Pure Canadian Maple Syrup

Never Run Out Of Pancake Syrup Again

One thing I always hated was when I decided to make Pancakes or Waffles on a whim, and discovered, only when it came time to set the table, that I was out of Maple Syrup. They’re simply not the same without it. But I’ve leveraged my culinary education to create a Syrup that’s a pretty good substitute…

Homemade Pancake Syrup: Engineer it to your taste…

First, a little perspective…

If you regularly buy ‘Pancake’ Syrup like Mrs. Butterworth’s or Log Cabin, you’re already used to eating your stack with something that’s not Maple Syrup. I know that real Maple Syrup is expensive and sometimes a disappointment. I’ve had a number of brands of real Maple Syrup (see photo, top of page) over the years that seemed watery or pale compared to my expectations based on their advertised grades and classifications. I guess there’s always a little bit of cheating going on in situations where naturally-sourced products with subjective definitions are concerned. But that’s not what we’re here to discuss today…

What I do…

Given 5 minutes and a little stirring you can make your own Pancake Syrup that might not equal real Maple, but just might strike you as better than what you can buy at the store – because you can engineer it to your own taste.

Simple Syrup is one of the easiest things you can ever make. It’s almost impossible to screw it up and it takes the absolute minimum of ingredients: just Sugar and Water. Bring Equal measures of Water and White Sugar to a simmer on the stove top. Stir until the Sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from the stove top and allow to cool to room temperature. Syrup will thicken as it cools. Store in a tightly closed jar until needed. You can refrigerate this syrup if you wish. If it crystallizes on the bottom, just set it in a pot of warm water to and allow the Sugar to re-dissolve.

Let’s get started…

We’ll start with the Simple Syrup recipe and technique and build on it to make our Pancake Syrup (see photo, above).

For my Syrup I first change out 1/2 to 2/3 of the plain White Sugar and replace it with Brown Sugar. I’m looking for the deep amber colour and Molasses flavour that Brown Sugar contributes, while cutting down on the intensity of the flavour and the bitterness the Brown Sugar brings. For each initial cup / 250 ml of Water, add 1 to 2 tbsp. of Butter. This gives the Syrup a rich, silky mouth feel and keeps it from congealing when it cools completely. Also, the touch of Salt in the Butter accents the hyper sweetness of the Syrup the same way a pinch of Salt enhances the flavour of Chocolate or Caramel.

After dissolving the Sugars, I add a couple of additional ingredients that make the finished product my own.

Dare to experiment…

The secret ingredients I add, per initial cup / 250 ml of Water, are 1/2 to to 1 tsp. / 5 to 10 ml of Vanilla Extract and 1/2 to 1 tsp. / 5 to 10 ml of Lemon Juice (to taste). Those additions will make a huge difference in the overall richness of the syrup. I know one home cook who I turned on to making his own Syrup some time ago, who uses 1/2 Vanilla and 1/2 Almond Extract to impart a mysterious unique flavour to his recipe. You can also experiment with various Herbs and Spices. I’ve tried adding a little Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cloves or Allspice. This is a vector on which you can experiment to your heart’s content. Just don’t alter the fundamental proportions of 1 part Sugar to 1 part Water. If you do, adding more Sugar to get a thicker Syrup, be very careful.

Enjoy!

I have a feeling that, with the price of real Maple syrup rising year after year, we’ll see a lot of new commercially made Sugar-based Pancake Syrups appear on the market. I hope it will also mean more home cooks will start making their own…

~ Maggie J.

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