Some Sweetness in the Morning

The last time I was at the grocery store, “pancake syrup” was on the list of things I needed. However, upon stopping at the syrup aisle, I was shocked at the price for our regular bottle of Log Cabin.  The larger size was $3.99!! And I just could not find it in myself to pay that price for high fructose corn syrup poured into a bottle with a pretty label.  Mind you, I’d love to just feed our family the pure maple syrup, which is better for you, and tastes a thousand times better, but recent (lack of)  income woes around our house have necessitated that we cut back all spending drastically, so that didn’t seem a wise purchase either.

While I pondered what to serve my hungry children atop their waffles and pancakes, there stirred in the back of my mind a vague memory of my own mother whipping up some homemade syrup concoction on her stove during the days of my childhood. It wasn’t a regular thing in our house growing up, or surely it would not have been so vague, but clinging to this thread of a memory, and a little bottle of maple flavoring, I finished my shopping trip determined to find a recipe of my own for cooking some homemade syrup.

The children were rather surprised when I announced this morning that I was going to create syrup instead of pouring it from a bottle, but they went along with it willingly. I even had a cute little assistant to help me.

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The recipe was easy, quick to assemble and cook, and used few (and inexpensive!) ingredients! Upon tasting “Mommy’s Syrup” there was unanimous agreement around the breakfast table that it was much, much better than Log Cabin. What praise!!

For kicks, I looked up the ingredient list for Log Cabin, and have to say, that even though I have not in the past been a huge reader of labels, was unimpressed by what goes into a bottle.  When you can say that your homemade recipe of water, sugar, and a dab of butter and maple flavoring is WAY more healthy than what you’d buy in the store, you start to wonder how in the world the manufacturer can get away with charging $4 for a plastic container filled with I’m not exactly sure what.  See for yourself:

Ingredients: Corn Syrup, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Water, Sugar Syrup, Pure Maple Syrup, Salt, Cellulose Gum, Sodium Hexametaphosphate, Caramel Color, Sodium Benzoate and Sorbic Acid (Preservatives), Artificial Flavor. Source for these ingredients Note it has pure maple syrup listed even though there’s not one drop of maple syrup in it!

For anyone interested, here is the recipe I used this morning to make my syrup. I changed it up a little (don’t I always change my recipes up a little?) by substituting a cup of brown sugar for one of the cups of white sugar.  I first put only the cup of white sugar into my pan, and lightly “cooked” it, stirring often so that it did not burn. Then I added my brown sugar, boiling water, and maple flavor as directed.  I also added a tablespoon of butter.  I cooked it for about 7-10 minutes till it thickened slightly, stirring much of the time.  When it was ready, it looked like this:

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I served it warm over waffles, and stored the remainder in the fridge where I understand it will keep for some time.

What a deal! It was simple enough – and inexpensive!! – to make, and so happily received, that I have lofty aspirations of never again buying the stuff in a bottle.

9 Comments

  1. COD
    Feb 13, 2009

    That syrup minus the maple flavoring usually lasts about 60 days in the fridge. I know this because if you eliminate the maple flavoring it’s the recipe for simple syrup that I use to sweeten iced tea, and I also use it in fresh lime daiquiris.

  2. Mom/Ruth
    Feb 13, 2009

    Tricia, the basic recipe (but I think always with brown sugar) is all I knew as a child. Mother always had Mapleine (Crescent brand of Imitation Maple Flavor) in her pantry and I have an old bottle in my pantry now — it lasts a long time! The butter sounds like a nice addition, and I wonder if your method helps make it any less “watery/runny.”

  3. Peggy
    Feb 13, 2009

    Wow! I’m going to have to try that! Thanks for the tip!

  4. Alyssa
    Feb 13, 2009

    I am impressed! I will have to try this.

  5. Rita
    Feb 13, 2009

    I, too, will be trying this some time in the future. Thanks, Tricia.

  6. jennifer
    Feb 14, 2009

    My mom used to make syrup all the time, and I have done this a couple times when we were out of bottled stuff. I, too, recently noticed the dramatic increase in the bottled syrup. However, I can still get a good deal on the aldi brand. Because of time issues at our house, I’ll probably keep buying the aldi stuff for regular use. But it is good to remember you can make some things better and less expensively.

  7. Tricia
    Feb 14, 2009

    Wow! Here I was thinking since it has been almost a month since my last post that I had lost all my readers. Thanks, everyone, for checking in, saying hello, and for all your encouraging comments!

  8. Kara
    Feb 14, 2009

    When I was on a mission trip we decided we wanted to make pancakes and syrup, and, not having any syrup on hand, we made our own with what sounds like a similar, if not the same, recipe that you used. I remember voting to use brown sugar instead of white sugar, at least for half of the sugar required. It was quite a success with all the others on the trip. I haven’t made any since, however. One inexpensive bottle from the store seems to last forever in a house of 2, and it’s quite convenient.

  9. Laura
    Feb 23, 2009

    Ooh! Andy will love this idea – will have to try! And, no you haven’t lost your readers. I haven’t blogged much in the last months either…I understand. Love you guys…