Monday, October 03, 2005

Pumpkin Spice Mocha

I love pumpkin. And by pumpkin I actually mean most types of winter squash. Butternut squash/pumpkin and sugar pumpkins happen to be my favorites. The butternuts are very versatile and have an beautiful, sweet flavor. The sugar pumpkins make excellent soups and pies.
Many markets seem to carry jars of prepackaged spice blends simply labled: Pumpkin Pie Spice. I like my spices to be a bit fresher, so I usually blend my own. These are simply the traditional spices that are found in pumpkin pie. They are so prevalent in these pies, that the combination, even in the absence of pumpkin, often conjures thoughts of the squash. They are warm spices that simply compliment each other well.
You may have noticed that some coffee shops have added a drink to their winter menu featuring a drink with just these spices. Now, I'm not going to say that this is better than your friendly, neighborhood coffee conglomerate, but it is quick, easy and wallet friendly. And I know that I am not leaving the house before I've had my coffee.

Pumpkin Spice Mocha
Makes one 6-8 oz cup. Adjust the spice to your tastes.
2/3 cup coffee
1/3 cup milk
1 1/2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 - 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice*

*Pumpkin Pie Spice
1/4 cup ground cinnamon
2 tbsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp ground nutmeg

Combine all ingredients in a small jar and shake to combine thoroughly. Store covered.