Pumpkin Spice Hot White Chocolate

Pumpkin Spice Hot White Chocolate

There must be a hundred posts on the web on the topic of Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice Latte. Amazing! Would you believe I have NEVER had a Pumpkin Spice Latte? I’m not quite sure how that happened. However, in perusing all of the copycat recipes, it appears that there is little if any actual pumpkin in this wildly popular autumnal concoction; just a teaspoon or so of Pumpkin Spice Syrup. Hmmm…

By the time I had read a dozen or so recipes for this drink, it was starting to sound less than wonderful. I won’t know for sure until I get on over to Starbucks and actually order one, but in the meanwhile I started thinking about how wonderful pumpkin and white chocolate are together. This rich, indulgent drink is the result.

Chopped Lindt White Chocolate

The difficulty in working with white chocolate, however, is that it is essentially all sweetness with no acidic counterbalance. Thus, it can be exceedingly rich with nothing to relieve that richness. Partnerships with bitter or acidic elements, such as alcohol or espresso, can make all the difference. So, although I present you with the foundation recipe to begin with (and it is delicious), I prefer the variations. I will be sipping one of them on Halloween night, nestled by the fire, awaiting the onslaught of trick-or-treaters.

Pumpkin Spice Hot White Chocolate

This Hot White Chocolate is in the style of European drinking chocolate, which is made with whole milk (and sometimes part cream) and melted high-quality bar chocolate. The amount of white chocolate is variable. Use the lesser amount if you do not plan to add rum or espresso to your drink. Otherwise, you may find the drink a tad too sweet.

This drink is a perfect after dinner or late night finale.

3 cups whole milk
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
2 cinnamon sticks, broken
12 whole cloves, crushed slightly
12 whole allspice berries, crushed slightly
2 tablespoons chopped candied ginger
2 tablespoons chopped orange peel (all pith removed)
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

4-6 ounces, high quality white chocolate, roughly chopped (Lindt or Guittard recommended)
pinch sea salt (don’t even think about leaving this out)

1 cup heavy cream, whipped and lightly sweetened
shaved white chocolate, from a bar of white chocolate
ground cinnamon in a shaker

  1. In a saucepan, over medium-low heat, bring the milk to a bare simmer.
  2. Lower the heat to keep the milk below the boiling point and add the pumpkin, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, candied ginger and vanilla bean.
  3. Remove from the heat and let mellow as long as you can wait (refrigerate if you need to hold longer than an hour).
  4. When ready to serve, pour the milk mixture through a triple mesh strainer into a clean saucepan. Heat to just below a simmer and remove from the heat.
  5. Add the white chocolate and stir until the chocolate is melted.
  6. Remove from the heat, and add sea salt.
  7. To serve immediately, pour into five, eight-ounce capacity, Irish coffee or other stemmed glasses.
  8. To store, let cool, decant, cover, and refrigerate. Reheat to serve.
  9. Just before serving, top each glass of hot chocolate with a generous mound of whipped cream, a few shavings of white chocolate, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Serve immediately.

Makes five, 6-ounce servings.

Jumpin’ Pumpkin Spice Hot White Chocolate

To each serving, add 1 shot espresso, stir, and top with whipped cream.

Spirited Pumpkin Spice Hot White Chocolate

To each serving, add 1 ounce Meyer’s dark rum, stir, and top with whipped cream.



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About Susan S. Bradley

Intrepid cook, food writer, culinary instructor, author of Pacific Northwest Palate: Four Seasons of Great Cooking, and founder of the Northwest Culinary Academy.


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  4. Just tried it and it absolutely delicious. Thank you!!

  5. NYCSingleMom says:

    Sounds just delish but too much work for this lazy bum but I will dream about it.


  6. Pumpkin and chocolate? Why not – sounds delicious!

    • LondonPhotographer, I was about to point out that it is pumpkin and white chocolate but then I remembered a dark chocolate cake with mashed pumpkin that I used to make. It’s delicious!

  7. it does sound pretty good to me im not a giant star bucks fan, so i think i might just try it at home.
    Thanks :)

  8. OMG! I’m dieing to try this, but I don’t have any allspice berries or candied ginger. Hmmm! I wonder if I dare try it. Probably not,….but….

  9. White hot chocolate with pumpkin and spice sounds so amazingly good!

  10. What a delightful drink!! Very apart too!!

    I think Lindt chocolate is a good brand. I like this Swiss chocolate a lot!
    .-= Sophie´s last blog ..Sophie’s maple scones with pecans & cranberries, served with Maple’s Butter =-.

  11. This is a brilliant idea for fall/winter. Thanks for sharing — I’m always wondering how to recreate those fancy drinks at home.

  12. This sounds phenomenal!
    .-= TheWoman´s last blog ..Ham, Cheese & Sweetcorn Muffins =-.

  13. Oh wow! I am going to have to make this right away. Sounds amazing!

    I have seen all those Starbucks copycat recipes too. I wonder if the Pumpkin Frappaccino actually has any pumpkin in it or if it’s just the syrup like the latte.

    • Katie, i’m sure it uses the syrup as well. I finally got around to tasting that syrup yesterday on my way to PDX. The barista looked at me like I was crazy when I asked to sample a small spoonful. :-) It has a pronounced caramel flavor with a nice hit of spices. The barista said that it does contain some pumpkin. However, the pumpkin flavor was very mild. Rather nice though all in all.

  14. where does the canned pumpkin get added? that is the most important part for me!

  15. ooooh…I think I’d like to add the rum for sure!! I’ve never had the starbucks version either…but I hear its really good.
    .-= danielle´s last blog ..Grandma Mary’s Banana Pudding =-.

  16. I don’t see where the Pumpkin Puree gets added? Since it is near the top of the list of ingredients, I assume it goes in to the milk with the spices. Is that right?

  17. I don’t know what else to say other than, YUM! :)
    .-= Rochelle (Acquired Taste)´s last blog ..Stuffed "with goodness" Mushrooms =-.

  18. The mere description of this recipe almost made me swoon with delight… Now, the implementation after salivating intensely…


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