Pumpkin spice. Yum. If the first step to addiction recovery is admitting that you have a problem, you won't hear any confessions here. I have no intention of giving up any pumpkin goodies this fall. Instead, I'm rounding up my favorites and sharing them with you so that you get the uncontrollable urge to drive to the nearest Starbucks and sate your newly-induced cravings.
Pumpkin Spice Lattes
I fell in love with this concoction when I was a barista at Starbucks a few autumns ago. Ever since, I cannot resist the fall staple. It doesn't help that I drive past a Starbucks, Panera, and local coffee shop on my way home from work at 4 PM when I could really use a kick of espresso and the warm comfort of pumpkin spices. Rumor has it that McD's offers these addictive lattes now, too. I'm reluctant to find out, as there's a McDonald's (and thus, temptation) around every corner these days.
Pumpkin Flavored Beers
I'm not a big fan of pumpkin ales and lagers. Usually, they have a nice smell and aftertaste, but not enough of an actual pumpkin or beer taste. This year, however, different pumpkin beers have risen to the occasion of deliciousness. My favorite is Great Pumpkin Imperial Stout, a dark beer brewed by nearby Millstream Brewing Co. It's rich, high in alcohol content, and tastes like pumpkin brownies. As decadent as it is, I can only sip on it and barely finish an entire bottle. I recently tried Wasatch's Pumpkin Ale at The Cellar Peanut Pub in my hometown and was really pleased with it for being an ale. For my reviews of other pumpkin beers (including one with a splash of cranberry), check out my pumpkin beer round-up post on Yeast, Love, & Hoppiness.
Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino
The java chip frappuccino was my first Starbucks love. I love cold coffee treats, so imagine my surprise and delight when I see a friend's instagram of a pumpkin spice frappuccino. It's a chilly and tasty treat on those autumn days where Iowa forgets it's no longer summer and gives us a full 80 degrees.
Pumpkin Spice Tea
Trying to cut back on my latte and frappuccino intake, I found Harney & Sons HT pumpkin spice tea, a caffeine free herbal red tea rich with pumpkin and spices. I take mine with a packet of Sugar in the Raw and a splash of Silk vanilla soy milk. It's become my nightly indulgence that I don't feel guilty about at all. Now I just need to find a pumpkin spice infused black tea to get me through my work day.
Harvest Pumpkin Candle
While I've been busy imbibing all of this pumpkin, I can't leave out the olfactory pleasures. Earlier this week I roamed the candle aisle of Target, sniffing every pumpkin candle I laid eyes on. From white chocolate pumpkin to pumpkin spice, my nose was in ecstasy. The winner was a Target brand "harvest pumpkin" candle. It's probably the best pumpkin candle I've ever smelled - even better than Yankee brand candles.
Pumpkin Pie Spiked Shake
Last but certainly not least is the pumpkin pie shake. With chunks of real pumpkin pie, pie crust crumbs, topped with whipped cream, and spiked with pumpkin liqueur... I've been able to stop thinking about this piece of pumpkiny heaven since I had it at Des Moines' Zombie Burger joint a few weeks ago.