How to Make Simple Syrup for Cakes and More

  • Serves: Makes about 1/3 cup
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Variations: Caramel Simple Sugar Syrup; Caramel-Spice Simple Sugar Syrup; Coffee Simple Sugar Syrup; Herbs Simple Sugar Syrup; Juices Simple Sugar Syrup; Lavender Simple Sugar Syrup; Orange/Lemon Simple Sugar Syrup; Vanilla Simple Sugar Syrup

"Simple Sugar Syrup", also known as sugar syrup or simple syrup, is a solution of sugar(s) and water, and then boiled, as granulated sugar does not dissolve easily in cold water.

Sugar syrup can be made in various densities: Thin (3 parts water to 1 part sugar); Medium (2 parts water to 1 part sugar); and, Heavy (1 part water to 1 part sugar). Depending on the thickness, sugar syrups have various uses including soaking or moistening cakes, such as this recipe, glazing baked goods, poaching or preserving fruit or adding to frostings, etc.

2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon liqueur or extract of your choice; examples: Kahlúa or vanilla extract

1. Add sugar to a small saucepan, fitted with a lid. Pour in water and stir.

2. With the heat on medium, bring the sugar and water to a rolling boil, stirring constantly. The sugar will dissolve while the water boils.

3. Turn off the heat. Cover immediately and let cool.

4. When the sugar syrup has cooled, stir in the liqueur or any flavorings.

5. Pour the syrup into a measuring cup meant for liquids. If the syrup has evaporated slightly, add enough water to equal 1/3 cup syrup.

Use immediately or refrigerate indefinitely in a covered container until needed.

Caramel: Put the sugar in a medium, heavy-bottomed pan with high sides and turn the heat on high. Melt the sugar, stirring with a wooden spoon, until it's a deep golden brown, about 7 minutes. Once golden, turn off the heat and add a cup of hot water. Watch out: It will boil up. Let the boiling subside and stir; return to low heat if any sugar solids remain. Cool.
Caramel-Spice: Infuse the hot water for the caramel syrup with spices such as cinnamon or black peppercorns or even chilies. Remove or strain the spices
Coffee: Replace the water with strong brewed coffee, or stir in 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder right after boiling - not before because the syrup will become bitter.
Herbs: Add a tablespoon of chopped herbs (or a few sprigs) such as rosemary or lavender before boiling. After syrup cools, strain through a coffee filter.
Juices: Replace part of the water with fruit juice.

1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
3 tablespoons dried or fresh culinary lavender flowers

1. Add sugar to a small saucepan, fitted with a lid. Pour in water and add the lavender and stir.

2. Allow the mixture to simmer until the sugar is completely dissolved. Turn off heat and let sit until cool.

3.  Reheat and strain when needed for a recipe.

Orange /Lemon: Add the peel from half an orange to the mixture before bringing it to a boil; after it cools, strain through a coffee filter and add 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier and optionally, with 1 tablespoon finely minced orange peel. Substitute the orange with lemon peel and then use 1 tablespoon lemon juice instead of Grand Marnier.
Vanilla: Add half a vanilla bean to the mixture before bringing it to a boil. Remove bean after mixture has cooled and strain through a coffee filter, if necessary.

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