Fall is coming–the days are shorter, the nights are longer, school is back in session, and soon, pumpkin mania will sweep America as it does every year. But why is America so obsessed with pumpkin spice?
While you may think it’s a recent trend, in today’s article, we’ll examine why this national dish of autumn is so popular and how it's been popular for far longer than many may think; we’ll also look at how we can use pumpkin spice in ways many people never think to even try. Lastly, we’ll offer up a way to enjoy sugar-free pumpkin spice syrup without the guilt of all those extra calories.
When Did America's Love of Pumpkin Spice Start?
Most people think the craze started in 2003, when Starbucks first introduced its pumpkin spice drinks. However, the truth is that America’s pumpkin obsession started as soon as the first European colonists stepped off the boats in the new world.
You see, before arriving in the new world, Europeans had never seen a pumpkin before. But, for Native Americans, pumpkin and various forms of squash were a staple of their diets. Soon after the colonists' arrival, settlers began planting and growing pumpkin seeds, but the natives themselves weren’t exactly sipping pumpkin spice lattes–it was the Asian spices that the Europeans brought with them that became the secret to pumpkin’s success as a dessert treat.
In the late 1670's, something that resembles pumpkin pie shows up in records, and we also begin to see cinnamon being mentioned. Later on, in 1796, a recipe book entitled American Cookery was released, which included a recipe for pumpkin pudding that was cooked with a crust-like bowl. This is considered to be the first variation of pumpkin pie.
In the 1920's, the canned food company Libby’s released a canned pumpkin puree specifically made for making pies. In 1934, world-renowned spice company, McCormicks, released what we know today as “pumpkin spice,” a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, and ginger.
How to Pumpkin Spice Everything
Everyone knows you can just throw a couple of pumps of pumpkin spice syrup in your morning coffee for added tastiness, but here are a few ways to add pumpkin spice to a variety of food and drinks:
Pumpkin Spice White Russians
Everyone's favorite mix of Kahlua, cream, and vodka gets superpowered when you toss in some pumpkin spice sauce to give it the flavors of fall.
Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal
Cinnamon and brown sugar is a popular flavor, but have you ever tried mixing in some pumpkin spice sauce into your morning bowl of oatmeal? We promise it will be one of the best oatmeals you’ve ever had.
Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate
Anyone who thinks stand-alone hot chocolate can’t be improved has clearly never tried throwing a little spice in the mix. Like its pumpkin spice latte brethren, tossing in a couple of teaspoons of pumpkin syrup will take your hot chocolate to a whole other level.
Chocolate Chip Cookies With Pumpkin Spice
Yes–America’s favorite cookie gets even better when the flavors of pumpkin spice come bursting out, intermixed with the delicious semi-sweet chocolate chips. These cookies will put a smile on the faces of your guests at your next fall holiday get together.
While there are a thousand recipes online for these variations, you can take whatever your standard recipe is and add one or two tablespoons of pumpkin spice sauce to take it to the next level. We recommend starting small and tasting your cooking batter before making any baked goods with pumpkin syrup. The spices in pumpkin syrup can be a bit overwhelming if you use too much, and with drinks, you should start small and add a little more until you reach the level you want.
Guilt-Free Pumpkin Spice Syrup
If you love pumpkin spice but don’t love what holiday treats do to your waistline, you should consider switching up the high-sugar pumpkin spice syrup for Skinny Mixes’ Pumpkin Spice Syrup. It has zero calories and zero fat, so it's perfect for that guilt-free addition to your morning latte to start your crisp fall morning the right way!