3 Easy Homemade Syrups

Apple Pie Syrup, Peppermint Candy Cane Syrup and Buttermilk Syrup

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®.

Apple Pie Syrup, Peppermint Candy Cane Syrup and Buttermilk Syrup

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

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


Bowl with steam balanced transparent
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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.


Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

 Notes

  • 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

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


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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!


Ingredients

  • 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)

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Remove pot from heat and allow syrup to cool. Transfer to a jar and cover tightly.

Notes

  • 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

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.


Buttermilk Syrup


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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.


Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

Notes

  • 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

Apple Pie Syrup, Peppermint Candy Cane Syrup and Buttermilk Syrup

 You may also like:

Candy Cane Layered Dessert
Candy Cane Layered Dessert
Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes
Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes
Berry-Mint Sippers
Berry-Mint Sippers

Comments

    • says

      Hi, Charlotte. I got the flasks and cruets from different places, including my local grocery store. The swing-top flask (peppermint candy cane syrup) came from Crate and Barrel. I ordered it on-line from the kitchen outlet portion of their website. Here’s the link for that one. The cruet with the apple pie syrup came from a local grocery store that used to have a specialty kitchen isle. That bottle and one other bottle in the photos are produced in Italy and go by the name of “Helios glass”. I looked on-line this morning found them being sold by several different vendors, but I am not familiar with the companies. They are basically the type of little bottles that are sold in bulk to craft stores like Hobby Lobby and Michaels. So, check you local craft stores. I am drawing a blank on where I got the jar holding the buttermilk syrup. I honestly don’t remember where I got that one. But, like I said, check craft stores or even kitchen stores. Sometimes the grocery store will sell odds and ends–you never know what you’ll find. Definitely check on line, too. ~Terri

  1. says

    Great post Terri, I loved your recipes. Thank you for mentioning about cutting the sugar changes the viscosity of the syrup. But you are right is does soften the peppermint flavor. Of course the brand of candy canes affects it too. Merry Christmas Clarice
    PS love your photos too

    • says

      Hi Clarice. Thank you for coming up with such a great idea as using candy canes to make syrup. And yes, the brand of candy canes does affect the peppermint flavor. I used Bob’s brand for this recipe because they are most readily available in this area. However, I noticed that one of our local grocery stores is now selling Brach’s. I don’t know which of those has a stronger peppermint flavor. I do remember from when I was a child that the peppermint flavoring in candy canes was a lot stronger–or maybe my sense of taste has changed. My grandsons always complain about peppermint candy canes being “too spicety”. 😉 ~Terri

      • says

        LOL, I had a Hamond candy cane the other day it was very mild. Well half of taste is what is in our mind. As long as it taste good, than that is all that matters. Clarice

  2. Carol says

    Well good grief I thought I had commented on this glorious collection of recipes. The holiday rush had me coming and going….and THINKING I accomplished something I didn’t. Sheesh…

    Anyhoo-all of these syrups look amazing…….it would be hard to choose which to make first. Oh and just think-all those lovely candy canes are probably now half price. I love a good sale.

    I love your grandson’s description of those pesky peppermint ones…too cute!

    Thanks Terri-hope you and yours had a Merry Christmas. 🙂

  3. Jacque says

    Love this post! Definitely want to try two of the ones I’m not as familiar with. But I’m most curious to know where you got your bottles!! I’ve been searching online everywhere and can’t find ones like that!

    • says

      Thanks, Jacque! Those bottles are really fun. 🙂 The flask (candy cane syrup) came from Crate and Barrel. The more detailed of the glass bottles (apple pie syrup) goes by the name of “Helios glass”. These are sold in craft and & kitchen stores and sometimes even in grocery stores. Do a Google search with the words “Helios glass cruet” and you should get quite a few hits of where to buy them on-line. Some places sell in bulk, 12 to the case, but there are also places that sell them individually. As for the bottle with the Buttermilk Syrup, I don’t remember where I found that one, but ti was probably in the grocery store. Craft stores such as Hobby Lobby and Michaels often carry glass bottles of various types, including the Helios glass. I should probably take the time to write up a “Where to Get the Bottles” section for the post.

      Anyway, thank you so much for your interest in this post. As I looked back over it, I realized that, personally, it is one of my most favorite posts. It took me quite a while to pull everything together for it, but the outcome was great. Once in a while everything comes together for a post and when I look at the photos I think, “Oh my goodness, the angels must have been singing when I snapped those photos — look at the light!” I know, dramatic, but sometimes I am just amazed at what the camera sees…or doesn’t.

      Best wishes and I hope that you are able to find fun bottles. ~Terri

    • says

      Good question, Teresa. The Buttermilk Syrup and the Apple Pie Syrup should NOT be canned in a water bath. They contain dairy products. As for the Peppermint Candy Cane syrup, it is nothing more than sugar and water, so it is most likely safe to can in a water bath. However, I do not know the time for safe canning. Perhaps a canning website such as Ball could be of help with the details.

  4. says

    Excellent Apple Pie Syrup! I followed your recipe exactly and it was delicious. From the time the three cups of Simply Apple juice started to lightly boil, it took about 45 mins to reduce to one cup. I made the syrup to drizzle over a freshly baked Apple Galette served with vanilla ice cream. We lapped it up and licked our plates.
    Thank you for a yummy recipe.

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