Monday, December 12, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate

Cheap Eat Challenge, Part 2: Watch as our family of 6 eats on less than $10/day.

It's time again for the Secret Recipe Club. This month I was assigned Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks. I also love books and cooking so Hezzi-D (Heather) and I were a good match. We also, it appear, enjoy pumpkin. Which is just where I was drawn. Festive, but not necessarily loaded with sugar. I really really wanted to make the Pumpkin ravioli, which is wrapped in wonton wrappers--a move of brilliance so supreme that I cannot thank her enough for the idea. But the Asian store has not yet made my rounds so that one would have to wait.

Her Skinny Pumpkin Spice Latte caught my eye both because she used a bit of actual pumpkin instead of just the pumpkin pie spice, and also because I don't get the whole Starbucks craze and thought this might bring me closer to understanding. The only problem is that I'm not a coffee drinker (thus my issues with the Starbucks craze), so I decided to make it with chocolate instead. Which took a little experimenting (it was torture I assure you). In my first attempt, I just skipped the coffee and added a packet of hot chocolate mix into the milk. This was good. Oh, yes, it was. It was dessert in a cup--thick, creamy, and very rich and intense--the perfect thing for people who soundly declare, "Don't drink your calories, smink your calories." And then have another cup. I'm not opposed to liquid desserts, but wanted something more like Hezzi-D's original concept.

My next idea was to go lazy style and just add water to my dessert in a cup mixture. This worked and I had a less intense, still delicious spiced hot chocolate. Yet, I still felt that it was missing that slightly bitter undertone that something like coffee would give a drink like this to keep it from being so cloying.

Hmm, I thought, what has to do with chocolate and is bitter? Since I only have about 3 brain cells, it took a couple minutes to dawn on me. Uh, yeah, maybe, like cocoa. Out went the packet of hot chocolate mix, in went caramel, cocoa, milk, and, well, still the whipped cream of course. Cloying, after all, she has her place. I was very pleased with the result. A solid, not too sweet hot chocolate with tones of caramel, pumpkin pie spice, and even pumpkin. Thanks Hezzi-D. Starbucks and I can now be at peace.

Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate
adapted from Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks 
Makes 1 C
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cost: $.40 (now, that can sure compete with Starbucks)
(caramel sauce: .15, milk: .10, whipped cream: .05, cocoa: .10)

3 tsp caramel sauce (make your own or use some from a jar)
3 tsp cocoa
pinch pumpkin pie spice
3/4 C milk (I used 2%)
1 tsp pumpkin
whipped cream (try homemade for sheer awesomeness)
another pinch pumpkin pie spice for garnish

Mix/whisk caramel sauce, cocoa, and pumpkin pie spice in a small saucepan. This helps make the cocoa so it's not grainy in your end product. When it's smooth, add just a bit of milk. Whisk until the substance is warm enough that the chocolate and caramel mixture is one with the milk. Then add the remaining milk.

Heat until steaming (not boiling). Remove from heat and whisk in your pumpkin.

Garnish with whipped cream and pumpkin pie spice. Drink.

Note: For those interested in dessert in a cup, here's the original, very rich and caloric first experiment:

3/4 C milk (2%)
3 tsp caramel sauce
pinch pumpkin pie spice
1 packet of your favorite hot chocolate mix
1 tsp canned pumpkin
whipped cream
pumpkin pie spice

Heat caramel sauce, milk, and pumpkin pie spice until milk is steaming. Remove from heat and whisk in pumpkin and packet of hot chocolate mix.

Garnish with whipped cream and pumpkin pie spice. Drink it slowly my friends.

Too rich for you? Add 1/2 C hot water to the mix. Don't worry, it doesn't water it down, just tones it down a bit.


Linked up to Sweets for a Saturday.


  1. How perfect for this time of year! It sounds and looks delicious!

  2. Hi Jeanie,
    I just love Hot Chocolate and the addition of the Pumpkin Spice makes it very special. It is fun cooking with you at the SRC, have a great day!
    Miz Helen

  3. I am not a coffee drinker, either, so your variation is perfect. What a combo!!

  4. Wow pumpkin spiced hot chocolate sounds like the best and more warming way to enjoy my favourite flavours this winter

  5. I love that you changed it up into a pumpkin spice hot cocoa! I love the original recipe but the addition of chocolate sounds amazing-I'm trying it this week!

  6. Its cold and rainy right now. Can you make me a cup and send it over?

  7. I'm not a coffee drinker either--this sounds like an excellent alternative.

  8. I recently had pumpkin spice cupcakes, this would be great with them! Glad to be a part of SRC with you! Check out my Shrimp & Artichoke Tapenade Crostini recipe from this month's reveal. Happy eating!

  9. This is so perfect for this time of the year ... great choice!!!

  10. This looks great! We don't have Starbucks (and I don't like coffee) so I've just been reading about these pumpkin spiced lattes for AGES. How exciting that I can try a non-coffee version!

  11. Glad to know there are other non-coffee drinkers out there. Sometimes it seems a lonely road:). Today it's cold and rainy (isn't that the worst), so things like this sure seem nice.

  12. I don't understand the obsession with Starbucks either. Glad to see I'm not the only one who prefers hot chocolate or tea or coffee anytime! :)

  13. I love the cost breakdown! Seriously Starbucks, you have some serious competition!



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