Here’s a little tangent before I get onto todays simple but handy recipe. (Simple is even in the NAME!):
Melanie over at Mel Runs is hosting a “Stronger than Chocolate” challenge. The idea is to substitute fruit for chocolate for 7 days (or as long as you can last/handle/stomach/tolerate, you get the idea). For some reason, I have agreed to do this. (I’m starting tomorrow… already had hot chocolate with breakfast today.) Anyways – for those of you interested in a challenge, and who enjoy the support system of strangers on the internets, head on over to her page to be counted and held accountable.
Moving on. Have you ever wondered what makes those little fruit tarts in the bakery case so shiny? Do you get frustrated trying to dissolve sugar in cold drinks and wish there were an easier way? Sometimes referred to as ‘liquid sugar,’ simple syrup is the solution to both those questions! To make your fruit shiny, just brush some simple syrup on it, and if you’re a real sugar user (like myself), just pour a little syrup into your iced coffee and it will mix in with no hassle!
This syrup is super easy to make, and also really easy to change up if you wanted to make flavor shots like you see at your favorite coffee shop. I did take step by step photos of this, but they don’t really do anything for me, so I’m not posting them. Let me know if you think they’ll help you in this endeavor and I’ll put them up. (Or see my link below to caramel syrup for a similar example.)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup water (or liquid)
While you don’t have to make the entire recipe (I used about half and didn’t even need as much), the key thing to remember here is the 1:1 ratio. You will always be using equal parts liquid and sugar. Why did I say “liquid” instead of water? Well, in this case, I used pear juice. It was on sale at the store and I thought I’d try it out. I put the juice in everything, and once I made the simple syrup I started drizzling it on desserts and adding it to my tea to amp up the flavor. If you use water, you’ll have a wonderful, basic, sugary syrup – nothing wrong with that.
Put your sugar and water/liquid into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir constantly until the sugar dissolves. Then, remove the saucepan from heat and allow to cool. One thing I kept expecting was for was the liquid to thicken a bit, but it didn’t happen. So… once the sugar is dissolved in water and it’s boiled down and reduced slightly, you’re all set! How much easier can a recipe get?
Now, I can’t speak as an authority – but I’m pretty sure you could use almost any kind of juice to make this syrup. I’m not sure what something like orange juice would yield as opposed to clearer juices like apple or cranberry, but it’s worth a shot, right? How much yummier would a Cosmo be if you used cranberry syrup in there instead of just the juice? Wouldn’t your apple spiced tea taste that much better with a little apple syrup mixed in? And wouldn’t it be easier to stir in a liquid syrup if your drink were cold?
In addition – you could make caramel syrup (I’ve done that, recipe here), probably can add some vanilla extract to make vanilla syrup, and so on. I feel like the possibilities are endless. Let me know if you come up with any other combinations! There are no doubt recipes all over the web, but this also seems like a harmless time for good ol’ trial and error.
Oh – and storage recommendations. I’ve read that you should store it in glass in the fridge, covered, so that’s what I did. I just used a spare drinking glass with some plastic wrap over it – super fancy. Just make sure the syrup cools before you put it in the glass and in the fridge, so it doesn’t crack!