Paleo Pumpkin Spice Latte with Chocolate-Dunked Pumpkin Spice Marshmallows <3

After I made this drink and shot the photos of this drink, I couldn't stop staring at them. It was love at first sight. And sight. And sight. And....

Before I was Paleo, especially in college, I was an avid fan of the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte. I even worked at Starbucks for 3 years, and in that time, I learned to love every drink, but especially the Pumpkin Spice Latte. I was working at Starbucks from 2006-2009, which is when the PSL really started picking up steam. Even back then, my coworkers and I all saw the signs that this was going drink was going to have a cult-like following. While working at Starbucks in college, I often would pick up the shifts that no one wanted: the 4am open, the 11pm close. I was in college, had endless energy, needed the money, and never really adjusted back to a "regular" sleep schedule.

During these frequent clopens, I would often just stay up, because it didn't make much sense to me to go home and sleep for maybe 2 hours before I would have to be wide awake and perky; after all, there was literally an endless supply of coffee at work.

Our first indication at Starbucks that the PSL was going to be scarily huge was when on the first day of the PSL season. At 4am, there was a line of cars wanting their first PSL of the season....and we didn't open until 4:30. Meaning that several people woke up sometime before 4am to make sure they were the first ones to get their PSL fix. No big deal, you crazies. No. Big. Deal.

I eventually tired of the iconic Starbucks PSL: the high sugar content and 20-ingredient list eventually started to wreak havoc on my stomach. However, I still do crave the pumpkiny drink from time to time. On another note, have you thought about the fact that pumpkin is a squash? Which means that the PSL is essentially Squash Coffee. Perfection in a glass. Mmmmmhmmmmm.

There are 100 Paleo Pumpkin Spice Latte's out there, but I really wanted to make my own variation on this iconic drink, and I'm pretty sure I did just that. Instead of milk, I used a combination of both almond milk and coconut cream. This combination ensures that this PSL doesn't taste too "coconutty", as coconut milk drinks can often be, and the almond milk also has a thinner consistency which is important for ensuring that this drink is not pudding-like since it does use real pumpkin puree for flavoring.

The real kicker of this drink? Its topped with melted chocolate and Chocolate-Dunked Pumpkin Spiced Marshmallows. Yep. Its pretty great, so make sure to drink up these last days of fall. (Ha! Pun in.ten.ded.)


Paleo Pumpkin Spice Latte with Chocolate-Dunked Pumpkin Spiced Marshmallows

Serves 2

  1. Combine coconut cream, unsweetened almond milk, pumpkin puree, vanilla extract and pumpkin spice in a large saucepan and heat on medium heat until bubbly and all ingredients are well incorporated. Make sure to watch closely and stir to ensure that the mixture does not become scalded.
  2. In a small bowl, melt chocolate. (I use the microwave by watching closely and stopping every 10 seconds, but the correct way to do it is by using a double boiler.)
  3. Once chocolate it melted, dip two mugs, upside down, in the chocolate to rim the edges of the cups with the melted dark chocolate. Dust with pumpkin spice, then set the mugs aside.
  4. Brew coffee, and then pour coffee into a blender.
  5. Once thoroughly heated, carefully pour the saucepan contents into the same blender with the coffee. Blend on high for 2 minutes.
  6. Pour your pumpkin spice lattes into your prepared mugs, and top with pumpkin spiced marshmallows.




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I guess I missed the memo...

Ok, so its October. I know this because despite my 24/7 access to virtual calendars on my iBook, my work computer, my ipad AND my iPhone (Whhhyyyyy?) I woke up on October 1st with a flood of emails to my inbox bombarding me with recipes for pumpkin flavored everything. EVERYTHING. Not only the typical pumpkin bread and pumpkin cupcakes, but pumpkin pasta, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin waffles. Pump. Kin. Everything. I guess I missed the mandatory pumpkin email I was supposed to send to you guys on Octobereve. Whoops, sorry guys. I’ll work on it for next year.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of pumpkin. Pumpkin season seems to epitomize fall, just as mint chocolate and candy canes summarize the Christmas season. However, as I am in my second fall of following a primal diet, pumpkin spiced foods just don’t have the same allure as they once had. Although delicious, I’ve found that lots of the store bought bases for pumpkin spice either have a lot of added sugars, or, in the liquid form, high fructose corn syrup. Thanks, but no thanks, pumpkin season.

For all of my fellow pumpkin-loving fans, I’ve decided to post the basics of any pumpkin recipe: pumpkin spice. In stores this is usually called “pumpkin pie spice”, but you can easily make it on your own for a fraction of the cost and an unbelievably higher quality.

It is my opinion that, just like buying shoes, the quality of spices is paramount to the integrity and overall product of the dish. (You know how those $400 Frye boots makes your $20 jeans look more expensive and tailored? The same concept applies here.) Just like there is a huge difference between the taste of fresh garlic and garlic powder, the difference between high quality spices and low quality spices has a vast difference in your meal, not to mention a lower probability that your dried spices contain things like mold and insect parts. Seriously.

There are a lot of really great spice stores out there, but one of my favorites, from as far back as the late 90s when I was learning how to cook in the kitchen with my dad, is The Spice House in Old Town, Chicago. Not in the Chicago area? No worries, they ship from their website. 

Another one of my favorites is the Spice and Tea Exchange in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Not only are the spices fantastic smelling, but their teas are excellent, and after you buy something from them, you can head straight to a walk on the beach. It’s a win-win.

Of course, high quality everything is the best for making this pumpkin spice blend, but if you had to choose, its best to go with high quality cinnamon and allspice. Cinnamon because it is the bulk of this blend, and allspice because it has a lot of dynamic flavors; I think these flavors of this ground berry that are lost within the cheaper varieties of the spice. (Bet you didn’t know that allspice was a berry, huh?) Anyway, once you have all your fabulous spices, this pumpkin spice blend is easy to put together. It will take under 5 minutes, will last a good while, and takes any plain pumpkin dish to a pumpkin spiced dish. You. Are. Welcome.


Primal-Friendly Pumpkin Spice Blend

  •  2 tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¾ tsp. ground ginger
  • ¾ tsp. ground cloves
  • ¾ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • ¾ tsp. ground allspice
  1. Combine all spices into a glass container or old, clean spice jar and shake. Spices should be well mixed.
  2. Store in in a cool, dry, place.