardamon pods, crushed
1 cup milk, frothed according to directions here
1/2 cup hot French pressed coffee or 1 shot of espresso

Throw all the ingredients into a small saucepan and heat on medium until the mixture is bubbling.  Stir so that the sugar dissolves and turn the heat off.  Let sit and steep for 30 minutes.  Combine hot coffee with frothed milk and syrup to your taste (I use a tablespoon).  Enjoy!

The purpose for creating this recipe was to have a delicious PSL that didn't have that sticky, cloying flavor that a certain mermaid-endorsed chain has, nor did I want to use actual pumpkin because 1) it starts to taste like cooked gourd and 2) it's meant to just be pumpkin spice-y, not pumpkiny and 3) no one likes coffee with bits in.  Using the ground spices also results in this last problem.  Therefore, I decided when creating this recipe to use whole spices so that the syrup itself gets flavored.  I looked to my pumpkin spice container for guidance on what to include, and don't you know that ingredients list did half the work for me.  Then it was just a matter of figuring out how much of everything to put in.

The lineup (in no particular order).  Pro-tip: most of these whole spices are also great to keep on hand for making your own chai tea latte.  This is the recipe I use for that.  Another pro-tip: you can keep a big hunk of ginger root in your freezer forever, cutting off bits as you need them.

Next comes portioning out your ingredients.  For those of you that don't know, ingredients on a label are listed from greatest quantity to smallest.  Therefore, since cinnamon is listed first, I have more cinnamon here than anything else.  Yes, the lemon juice looks a bit wonky being there in the middle since I only used 1/8 teaspoon of it, but it packs a punch since it's pure juice.  I know my ingredients list is a little...vague, but there's a very good reason for that: I guessed.  I use something similar to what my great grandmother called the "looks right" method, though mine is the "feels right" method.  I went with my gut and, spoiler alert, it worked out well. 

It really does look like tea doesn't it?  FYI, I've left my big pieces in the syrup because I wanted them to steep for a little while longer.  I've since removed them from the jar.

And voila!  Pumpkin spice latte with no bits.  All the pumpkin spice, none of the downsides.

I will have you all know you have Heather to thank for this recipe.  She texted me about doing a PSL post, and I told her about all the issues I'd had with different methods.  She told encouraged me to figure out a solution, so I did.  And I'm pretty proud of my creation.  I hope you all enjoy it as much as I do.  In fact, it's nearly 10:30 at night, and I might have another right now.  Cheers!

Bonus material!  Did you know I've released a new book?  Did you know it makes a great gift?  Yup!  Christmas is coming, y'all, and the Kindle version makes a great stocking stuffer because it only costs a couple of bucks.  You can gift it to someone and then just print off a picture of the cover to put in their stocking.  Plus, it's a really enjoyable read.  You can buy it here from Amazon for less than a Pumpkin Spice Latte at your local coffee shop, and the description is below.

The New Age--The darkness of the Old World is gone. No more deadly creatures or magic to keep the people subjugated in fear. The world today is rife with opportunities for progress. The technologies of the Old World can be rediscovered and built upon, cities are maintained, people have the freedom to forge their own paths, and order is kept by the Enforcers. The light of the Dawn Age has burst forth in a brilliant blaze, illuminating the possibilities of the future. Happy New Year!
D1 of the Air
Y1 of the New Age
Springhaven Newssheet

Homeless, orphaned, living in secret as a thief--Lenore Crowley just wants to survive, but the city of Springhaven has no sympathy for cases such as hers. She chose her path, and the consequences are hers alone. Being caught would mean certain death; her odds of survival are beginning to look bleak. When she meets the Allens, she's offered a new life. In a world where debts and oaths carry very real weight, however, this second chance comes at a price. Lives entangle, and Lenore soon find that her secrets aren't so secret. Someone is looking for her, someone who knows who she really is. One wrong move and everything around her might fall.

Fans of Gail Carriger, Garth Nix, and Marie Brennan will delight as this new world unfolds for them.  A multi-layered realm of history, subterfuge, colorful characters, potential, and lost magic and technology promises to entrance readers of all ages.

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