One of the best things about fall is that the university where I work/attend school takes a “Fall Break” in October. I get a four day weekend to relax, sleep, watch Doctor Who…and do some cooking 😀 We had a gorgeous rainstorm in my neck of the woods today, and it made the air smell so much like autumn that it instantly made me think of two things: pumpkin and apple. The urge to do something with these flavors was so insatiable that I went hunting for some recipes, and then walked to the grocery store (in the rain!) to get the ingredients. And hallelujah, was everything delicious. I decided to make a coffee drink of some kind to warm me up after that cold, breezy walk…and of course, I needed a warm dessert to go with it 😀 The result was a homemade pumpkin spiced latte and some mini “apple crisp” treats. All vegan, of course! Talk about an awesome afternoon.
My coworkers (and most of the internet) joke that you know Fall has arrived when Starbucks starts listing its Pumpkin Spice Latte on the menu. Well, as tasty as that drink is, it’s not exactly healthy for you. Starbucks uses several different highly processed syrups and sugars, not to mention all the dairy…and, horror of horrors, they don’t actually put any pumpkin in the drink 😮 So I figured I should make one at home that would be just as tasty and filling, but better for you and completely vegan 😀 When I found this recipe on one of the vegan sites I visit regularly, I knew I’d struck gold.
Her recipe calls for any non-dairy milk, so I used unsweetened almond milk, which is my go-to staple for milk now. I also added half a teaspoon of ginger and one tablespoon of pure maple syrup , and I may or may not have added some extra cinnamon. I really like my drinks to be strong and spiced up 😀 I heated the pumpkin milk mixture before adding the coffee to it, because coffee drinks should be really hot, in my opinion.
The coffee part was incredible. The Boyfriend got me a bag of locally roasted coffee beans at the Farmer’s Market a couple weeks ago (he’s definitely a keeper :D), and I finally purchased a coffee grinder today. I ground the beans right before making the coffee, and the result was so full and rich that I just wanted to savor it for a long, long time. It added some really deep, fresh undertones to the latte. Nothing beats freshly ground coffee.
As for the latte itself, I loved it. I will never purchase one at Starbucks now, because I will only be able to think of how delicious the one I made at home was. If you like pumpkin spice drinks, please give it a shot!
One of my favorite apple desserts is my mom’s apple crisp: sweet with a bit of tang from the apples, and the perfect sweet granola-esque crust. However, I don’t really have enough time in my day to make a full crisp, plus, it has a lot of sugar in it…far too much for one person 😀 So, after searching for an easier to make version (and finding nothing), I decided to make my own! Here’s the recipe (portioned for one person…you can double/triple/whatever as necessary):
- 1 Fiji apple, cored and cubed (I prefer to leave the skin on, but you can peel it if you want)
- 1 TBSP cornstarch
- 2 TSP lemon juice
- 1/4 cup + 1 TSP brown sugar
- 1 TSP vanilla
- 1/4 cup quick cook oats (can use more if desired)
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- Optional: 1/2 tsp ginger to taste
Set over for 375 F. Core and cube the apple (I use Fiji because they’re crisp and good for baking, without being as tart as a Granny Smith); set aside. Mix the cornstarch, lemon juice, 1/4 cup of brown sugar, and the vanilla together in a bowl. Add the spices and oatmeal, and blend thoroughly. Add the apple cubes into the bowl, and stir to coat each piece completely. Line a baking sheet with tinfoil (you may also want to lightly spray the foil with vegan cooking spray), and spread the apple mixture over the tray. Make sure that the pieces aren’t too close together. Bake for 5 minutes, then remove from over, turn all the pieces over, sprinkle the remaining teaspoon of brown sugar over the pieces, and put back in the oven for 7 minutes. Remove from oven and serve immediately!
My word, these little bites tasted just like mini apple crisps! The apples were crisp on the outside and soft and apple-pie like in the middle. They were just sweet enough to satisfy my sugar cravings without being overpowering. Next time, I think I may add more oats to the topping, but I do love these treats as is. Mmm. Next up: Vegan Pumpkin French Toast for dinner with The Boyfriend tonight 😀 I’ll let you know how it goes!