A Tale of Two Syrups

No secret that we are waffle lovers in this house.  My mother-in-law Kris bought me a nice Belgian waffle iron for my birthday (BEST GIFT EVER) so we’ve had lovely homemade versions ever since.  Now: like any sane family we can appreciate a good waffle with fruit and whipped cream, or maple syrup, but – there has been the odd occasion that we are plum out of both. And, being that waffle-time is usually on a weekend morning and I am still wild-haired and coffee-less, I’m not exactly in any shape to run to the grocery store.  Enter: homemade syrups.

Below are the recipes for two of my favorites.  Blueberry syrup is simple to make and tastes fantastic – when you make it homemade, the flavor of the fruit really shines.  You can make syrups from all sorts of fruits, but blueberry is my favorite – not only for the flavor but because blueberries have a natural thickener in them, so no need to add anything to make a nice syrup from the fruit.

Buttermilk syrup is my other favorite, a thick caramel of a syrup that needs no butter to accompany it.  I love it not only on waffles and pancakes (with whipped cream is best), but over ice cream with a sprinkle of sea salt is also divine.

Next time you find yourself low on syrup, give one of these a try.  You certainly won’t be disappointed (in fact, you might retire the maple syrup altogether).

Blueberry Syrup
(from Food & Wine)

Ingredients:

1-1/2 lbs. blueberries (~ 5 c.)
4 c. water
2 c. sugar
6 (1-in.) strips of lemon zest (removed with a veggie peeler)
3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

In a pot, combine the blueberries with 1 cup of the water. Crush the berries with a potato masher and bring to a simmer. Simmer over low heat for 15 minutes. Strain the juice into a heat-proof measuring cup, pressing hard on the solids. Discard the solids.

Rinse out the pot. Add the sugar, lemon zest and the remaining 3 cups of water and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Boil the syrup over moderate heat until it registers 225F on a candy thermometer, about 20 minutes. Add the blueberry juice and lemon juice and boil over high heat for 1 minute. Let the syrup cool, then discard the lemon zest. Pour the syrup into just-cleaned bottles. Seal and refrigerate for up to 6 months. Serve warmed with a few pats of butter, on pancakes and waffles (or alone on ice cream or cake).

Buttermilk Syrup
(adapted from  multiple versions)

Ingredients:
1-1/2 c. sugar
3/4 c. buttermilk
1/2 c. butter
2 Tbsp. corn syrup
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. vanilla

In a Dutch oven or saucepan, stir together the sugar, buttermilk, butter, corn syrup, and baking soda. Bring to a boil, and cook for about 7 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Cool, then pour into just-cleaned bottles. No need to refrigerate this one; best served on waffles or pancakes with berries and whipped cream.  Also lovely on ice cream, with a sprinkle of sea salt.

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