Our Thanksgiving plans were cancelled this year due to the passing away of my dear, dear Grandma. She was 92 and had lived a beautiful long life. Hearing stories about her from both strangers and family was such a blessing. The undercurrent behind all of the stories being that she loved unconditionally and always thought of others first, and was quick to laugh and show her bright smile. I spent most of the 10 hour drive there (and back) thinking about the wonderful memories she brought to my life and the amazing ways she impacted my life for the better (such as raising my Dad to be the best Daddy a girl could ask for). She had 40 grandchildren and 95 great-grandchildren and somehow she made us each feel special.
My fondest memory was when we got snowed in one year while we were visiting them in B.C. for Christmas. At the suggestion of my grandma, me, my brothers, and cousins bundled up and headed out into the winter wonderland of my grandparent’s retirement community to shovel the sidewalks of the elderly who couldn’t do it for themselves. This was who my grandparents were. My grandpa was in his 80′s at the time and would be shovelling the sidewalk for people 10 years younger then him, who were no longer physically able. They were givers and it shone through everything they did.
When we came in from the cold, Grandma was in the kitchen cooking up a storm. This is where most of my memories of my grandma take place. In the kitchen. Listening to her joyful humming while she prepared food for the ones she loved.
I remember waking up one morning to pancakes and homemade syrup. I took one bite and realized that my grandma made the most delicious syrup in the world. I was too young then to think to ask for the recipe, or even what kind of syrup it was, but years later when I made buttermilk syrup for the first time, I was instantly brought back to that memory and it has remained a favourite ever since. This may not be her exact recipe but it is comforting and delicious, and brings back that treasured memory that will forever hold a special place in my heart.
P.S. I now know why I loved buttermilk syrup so much as a child – it tastes like the glaze from my favourite doughnut. Meaning, it makes your pancakes taste like doughnuts for breakfast. Yes, please.
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon honey
- pinch salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoon vanilla
Add butter, sugar, buttermilk, honey and salt to a medium sized saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir in baking soda. Boil and stir for one minute (it will foam up triple the amount). Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla. Stir until foam subsides. Syrup will thicken as it cools. Store in the fridge (reheat to serve).
Makes: 1 2/3 cups
In a perfect world we would all have unlimited access to all-natural maple syrup at our fingertips (or if you’re Aimée you’d tap your trees and make your own. Brilliance I tell you!). But in reality, for most of us, it’s just so darned expensive, especially if you live outside of Canada or the US. It’s no secret that maple syrup is my favourite processed sugar alternative, but I know it’s not always possible to be as carefree with it as I tend to be (I’m Canadian, I practically bleed maple syrup). So today I’m sharing my go-to homemade syrup that replaces the butter flavoured stuff from the store. It’s not meant to be a maple syrup substitute so don’t go substituting it for maple syrup in recipes (that would kind of ruin the point ;)).
This syrup is just as delicious as Aunt Jemima’s but the ingredient list is a lot shorter. I always think it’s a good idea to make these kinds of things at home so you can see just how much sugar goes into it – it makes you more mindful when you get to pouring it over your pancakes. Syrup will never be healthy but you can make it just as flavourful and a lot more healthfully (i.e. less processed) at home. Plus it’s quick and simple, and pretty cheap to boot.
It’s the weekend. Go forth. Make pancakes. Make syrup. And, enjoy!
Butter Flavoured Pancake Syrup
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 2 teaspoons butter
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon pure maple extract
Place sugar, water and honey in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Boil one minute. Remove from heat, stir in butter, vanilla and maple extract until butter is melted. Serve immediately or cool (syrup will thicken as it cools). Store, covered, in the fridge.
Makes: 3/4-1 cup
I got this idea of making a processed-sugar-free simple syrup, for our beverages, out of pure necessity. We’ve been sick more often this year then any I can remember, which I’m crediting to the fact that Max started going to playschool. And, every time we get sick it seems to be when we’re not being as careful about what we eat – less probiotics, more processed sugar, etc. So in my need for the occasional coffee to get through a sleep deprived day, and the fact that I don’t really like coffee without some sort of sweetener + flavour booster, and also the fact that a girl just has to unwind with a latte once in a while, I decided to create a different kind of flavoured simple syrup. One with all the spices of gingerbread and the sweetness of maple syrup. A.K.A. Christmas in a mug.
You can use this syrup to flavour and sweeten whatever kind of drink you like, hot chocolate, iced coffee, mochas – you name it! I’ve included a recipe for how I turn it into a gingerbread latte. I add whipped cream for special days but enjoy it just as much without for a midweek pick-me-up. Lucky for you, it’s almost the weekend so you deserve a dollop or two. ;) Happy Friday!
Maple Gingerbread Syrup
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Stir together all ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer. Simmer gently for 10 minutes or until thickened slightly. Use immediately or allow to cool before storing, covered, the fridge. Stir or shake before using.
Makes: 2/3 cup
Feel free to fiddle with the amounts to make it perfect just for you.
- 1/2 cup milk (or milk alternative)
- 1.5 tablespoons maple gingerbread syrup
- 2 fl. oz (1/4 cup) espresso or very strong coffee
Place milk and syrup in a small saucepan. Whisk over medium heat until steaming. Pour coffee into mug, top with milk mixture. Serve immediately or top with whipped cream and a sprinkling of nutmeg, if desired.
Latte adapted from allrecipes. Syrup adapted from Annie’s Eats.
Not to be confused with strawberries and cream soda. :)
I’ve had this idea rattling around in my head for quite a while now. I love making my own drinks and was inspired by this article to try and make some homemade sodas. My first attempts, following the article, were less than satisfactory so I decided to give the idea a break.
When I saw these gorgeous flavoured syrups on Annie;s Eats, I knew I had to give it another go – this time with a slightly different adaptation. It turned out just like I;d been hoping for. Lot;s of fruity flavour while still maintaining that soda feel.
The concept is so simple – an easy sugar syrup mixed with carbonated water. You can head in whichever direction you like with flavourings. Try different fruits and extracts to make your own dream soda.
If you pour the liquids over ice they will stay separate (which I think is rather pretty). This is because the syrup is denser than the carbonated water and when you pour it over ice it slows down the mixing process and the lighter layer sits on top. If you want a mixed look, you can pour the liquids in first and then add ice.
I can;t wait to try this with ice cream. Doesn’t a strawberries & cream float sound amazing?
What would be your dream soda flavour?
Strawberries & Cream Soda
The amount of sugar used depends on your sweet tooth and the sweetness of the strawberries.
- 2 cups chopped strawberries
Combine sugar, water and strawberries in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower heat and allow to simmer for 15 min, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Strain through a fine mesh sieve, stirring berry solids gently to allow all the juices to flow through. Allow to cool before storing, covered, in the fridge.
To Make Soda
- carbonated water (club soda)
For one serving: Add ice to glass, top with 1/3 cup syrup and 2/3 cup carbonated water. Serve immediately.
For a pitcher: Add ice to pitcher, top with 2.5 cups syrup and 5 cups carbonated water. Serve immediately.
Makes: 7-8 servings
I bought a waffle maker for my birthday a couple of months ago. We used to make them all the time in Canada but I had to leave my waffle iron behind in the move and I’ve been waiting to get one every since. I think we had forgotten just how much we loved waffles and now we can’t seem to get enough. In fact, we have now started a new Sunday morning tradition. Waffles. With vanilla pudding and blueberry syrup.
My husband’s family has a tradition of eating their waffles with homemade vanilla pudding. It’s a common thing to do in the community that he grew up. And, I accepted it readily because who doesn’t want their waffles covered in warm vanilla pudding? We’ve since added the blueberry syrup because it’s such a great compliment and adds a punch a flavour and color.
I’ve tried numerous waffle recipes on my husband but this one is always his favourite. And who am I to complain? It’s the most simple to make! The vanilla pudding is my mother(or sister)-in-law’s recipe and the blueberry syrup is my mom’s. I’m in love with every aspect of this dish and each of us waits eagerly for Sunday morning to arrive so we can have it again.
I couldn’t figure out a way to take a photo of this without it looking messy. But to me it looks like a tasty mess. One that I would happily clean up with my fork and mouth. :) Full disclosure: I do not actually put that much pudding or syrup on my waffles. It was for the sake of the picture because it looks so much
prettier messier this way.
This is also wonderful topped with sliced strawberries in place of the blueberry syrup. Just toss them in a little bit of sugar and let sit for a couple of minutes and you’ll have softened strawberries in a syrupy sauce. Yum!
I’d love to know, what’s your favourite topping for waffles?
- 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
- Beat eggs until thick. Whisk in milk and oil. Add dry ingredients, mix until smooth. Cook in waffle iron according to manufacturers instructions.
Makes approximately: 6 waffles
- Bring 1 cup milk to a boil in a small saucepan set over medium-high heat.
- Meanwhile mix together flour, sugar and salt. Slowly whisk in 1/4 cup milk, making sure there are no lumps. Whisk in egg yolk.
- Slowly whisk flour mixture into boiled milk. Bring back to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Serve warm.
*If doubling you can use one whole egg instead of two egg yolks.
- 1 cup fresh or frozen (not thawed) blueberries
- 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
- Place blueberries, sugar, lemon juice and salt in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, crushing berries as they cook. Let boil 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Serve warm or cold.