My choice? Homemade maple syrup with variations

When I was younger my mother used to make her own maple syrup for pancakes and waffles.  I'm not sure if she made it because she was being thrifty or because ready-made syrup hadn't been invented.  In either case I grew up with the taste of homemade and prefer it to anything else, store bought or even real maple syrup.

So here's a quick lesson on making your own maple syrup.   What I like about making your own is that you can control how strong you want the flavoring and you can also add things like cinnamon sticks and slices of ginger to give it some distinction.  That is a true advantage.

You'll be happy to know that the base of maple syrup is called a "simple" syrup and it is true to its name.  It is made with three primary ingredients: sugar, water and maple flavoring.  The maple flavoring is found on the baking aisle at any grocery store.

In a small saucepan measure one cup of sugar, one cup of water and 1 teaspoon of maple flavoring.  If you want a stronger taste of maple then add 1 1/2 teaspoons or 2 teaspoons of the flavoring.

Set the pan over medium heat and swirl the ingredients together until you can see that the sugar has dissolved.

If you wish to flavor the syrup with cinnamon or ginger, place a cinnamon stick (broken in half) or a slice of fresh ginger root into the syrup and then allow the mixture to simmer and steep over the medium heat 5-7 minutes.

Let it cool slightly and then remove the sticks and/or ginger and serve.  If you find that the syrup is runny you can simply simmer it longer to thicken it or if it is too thick you can add water to thin it down.  It's really very cooperative.

The syrup can be stored in any covered container at room temperature and will keep indefinately.  Pretty slick!  Worth a try!

(I just cover it with a little baggie to keep any dust or food particles out).

For more tips and recipes like this, check out The Breakfast Book

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