As I entered high school, my parents each threatened (separately) to kick me out of the house for one thing. Dad picked riding a motorcycle, a fairly logical rule. No questions asked—I’d prefer having a seatbelt and airbag over picking pebbles and asphalt out of my skin if I ever got in an accident! However, Mom chose drinking coffee.
Yes, drinking coffee.
You see, my dad brews a couple of cups every morning and completely depends on those drinks to avoid painful caffeine headaches. We learned that the hard way the summer I turned 12 in France… Upon arriving at our quaint hotel up near Normandy, Dad discovered that each room lacked a coffee maker and the kitchen catering the overpriced breakfast diluted theirs so much that it almost tasted like tap water.
Because of his blinding headache, we ventured out in the pouring rain and careened about the town, peering through the foggy car windows desperately trying to find a restaurant—any restaurant—that was open and served coffee.
We finally stopped at a McDonalds.
So with that in mind, Mom’s request made sense too.
Then along came last month’s East Coast baseball trip. Where I tossed and turned the night before we left, only sleeping for 4 hours and stumbling through airport security with my eyes propped open by toothpicks. Where we cheered on the Phillies at their epic 18-inning night game, followed by waking up at 6:30 am the next day to drive to Camden Yards in Baltimore. Where it drizzled on me as I ran around the Capitol Mall on our last morning in DC, right after it showered all afternoon as I soaked in the 50th anniversary celebrations of MLK Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
And each time, a warm comforting cup of coffee just sounded good.
I ordered a “fru-fru” drink, in Dad’s terms: a tall skinny caramel latte. (Well, actually a grande before Baltimore.) I despised coffee-flavored lollipops and jelly beans as a kid—too bitter for me!—so I chose an option with milk and sweetness to mask that taste.
Of course I was hooked (on the flavor). Of course I swore Dad to secrecy.
As soon as I unpacked my suitcase, I hopped on my computer and started researching coffee makers, grinders, and beans. After long email exchanges with Daddy, I finally settled on a model and stocked up on some sugar-free Torani caramel syrup to make my own “faux” lattes.
At the grocery store, I started at every single coffee option before buying a bag of decaf. Sad but true: I hoped Mom wouldn’t actually disown me if I stuck to the caffeine-free stuff! Despite being really close to my mom, I still spent two weeks building up the courage to tell her, and after a long, drawn-out pause on the phone, she said she still loved me.
So to celebrate, I made my own copycat of Starbucks’ Skinny Pumpkin Spice Latte! It’s warm and comforting, packed full of fall flavors. And for just a fraction of the price, you’ll love sipping on this homemade Skinny PSL all autumn long too!
A copycat version of the Starbucks favorite. You can now drink it all year round for just a fraction of the cost!
- In a small pot, combine the milk and pumpkin puree (and Splenda, if using). Heat over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the milk begins to simmer. Whisk vigorously until frothy. Turn heat down to low, and add in the vanilla syrup (or vanilla extract), cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Whisk until fully incorporated.
- Pour the espresso or coffee into a mug, and pour the milk mixture on top. Sip and enjoy!
Notes: For a vegan version, use your favorite non-dairy milk. (Try unsweetened almond milk to make it really skinny; it only has 30 calories per cup!)
You can also substitute regular sugar or a different sugar-free sweetener for the Splenda.
Rene Sept. says...
I’ll try it tomorrow morning, I think Saturday mornings are the best days to try new coffees’
I agree Rene! There’s something relaxing and calming about a Saturday morning where coffee just sounds perfect. I hope you enjoy the latte!
Shelley @ Two Healthy Kitchens says...
Hi, Amy! This recipe is Ahhhh-maaazzzzing! I am sitting here with my morning cup of coffee (deep, deep, bitterly dark and wonderful – in a white porcelain mug emblazoned with “Starbucks Coffee” – I’m not kidding! 😀 ). I dearly love coffee – the smell, the flavor, and the way it signifies a happy break in my day. I have evolved over many years from what your dad would surely call “fru fru” mochas … to super dark and totally unsweetened (it was a slow evolution!). But I still also love a really good Starbucks Nonfat Carmel Macchiato once in a while … or, in season, an awesome Pumpkin Latte! I am sending you one really, really gigantic hug for this fabulous recipe!!!!
That is too funny and too ironic, Shelley!! I’ve loved the smell of coffee, especially the freshly roasted beans in coffee shops, for a while now, but I’m still getting used to the flavor. Hopefully one day I’ll be able to make the transition to drinking black like you! What’s your favorite brand or blend? Since I’m new to this, I could use all the advice I can get!
Sending big hugs back your way too!! xo
You know what I love most about this!? It’s EASY TO MAKE VEGAN! The Starbucks PSL isn’t vegan, and cannot be made vegan, which makes me saddddd. ALAS you have saved the day and I will now have THIS when I want a PSL!
Whaaaaaa?? You can’t make the Starbucks PSL vegan?? That is SUCH a shame! They’re missing out on a huge market and making one of their top employees sad — NOT cool! I really hope you enjoy this version Brittany!
You already know how I feel about this recipe… Words cannot express it properly, so I will have to follow in shelley’s footsteps and send you a big, fat HUG! Picking up pumpkin on my way home from work today so I can make this AND those chewy pumpkin cookies you directed me to on sally’s baking addiction!!
Ps- I had a shot of espresso this morning in a little bit of chai tea latte- aka a “dirty chai.” Can I just say- I LOVE coffee and I wish my tummy weren’t so sensitive to it!!!
I hope you enjoy it Andrea!! Save a little of the can of pumpkin; you’ll need it next week! 😉 Mmm that dirty chai sounds good! Maybe I’ll ask my dad to (sneakily) make me one this weekend. I wonder if your coffee tummy sensitivity is similar to dairy products, where some of it seems to be stress-induced. Just a random thought! 🙂
I bought the 30 oz can… 😉 So I actually saw my GI doctor today, and she said that coffee is one of the WORST things for GI health. Not stress related, it’s just bad news for most people’s tummies, especially those like me who have sensitive ones in the first place. It’s alright- as long as I can eat chocolate and my beloved PUMPKIN, I can mostly do without coffee 😉
Wow, that’s really interesting! Unfortunate though. And I’m the same way — if I had to go without chocolate, pumpkin, or gingerbread (my favorite fall flavors!), I’d probably cry for a week!
Kallie Schaefer says...
Super excited to have found this! I drastically changed my eating habits in February of this year. I decided to splurge on a PSL at Starbuck’s as a sweet treat, but it was much too sweet for my change in tastebuds.
Can’t wait to try this version!
Kallie, you and your husband’s story amazing! Changing to clean eating overnight — that’s really hard for most people to do, and it’s really inspiring that you’ve stuck to it. I hope you enjoy this version of a PSL!
I don’t normally comment, but this was amazing! Thank you for sharing this recipe!
You’re welcome, I’m so glad you enjoyed the latte! 🙂
I will be trying this on Saturday! I have high hopes 🙂
I hope you like it Angela! I’m so excited to hear what you think. 🙂
This looks amazing! I’m going to make your new recipe for Pumpkin Bread tonight, and maybe drink this (sans coffee) with it! I used to always get the frothy milk (and add either the cinnamon or chocolate sprinkles on top), skipping the coffee. I think hot, frothy pumpkin milk will be great!!
I love that idea Shawna! As someone who’s sensitive to caffeine, it sounds like a great nighttime treat. 🙂 I hope you enjoy both the pumpkin milk and bread!