CASA GRANDE -- The fall season is upon us. In Arizona, that simply means the average daily temperature has dropped a few degrees on the thermometer, but nonetheless, it’s the perfect time to rediscover pumpkin spice everything.

Fall is a time to enjoy pumpkin spice lattes, coffee drinks and pastries.

In our family, pumpkin bread is a fall favorite. It’s easy to make and goes perfectly with a homemade pumpkin spice latte, caramel latte or vanilla frappuccino. And best of all, there’s no need to visit a drive-thru to enjoy a pumpkin spice latte.

The recipe I use for pumpkin bread uses canned pureed pumpkin — the same kind you’d buy to make a pumpkin pie. But the recipe does not use the entire can, so there’s always enough left over to make a few pumpkin spice lattes to sip with the pumpkin bread.

Homemade Pumpkin bread

2 cups all purpose flour

½ teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice

1 tablespoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1½ cups sugar

4 eggs

1¼ cups vegetable oil

2 cups canned pumpkin pie filling

Sift together dry ingredients — flour, salt, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, ginger, baking powder and baking soda.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar, eggs, oil and pumpkin puree.

Fold in the dry ingredients until the flour is all incorporated in the batter.

Pour batter into one large or two small bread loaf pans or a cake pan.

Bake for about 45 to 50 minutes at 350 degrees or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Copycat vanilla bean frappuccino

By using a vanilla syrup, this recipe has an extra vanilla kick to it. Syrup can be store bought, but it’s also super easy to make at home.

3 scoops vanilla ice cream

1 cup milk

1 cup ice

2 tablespoons vanilla syrup

Whipped cream for topping, optional

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Top with whipped cream.

Homemade Vanilla syrup

This syrup is easy to make and it’s versatile. Homemade vanilla syrup can be used in vanilla shakes as well as stirred into coffee, lemonade, iced tea or used as an ice cream or dessert topping.

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

3 tablespoons pure vanilla extract

1 vanilla bean

In a sauce pan on medium heat, combine the sugar and water; stir. Split the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds and add to the mixture. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla extract.

Whipped pumpkin spice latte

¾ cup cream or foamed milk

2 tablespoons pumpkin puree

1 tablespoon pumpkin spice syrup spice

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons hot water

2 tablespoon instant coffee

2 tablespoons sugar

Whipped cream, if desired.

Using a stand mixer, handheld mixer or whisk, whisk together instant coffee, sugar, spice and water until it is a thick, light and foamy consistency, much like a soft peak meringue.

Fold in pumpkin puree.

Stir mixture into a cup with warm cream or milk. Top with whipped cream, if desired.

Whipped caramel latte

¾ cup cream or foamed milk

2 tablespoons caramel

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons hot water

2 tablespoons instant coffee

2 tablespoons sugar

Whipped cream, if desired

Using a stand mixer, handheld mixer or whisk, whisk together instant coffee, sugar and water until it is a thick, light and foamy consistency, much like a soft peak meringue.

Either fold in caramel syrup or place a spoonful of syrup on the bottom of a cup, then add milk, whipped coffee and whipped cream. Drizzle with more caramel if desired.

Simple homemade caramel syrup

I found this recipe online a few years ago and have been making it ever since. There’s usually a stash of it in my refrigerator.

½ cup butter

1 cup brown sugar

2/3 cup half-and-half cream

1 teaspoon salt

Melt butter on medium heat. Add sugar, salt and cream and stir. Cook, whisking frequently, until mixture is thick and creamy, about 10 minutes.

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Melissa St. Aude is the Arts & Entertainment editor at PinalCentral. She can be reached at mstaude@pinalcentral.com.

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