Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Homemade Syrups

When I was growing up, I learned from my mother to be creative when you run out of something.  If we ran out of syrup and with 8 kids, it happened often, she would make her own with brown sugar and water by just heating it.  She would serve it warm over pancakes and I learned to like it better than store bought syrup because it was warm when served. 

So today, I’m sharing making your own homemade syrups. I thought I would become like IHOP and make up a bunch of different syrups.  We’re going camping and making pancakes so I’m going to buy a bunch of plastic bottles or carafes and take a selection of syrups for the boys to pick from. 

Another idea would be to use them to flavor snow cones.  Remember having them as a child?   On a hot day toss the ice in your blender and use an ice cream scoop to fill a paper cup.  Let the kids flavor their own snow cones and pick the flavor they want.

You can also use them to flavor the kid’s milk or yours.  Again, let the kids pick and do it themselves. 

Homemade Maple Syrup

I have goosed up what mom did and given it more flavor.  You can also add butter to it and pretend it is Mrs. Butterworth syrup. 

1 cup water
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon maple flavored extract
1 tsp. vanilla

Bring the water, white sugar, and brown sugar to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and stir in the maple extract; simmer 3 minutes longer.

Store it in the refrigerator, but when serving you can put it in the microwave and heat a bit and serve it warm over your pancake, waffle or French toast.

Flavored Syrup

1 part water
1 part sugar
1 part flavoring ingredient (chopped fruit or herbs or a combination)

Boil all ingredients for five minutes (or long if you want a stronger flavor), let the mixture cool, strain out the solids and refrigerate the liquid. About one quarter of the liquid evaporates in the cooking process thickening it.  The longer you cook it, the thicker it will get.  If it gets too thick add a little more water to it.

Adjust the amount of fruit slightly based on how intense you want the flavor to be and how strong the fruit or herb is.

For a more subtle herb flavor when mixing fruit and herbs, don’t add the herb until the last minute. Then remove from heat and let steep for 10 to 20 minutes, depending on desired flavor. You can even add a sprig to the bottle or jar you’ll be storing it in to show what flavor it is.
For citrus, use the rind as well as the juicy part.  You may also use honey instead of sugar to mix it up!

Homemade syrup doesn’t keep as long as the commercial variety.  Store it in one of my favorite things, canning jars and you can label the lid with a Sharpie or plastic squeeze bottles.

Tested the strawberry and the chocolate today and will be making blueberry and maple tomorrow.   The recipe fits just perfect in these plastic squeeze bottle.  I paid 98 cents for the bottles at Wal-Mart.  I give it a thumbs up!
Possible flavor:

Strawberry basil (toss in a couple of fresh basil leaves to steep)
Blackberry lemon (toss in a couple pieces of lemon rind)
Lemon honey
Peach cinnamon (toss in a cinnamon stick to steep)
Raspberry mint (toss in some fresh mint leaves)
Raspberry strawberry

Chocolate Syrup 

3/4 cup water
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
Pinch of kosher salt
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla

In a medium saucepan, bring the water and sugars to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and whisk in the cocoa powder, salt, and corn syrup, whisking until all of the solids have dissolved.

Allow the mixture to simmer until it has slightly reduced and thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve to get rid of any lumps and cool to room temperature.

Pour into a squeeze bottle or canning jar and refrigerate. Use it to make chocolate milk, pour over ice cream, or even in a recipe calling for chocolate syrup.  I tested this syrup and it is a real close copy to the Hershey's Dark Chocolate Syrup and is high in antioxidants so good for you.  You can't beat that. 

I have to use dairy free for my grandson and this in almond or soy milk is delicious and I’m assured that it is safe for him.  If a product label says artificial flavor, you never know what that means.

It’s always more fun if you do it with someone.  Make some homemade syrups with your children or a friend.  Then share and sample your creations as a reward for your work.  

Be happy and may God bless you and yours.  

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