I love myself some pumpkin spice. And if I didn't have good self control, I'd stop at every coffee shop on my way home from work (Starbucks, Panera, Coffeesmiths, the list goes on...) for a pumpkin spice latte every single day. Instead of doing that, I concocted a delicious pumpkin spice coffee treat to make at home. It's easier on my waistline (so I tell myself) and my wallet.
Coffee - I'm on a local craft coffee kick, so I made a pot of Verena Street (out of Dubuque, IA) Mississippi Grogg.
Milk - Skim, 2%, whole, soy, almond. Doesn't matter. I actually used Silk vanilla-flavored soy milk.
Pumpkin spice creamer (not the powder) - International Delight and CoffeeMate both have seasonal pumpkin spice creamers (even a sugar-free version). I happened to grab the International Delight.
Cinnamon - It's totally optional, but who doesn't love a dash of cinnamon on top for pretty?
Brew the coffee to your desired strength. (I like mind bold and dark.) Meanwhile, heat some milk on the stovetop. When the coffee's done, pour your coffee mug 1/2 to 3/4 full of coffee. Fill the rest (1/2 or 1/4) up with your warm milk. The more milk you use, the more mild and latte-like your drink will be. I like a little bit more of a coffee taste, so I do 3/4 coffee. After gently stirring the milk and coffee together, add the pumpkin spice creamer. Do this slowly. Flavored creamers, I find, can be very overpowering. Pour a little, stir, then sniff or taste test your drink. When it smells or tastes indulgently delicious to you, sprinkle the top with cinnamon and enjoy your tasty treat!
Technically, I believe a cafe au lait is half coffee and half steamed milk. But alas! I don't have a milk steamer device of my own, so heating it on the stovetop has to (and does) suffice. ;) Cafe au laits are different from lattes in that they are made with coffee and milk instead of espresso and milk. They're simply one of my most favorite coffee drinks ever... especially with vanilla soy or almond milk.
Now go make your self a pumpkin spice cafe au lait, curl up in a comfy chair, and stick your nose in a good book on this beautiful autumn night!