Urban Nester tells us that she has unlocked the secret of creating that amazing autumn beverage we all love at home with her Crockpot Pumpkin Spice Latte recipe!

 

There’s no way we could turn a treat like this down, especially when there is enough to share.

 

Join us for a test-run that could take the crockpot to a whole new level of awesome!

 

Please click here to visit Urban Nester and see the instructions that we followed!

 

 

Reviewer #1 – Sarah

Mission: To find an easy way to recreate the coveted Starbucks Pumpkin Spice latte – with a crockpot no less!

 

Details:

cooking - SarahI’m currently living a Paleo lifestyle, so I wanted to adjust this recipe to work for me.

  • I substituted dairy milk with almond milk.
  • I also decided to substitute homemade maple syrup for the confectioners sugar.

Once I got everything ready, I followed the directions closely. Since I was substituting the sugar with maple syrup…

  • I cut the amount to 6T since it was a liquid sweetener vs. sugar.

As soon as I poured in the vanilla extract, I decided that 8T was probably too much – I instantly smelled the alcohol and wasn’t too keen on it. I instantly wished I would have cut the amount down a bit.

  • In addition, based on comments on the recipe post, I decided to up the ante on the strength of my coffee and did about 1.5 teaspoons of the instant coffee I used per cup vs. just 1 teaspoon.

As it cooked in the crockpot, my kitchen began to smell of fall, which was awesome! I loved the scent it left around my home – so festive. This is my favorite time of year, so anything making it feel even more festive is so fun!

Once the latte had cooked for two hours, I gave it a whirl! It was much better than straight black coffee, but it just didn’t turn out as awesome as I had hoped. I have no doubt if I tried it as specified that I would have really liked the end result. I did forget to pick up some cinnamon sticks, so I lacked the extra sizzle those would have added.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Be open to trying all recipes – in my opinion you can adapt most of them to work for your own eating habits. Adapting this recipe to meet my Paleo lifestyle worked just fine!

Pros:

Super easy to prep and a fantastic idea for a group gathering.

Cons:

Didn’t love the end result as much as hoped.

It was a bit slimy from the pumpkin puree and it had a strong aftertaste, which wasn’t super pleasant. I’m not sure if the aftertaste was due to the vanilla extract, the additional coffee I added or the lack of sugar.

We Tried It - Crockpot Pumpkin Spice Lattes!

Conclusion:

Unfortunately, I probably won’t try this again as much as I’d like to say I would.

It is a fabulous idea and some may love it!

 

 

Reviewer #2 – Maren

Mission: A great way to combine some of my favorite things: pumpkin, coffee and time with friends!  The lovely Alicia joined me to whip up this fall delight.

 

Details:

We measured everything out and followed the recipe to a “T”, including the massive amount of vanilla called for.  Good thing I had homemade vanilla on hand by the boatload from last year’s Christmas gifts!

Tips & Tricks Learned:

My Crock-Pot cooks at warp-speed, so I knew that this drink would be done in half the time.  After an hour, we checked and it was indeed done!  I wouldn’t cook it any longer.

I would think about adding more (if not doubling) the amount of pumpkin and spices in the future, as well as adding more of the strong coffee and less milk to get that “Pumpkin Spice” flavor that we all know and love.

I’d skip the cinnamon sticks, too.  While they’re a super cute garnish, I felt like adding more cinnamon spice may have been better.

Tap a little Pumpkin Pie Spice over your whipped cream for a little coffee shop flare.

Pros:

Pretty darn tasty after an hour, and very easy to throw together!

Cons:

This needs to be enjoyed as soon as it’s done.  By the time we had gone back for seconds, the milk tasted like it was a little funky.

Then, after Alicia left, I tried adding a little more pumpkin puree and it got even funkier.  Bummer.

We Tried It - Crockpot Pumpkin Spice Lattes!

Conclusion:

Sweet and a little spicy.  A nice change from the regular weekend coffee routine, although I would cut the recipe in half to make sure that you can enjoy it all before it gets weird.

 

 

Reviewer #3 – Kristy

Mission: Nothing better than the smell of pumpkin spice to bring you into the fall season! This is by far my favorite drink this time of year!

 

Details:

Cooking - Kristy

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Refrigerate the left overs!  I read a lot of questions on the original post regarding this and I must say, it was just as good the next day!

I would use a tad bit less vanilla, as I think it took away from the spice.  I will try Pumpkin Pie Spice next time as I like a richer taste of the pumpkin spice!

Pros:

Cheaper than Starbucks and can made in large patches to share!

Cons:

Travelling with this is scary in that crock pot!  Get a large thermos!

We Tried It - Crockpot Pumpkin Spice Lattes!

Conclusion:

Mike and I both enjoyed it!  We aren’t coffee drinkers so it was a nice treat to have in the morning!  A couple of tweaks and I believe this will rank higher on my list than Starbucks!

 

 

Reviewer #4 – Amanda

Mission: Kick fall off with a crock of pumpkin goodness.

 

 

Details:

I mostly followed the original recipe minus the whipping cream.

  • I used skim milk and pure Vanilla Extract.
  • For the coffee I used 6 shots of espresso (we like it strong in our house). Since this meant less liquid I did substitute in an additional cup of milk.

I set the timer on my crockpot for an hour to be certain I stirred it often enough. I find that cooking with dairy products in the crockpot can be touchy. After an hour the milk had already started to get a little border line curdled so I decided to give it a good stir and taste it. The flavors had already combined so I turned the crock off and poured a glass.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Definitely cook on low and really watch your time since crocks can vary in temperature.

Pros:

Very easy to throw together and made the house smell like fall.

Cons:

Dairy in the crock is still risky in my mind and after an hour it was heading into bad places which proved my theory right.

We Tried It - Crockpot Pumpkin Spice Lattes!

Conclusion:

If I made this recipe again I would change a few of things. I would reduce the amount of vanilla. The flavor was far too intense. I would say half would be enough. I would also reduce the cook time and strain the liquid before serving. The pumpkin seemed to just settle at the bottom which was kind of gross.

 

 

Alicia - TCCReviewer #5 – Alicia

Mission: To create a yummy beverage for fall/cooler weather at Maren’s house. Who doesn’t love spice lattes and going to Maren’s?!

 

Details:

Cookin' MH + AWWe stuck to the ingredients just as they were recommend by Urban Nester, even the ½ cup of vanilla extract – really?!

Tips & Tricks Learned:

This recipe is as easy as it sounds. Add everything to the crockpot and heat on high for about 2 hours.

Maren and I thought 8Tbsp or ½ cup seemed like a lot of vanilla extract, but oh so good.

We also thought that the pumpkin flavor was not as noticeable and adding a bit more was definitely needed.

Pros:

This was deliriously delicious and it makes a huge batch.

Cons:

Large crockpot needed or cut the recipe in half.

We Tried It - Crockpot Pumpkin Spice Lattes!

Conclusion:

I am not a coffee drinker. If I do indulge in a cup, it is severely flavored with cream and sugar with a splash of coffee. Maren was so kind to invite me over and try this recipe. It was delicious and tastes even better when chatting with a friend. We laughed and giggled our way through this recipe and it was a success! I will definitely make this again.

 

 We Tried It - Crockpot Pumpkin Spice Lattes!


The lovely
Crockpot Pumpkin Spice Lattes and photo by Urban Nester


read more

Our Best Bites is tempting us with their Chocolate Nutella Cookies; that creamy, dreamy spread that makes anything better!

 

Nutella, chocolate, we’re not sure that they even needed anything else to convince us to try them out!

 

Please click here to visit Our Best Bites and see the instructions that we followed!

 

Reviewer #1 – Maren

Mission: Hop on the Nutella train and give these sweet treats a try!  And, I’ve never turned down a cookie.

 

Details:

I was careful to follow the directions carefully, since I can get a little carried away when I’m baking.  I’m a huge fan of the heaping measurements and the fine craft of winging it!

  • I looked everywhere for Hazelnut Extract and couldn’t find it.  Everywhere!  I found every kind of extract you could imagine, except for Hazelnut.  Then I remembered my stash of coffee boozeFrangelico is hazelnut!  I substituted the liquor for the 1/2 tsp of Hazelnut/Vanilla Extract.
  • They got “crackly” right at 12 minutes, but my cookies weren’t quite as puffy as Our Best Bites‘.
  • This recipe made 45 cookies!

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Maren - Cookies 1These cookies are pretty darn easy to make!  The dough was super sticky though, even after refrigerating them.  In order to squish them before putting them in the oven, I dipped the bottom of my glass in flour.

I watched closely and “little cracks” did begin to form, but it wasn’t as dramatic as I was expecting (like with a chocolate Crinkle Cookie).

I’m still getting used to our new oven, and apparently the bottom rack is pretty hot.  I scorched the bottoms of the my first round of cookies and they were really bad.  I was scared.  Then, I tried a good one and was hooked!

I will also say that I thought that they were even better the next day!  Spending the night in a Ziploc Bag
made the cookies softer.

Maren - Cookies 2

Pros:

Holy crap.  I love Nutella.

Don’t forget your glass of milk!

Cons:

That round that got burned was like, really bad.

Maren - Cookies 3..

Conclusion:

These cookies were great!  They cookies had a hint of that salty/sweet thing going on.  I am a major sweets fan, but I really liked that little bit of salty.  They were like “grown-up” cookies.

 

 

Reviewer #2 – Amanda

Mission: Bake up a batch of Nutella goodness. That entire sentence makes me drool.

 

 

Details:Nutella Cookie Sandwich

  • I followed the recipe exactly.
  • I baked them about 12 minutes and didn’t smoosh them down with a cup until about halfway through the bake time instead of before putting them in smooshed (I know that is not a word but I am using it anyway – these are Nutella cookies after all who cares about grammar).

Tips & Tricks Learned:

I highly recommend turning these cookies into ice cream sandwiches. Brilliant idea on my children’s part!

Amanda - Cookies 1

Pros:

Um silly easy and insanely rich, chocolate goodness!

Cons:

You will eat the entire batch. Period.

Amanda - Cookies 2

Conclusion:

This is now a recipe in my personal cookbook and I fully intend to make it over and over and over again.

 

 

Alicia - TCCReviewer #3 – Alicia

Mission: Nutella +Cookie = YES PLEASE

 

Details:

This recipe came from Our Best Bites and I am a huge fan of their recipes.  Many of the items within the recipe should be in your pantry or on hand.  I was a little shocked that this recipe did not include eggs, but was willing to try it.  Anything for Nutella people!!!!

  • The recipe called for Hazelnut Extract and Vanilla Extract. I highly recommend using Hazelnut Extract. I made 2 batches and used both. I have to say that the cookies with the Hazelnut Extract tasted that much sweeter.
  • I skipped the step to use a small glass to slightly flatten the cookie before baking. My cookies turned out just fine!

Tips & Tricks Learned:

I used a small ice cream scoop/melon baller to form the dough into balls.  This worked out great and was just the right measurement, too!

Alicia - Cookies 1

Pros:

This is a super easy recipe to follow.

Cons:

Hazelnut Extract might be a bit hard to find, but worth it! I found it at Cub Foods, our local grocery store.

Alicia - Cookies 2

Conclusion:

These cookies are AMAZ-ING!! One bite and I died and went straight to heaven! They taste like mini-brownies. Very soft and chewy.

I sent a batch of these cookies over to my parents house and my brother, who hates anything sweet, said that these were the best cookies he has ever tasted. Seriously, you need to make these cookies!!!!

 

 

Reviewer #4 – Sarah

Mission: My kids and I are Nutella lovers…we buy the double pack at Costco almost every time we shop there. So, needless to say, this was a must try!

 

Details:

I tried my darndest to find Hazelnut Extract… well, I searched high and low at my local Super Target anyway. Go figure that they had every type of extract BUT Hazelnut Extract. So, I opted for the Vanilla Extract-only version of this recipe. I was a bit bummed, but with the three kids in tow, I just didn’t have it in me to go on a more in-depth shopping excursion to find it.

Outside of this hurdle, this was such an easy recipe to follow. It had a minimal number of ingredients, which is always a plus in my mind and went together quickly. I whipped up the dough in the morning before we headed out for the days events and then baked the cookies when I got home that afternoon.

I hosted a clothes swap that evening at my house with some girlfriends and put these out with the other munchies and they were a hit! All the gals enjoyed them – as did my kiddos. These cookies are a delicious rich chocolate treat for all ages.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Thanks to my mom, I have two bowls for my KitchenAid Mixer, which makes this so very easy to do. I mixed my dry ingredients in one and then the wet ingredients in the other. This made for a smooth transition mixing the dough together.

When I pressed the cookies with the bottom of a glass, I also used granulated sugar to give a little punch to the cookies. It gave them an added glisten on the cookie platter for presentation.

Sarah - Cookies 1

Pros:

Using parchment paper keeps the mess to a minimum when it comes to the baking portion of this recipe. So great!

Adding the granulated sugar when I pressed the cookies was a fun way to dress up the cookies.

Cons:

Don’t cook too long or they get crunchy – still tasty of course, but not soft and chewy.

Sarah - Cookies 2

Conclusion:

Two thumbs up! Easy recipe to follow and super easy to bake and of course eat.

 

 Nutella Conclusion


The drool-worthy
Chocolate Nutella Cookies and their photo by Our Best Bites


read more

Your Homebased Mom has cracked the code on Micky D’s ode to the Irish, the Shamrock Shake!  It looks just like the real thing and uses only a handful of ingredients that may already be in your fridge!

 

We needed to see if this milkshake brought the boys to the yard…

 

Please click here to visit Your Homebased Mom and see the instructions that  we followed!

 

 

Reviewer #1 – Maren

Mission: Shamrock Shakes?  Love those things!  Although after being “displaced” for 7 months I am on a sabbatical from fast food joints, so if I want some Shamrock Shake action, I’m going to have to make it myself!

Details:

  • I popped for the Monin Green Mint Syrup after the customer reviews convinced me that I would be noshing on fancy desserts and sipping pinky-up French beverages if I did.  I’ll let you know how that goes.
  • I halved the recipe only because I accidentally saw the Nutritional Information on the side of my container as I was shoveling it into the pitcher.
  • Whipped this sucker up in less than a minute with my beloved, Cuisinart Smart Stick Hand Blender. If you don’t have one, you need one.
  • I was too lazy to get the sprinkles out.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

I just love my Cuisinart Smart Stick.  It is the best kitchen gadget ever.  I have a little pitcher from IKEA that is always the perfect size for blending smoothies and now milkshakes!  Just dump everything in and blend with hardly any cleanup!

Pros:

Tastes just like the real thing but with an even better texture – like from a malt shop!

Cons:

I halved the recipe.  I wanted more.

Maren - Shake

Conclusion:

I loved this thing, it was even better than the real deal!

 

 

Alicia - TCCReviewer #2 – Alicia

Mission: Recreate the infamous McDonald’s Shamrock Shake.

 

Details:

  • Taste TesterI had all the ingredients on hand and had some eager taste-testers.
  • Although I did not have mint syrup, I used mint extract and Crème De Menthe.  Close enough, right?

Tips & Tricks Learned:

This recipe is pretty straightforward. Add ingredients to blender and blend away.  I used a bit more milk than the recipes calls for.

Pros:

Very easy to make and most kitchens will have the items on hand.

Cons:

Not a huge mint fan, but the kids loved it!

Alicia - Shake

Conclusion:

I have never had or tasted a Shamrock Shake before, as I am not a huge fan of mint. I was pleasantly surprise how good this tasted. This will be a great project to make for St. Patrick’s Day!

 

 

Reviewer #3 – Janet

Mission: I’ve never tried the original McDonald’s Shamrock Shake, but have always wanted to. I was excited to try a homemade version!

 

Details:

  • I picked up the vanilla ice cream and mint extract from the grocery store. I had the food coloring & milk on hand.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

I had put a little too much mint extract in my first version, it was slightly overwhelming. Other than that, this was delicious!

Pros:

So easy and tasty, a perfect dessert after a long day!

Cons:

None!  I loved it!

Janet - Shake

Conclusion:

This would be fun to make for kiddos (or yourself) to celebrate St. Patty’s day! Trust me, you should try it!

 

 

Reviewer #4 – Sheri

Mission: I love mint. Mint chocolate chip is my absolute favorite ice cream. However, I have never before had a McDonald’s Shamrock Shake. I figured this would be a great time to give it a try.mint shake4

 

Details:

  • The great thing about a milk-shake…it’s very simple to make, add ice cream and milk.
  • I had to go to three stores in search of mint extract or mint syrup. Peppermint was easy to find, but the recipe requires “mint.” I finally found mint extract and stopped at my local McDonald’s on my way home for my Shamrock Shake comparison.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Don’t forget to put the top on the blender! I learned that lesson when I was 8 years old.

Pros:

A quick and easy treat, and definitely festive for St. Patrick’s Day!

Cons:

Finding mint extract. (Oh and a small Shamrock Shake has 530 calories)

Sheri - Shake

Conclusion:

I have to be honest; I wasn’t really crazy about it. However, the recipe holds true and is well comparable to the McDonald’s shake. I ended up making green vanilla shakes for my crew and they were thrilled! So if you are a fan of the McDonald’s Shamrock Shake then try this recipe, it won’t disappoint!

 

 Shake Conclusion

 

The lovely Shamrock Shake and it’s photo by Your Homebased Mom


read more


%d bloggers like this: