You lucky people, you. Today you are getting recipes for three great syrups: Peppermint Candy Cane Syrup, Buttermilk Syrup, and Apple Pie Syrup. Together, bottled in some fun…bottles, the syrups would make a great gift basket for someone. Of course, though, you and your family should have your very own bottle of each syrup as well.
Whenever I hear the word syrup, my mind immediately goes to either maple syrup or blueberry syrup. Those have been my lifelong pancake and waffle standards.
I ought to clarify, however, about the ‘maple’ syrup. Like most of America, I didn’t exactly grow up on the real stuff. My mom always bought Log Cabin® brand—they had a seriously great ad campaign back in the day and that’s the only brand we trusted. That is, until Aunt Jemima’s® came along and then mom switched back and forth, depending on which one was cheaper. Mrs. Butterworth’s® didn’t appear on the scene until the late 1970’s. By then, I was no longer living at home, so I was responsible for buying my own pancake syrup. I have to confess that the word “butter” was all it took for me to abandon Log Cabin® and Aunt Jemima’s®.
Ha! I just suddenly remembered the Aunt Jemima’s® jingle from when her syrup first appeared on the market in about 1967 (the pancake mix had been around since 1889!)—
Aunt Jemima pancakes, without her syrup
Is like the Spring without the Fall.
There’s only one thing worse, in this universe
That’s no Aunt Jemima’s at all.
Oh, and here’s an interesting tidbit of information. Pinnacle Foods now owns all three brands: Log Cabin®, Aunt Jemima’s® and Mrs. Butterworth’s®. How about that for a market monopoly? Is that even legal?
Leaving the Pinnacle conglomerate behind us, let’s move on to today’s fun homemade syrups. They are very easy to make and only take a few minutes of cooking time.
Apple Pie Syrup. I don’t have a single recipe for pie on this blog, but this syrup makes up for that in a big way. It really does taste like the essence of a great apple pie. Recipes for a similar syrup more commonly referred to it as ‘apple spice syrup’, but I came across the phrase “apple pie syrup” and liked the name. The recipe with which that name is connected is quite different from the one that I have here, but it sounds delicious.
I had a hard time making myself stop eating this syrup. I kept eating it by the spoonful and saying, “Man, that’s good!”. As is often the case, the flavor was really great the first day, but it was even better the second day.
Be sure to use apple cider with this recipe instead of apple juice. I had the Simply Apple® brand of apple beverage on hand and find it to be equally as tasty as apple cider. (And, no, I am not being paid by Simply to promote their product!) As I as said, do not use apple juice. It does not have the right ingredients or structure to make a really good Apple Pie Syrup.
I chose to use individual spices rather than an apple pie spice blend. If you have a favorite apple pie spice blend that you would prefer to use, you’ll need about 1 teaspoonful to replace the listed spices. Personally, I like to play around with the amounts of the various spices, adjusting them to my own tastes.
Apple Pie Syrup
Prep Time: 5 minutes Yield: 1 1/4 cups
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
If you’ve ever wanted to drink your apple pie, this is the syrup for you. On a spoon or served over desserts, ice cream, fruit, French toast, sweet potatoes or squash, this will soon become a favorite go-to accompaniment.
- 3 cups apple cider (I used Simply Apple® brand juice)
- 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 4 tablespoons butter
- In a 2-quart sauce pot, over medium heat, lightly boil the apple cider to reduce it to 1 cup. Stir as needed. It may be necessary to stop periodically and measure the cider in order to see when it has been reduced to 1 cup.
- Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the white sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, allspice and nutmeg. When the apple cider has been reduced, whisk the sugar and spice mixture into the apple cider.
- Add the butter and stir well until butter has melted. Simmer syrup lightly for 2 minutes, whisking constantly. Remove pot of syrup from heat and allow to cool. Use immediately or store in an airtight, covered jar in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. May also be frozen for several months until ready for use. If freezing, be certain to leave head space to allow for expansion of frozen product.
- Do not use apple juice for this recipe. Results will be poor. Use apple cider or the Simply Apple® brand of apple juice. Although Simply Apple® may be thought of as a “juice”, it is actually more like a cider and has the make-up and consistency of apple cider.
- If, during the reduction process, the cider is reduced below 1 cup, add enough regular cider to bring the amount up to 1 cup.
- 1 teaspoon of your favorite apple pie spice may be used to replace the spices in this recipe.
Peppermint Candy Cane Syrup. This one is ridiculously easy, requiring only two ingredients—water and peppermint flavored candy canes. I stumbled across the base for this recipe on the blog Storybook Woods, by Clarice Fox-Hughes, while I was searching for candy cane dessert ideas. All I could think was “how clever” and “why didn’t I think of that”.
This past summer I discovered the beauty of steeping berries in a simple syrup to make Berry-Mint Sippers. It opened a world of ideas for me about making all types of flavored syrups, but peppermint candy cane syrup was not one of them. I have used candy canes in a couple of other recipes on this blog, however: Peppermint Candy Cane Ice Cream and Candy Cane Layered Dessert. Apparently I have a thing for minty drinks and desserts.
I experimented a little bit with the recipe and adjusted it to suit my taste preferences. I came up with two options on the candy cane syrup; one is more minty and the other is sweeter with a softer mint flavor.
Peppermint Candy Cane Syrup
Prep Time: 5 minutes Yield: 1-1¼ cups
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 13 minutes, plus cooling
Red and white striped peppermint candy canes take on a new look as they become part of a sweet, cool wintry syrup. Use candy cane syrup on breakfast foods such as waffles and pancakes, or desserts such as brownies and ice cream. Don’t forget to add some of the syrup to a steaming cup of hot chocolate, too!
- 1 (6 ounce) box candy canes (usually has 12 candy canes in the box)
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup white granulated sugar, optional (see notes)
- Take the wrapping off of each candy cane. Break each candy cane into several pieces and place in a food processor fitted with the chopping blade. Process candy canes until powdered or at least in very small bits. There should be approximately 1 cup of candy cane powder. Optional—Place broken candy canes in a sturdy plastic bag. Put the bag on a cutting board and crush candy canes with a rolling pin or heavy bottomed pot.
- Add water, crushed candy canes and sugar (if using) in a 2-quart pot. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly until all of the candy canes and sugar have dissolved. Lower heat to medium low and simmer syrup for five minutes.
- Remove pot from heat and allow syrup to cool. Transfer to a jar and cover tightly.
- If using only the candy canes and water, the consistency of the syrup will be thinner with a stronger mint flavor. Adding the ½ cup sugar will make the syrup sweeter and somewhat thicker, but it will have a milder mint flavor.
- To increase the mint flavor, either add a small amount of peppermint extract or more crushed candy canes.
Recipe inspired by Storybook Woods
Buttermilk Syrup. These two words seem to be opposites. Buttermilk reflects a tart or acidic flavor while syrup reflects a sweet flavor. Surprisingly, buttermilk lends itself to a really terrific flavored syrup when mixed with sugar and a few other simple ingredients. It’s almost addicting.
This recipe is definitely science in action. Be sure to watch out when you add the baking soda…remember those old volcano experiments in school? An acid + a base = an exuberant, foaming eruption. Or, I guess that you could think of peanut brittle and the crazy, fizzy foaming action that happens when baking soda is added to the hot, golden liquid sugar.
As with the candy cane syrup, I experimented a bit with the buttermilk syrup. There was a richer caramel version (which is visible behind and to the right of the central Buttermilk Syrup), a light colored sweet version and a light colored less sweet version. Initially, when I was studying the recipes, I thought for sure that I was going to prefer the caramel version. Nope, the light colored, less sweet version was the winner. It was still plenty sweet, just not overly so. I’ve included all three versions in the recipe so that you can choose your favorite.
Prep Time: 5 minutes Yield: 1 1/2 cups
Cook Time: 5-15 minutes
Total Time: 10-20 minutes
Seemingly polar opposites, buttermilk and sugar come together to make an unexpected creamy, just-right sweet syrup. Use it on pancakes, waffles or French toast for a fun change or as a complimentary topping over fresh fruit and berries.
- 1/2 cup salted butter (1 stick)
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup white granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons light Karo corn syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- In a 4-quart sauce or soup pot over medium heat, melt butter. This may seem like a large pot for such a small amount of ingredients, but the baking soda causes a LOT of foaming and the ingredients will rise nearly to the top of the pot.
- Lower heat to medium low. Add the buttermilk, sugar, corn syrup and baking soda, whisking steadily. The syrup will start foaming quickly, so be sure to continue whisking. Cook and whisk for 1 minute. Remove pot from burner, stir in vanilla extract and cool syrup slightly before serving. Store any remaining syrup in a tightly closed jar in the refrigerator up to two weeks. Reheat and stir before serving.
- For a sweeter syrup, increase sugar to 1 1/2 cups. All other ingredients and cooking instructions remain the same.
- For a Caramel Buttermilk Syrup, follow cooking directions as for regular Buttermilk Syrup except increase cooking time to 7-8 minutes over medium low or low heat, stirring frequently. The syrup will turn a rich golden brown. Do not cook too long or at too high of a temp because the syrup may turn to candy–which would actually be a delicious save for overcooked syrup.
Recipe variations adapted from Oh, Sweet Basil