True story, before Starbuck’s Apple Crisp Macchiato came out, I was already working on a drink that would mimic the flavors of my all-time favorite dessert, Apple Pie à la Mode! I was looking for that quintessential spicy apple flavor with just a bit of tartness, mellowed out with a sweet, rich cream; and by George, I think I’ve got it!
If you tried the Starbucks Apple Crisp Macchiato and either liked it, or felt like a lot of people that it tasted like air freshener, then I think you need to try my version, which in my mind, actually came first.
Scroll to the bottom for the printable recipe! To see this recipe in action, watch this video.
It starts with this apple pie syrup that I make in a large batch so that I can make several drinks of it throughout the week. I’m going to start by peeling some granny smith and honey crisp apples.
This is where any Washingtonian will tell you that a fresh-picked apple from an orchard in September is the best apple you will ever taste!
In this recipe, we’re actually only using the peels; for a yummy, no-waste option. To a small saucepan, I’m adding a cup of water and a cup of brown sugar. Next, I add those apple peels and let everything start to come to a simmer.
I’ve got a beautiful trio of apple spice; which is cinnamon sticks, nutmeg cloves, and some whole allspice cloves. Although similar to pumpkin spice, that flavor from the allspice cloves really gives this drink that apple pie taste.
Next, I’m adding a dash of my mom’s homemade vanilla extract, and I stole a whole vanilla bean pod from the jar to add the flavor that I’m looking for; that you get from ice cream in Apple Pie à la Mode.
I’m letting all of this simmer together until the sugar dissolves and thickens into a syrup and all of those amazing spicy flavors and the apple flavor really come through.
The bonus of this recipe is that it also acts as a nice simmer pot of potpourri and makes your house smell amazing!
After I strain the syrup into a glass jar it’s time to assemble the macchiato. I prefer my macchiatos iced but this is a delicious drink hot as well. I am going to pour my apple pie syrup over ice and add a splash… or maybe a bit more… of half-and-half. I like a good, thicker, rich milk in this drink, kind of like melted ice cream, so that’s why I went with half-and-half.
Next, I’m going to pull a couple of shots of espresso from my machine straight into the glass. This makes that lovely macchiato, or “upside down,” sort-of espresso drink. I think this drink deserves a clear glass rather than a mug because it’s just so fun to see the different layers as it comes together.
And it tastes just as good as it looks! No “air freshener” artificial flavor here, those apple skins really lend a beautiful, fruity flavor to the syrup without being overpowering. It seriously tastes just like apple pie with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream and a lovely cup of espresso on the side. I hope you’ll give it a try!