I used to hate pumpkin-flavored anything. How could I enjoy eating something people purposely stab, gut and leave on the porch to rot? What about that screams "Yay, let's eat it!"? For me, pumpkin pie always seemed the weak choice when sandwiched between Grandma Ruth's strawberry pie and a latticed apple pie.
Sorry pumpkin, you're benched.
Then one year (probably thanks to Starbucks) I came around. Pumpkin lattes—and even more so—pumpkin ales became something to look forward to every autumn. What I didn't like hearing was that there are actually a lot of additives in most pumpkin syrups. Such trickery! While I'm not ambitious enough to start brewing my own beer to understand all of the ingredients in it, I do want to make sure my daily coffee drink isn't loaded with things I can't pronounce. So, with the help of Google, I took to the kitchen to create my own.
Oh, and so you know, I felt like "Kicking it up a notch!" and added cayenne. I think you're going to like it, but if you tremble at the mention of "spicy", it can be left out.
- 20 pitted dates for a version with no refined sugar or 1 cup simple syrup if you really DGAF
- 4 cinnamon sticks or approx. 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1-2 teaspoons of cayenne
- 1 cup of canned pumpkin
- 3.5 cups of water
- 2 star anise pods
- 4 vanilla beans
- Measuring cups
- Big ol' spoon
- Big ol' bowl
- 2 16oz. mason jars with lids
- Food processor or blender
This will make approx. 32oz. of syrup. I gifted some syrup to friends, so divide this in half if you're only making it for yourself.
Let the dates soak in a bowl of warm water for about 20 minutes. In the meantime, measure out all of the other ingredients and put them into a saucepan. When the dates are done soaking, drain almost all of the water out and pour into a food processor or blender. Puree until smooth and add to the saucepan mixture. Cook on medium-high heat until it begins to boil, then remove from heat and set aside.
This is the part where I recommend getting a buddy to help. The longer the mixture sits, the more syrupy it'll become, so pull it off of the burner and let it sit for only a few minutes. One person should put the cheesecloth in a funnel over a warmed jar while one of you carefully pours. Don't skip the straining unless you like your syrup to have date chunks in it.
One it's in the jar and cools to room temperature, refrigerate. My favorite way to drink it is by adding a tablespoon or so to a cold press, almond milk and chai mixture, but it's also great in hot coffee, homemade lattes or as a hidden ingredient in cookies.
There you have it, real syrupy goodness. What else would you use it for?