Infused maple syrups and honeys are quick and delicious, you can make your own creation in minutes! Always use what you like. For intense flavor, use dark maple syrup (always the real thing, NEVER pancake syrup), or local varietal honeys. Or use something milder if you want the other ingredients to shine.
Let’s try an herb, or two…
Herbs works beautifully, as do spices such as star anise, nutmeg, and cloves. Spirits can add a great dimension to the syrup as well, and some combinations are a natural: rum with cinnamon, and bourbon with cherry are both great pairings for maple, as is sambuca and fennel or anise.
In remarkably little time, you can have your own one-of-kind designer syrups to use and gift to others. Create your blend using what your family likes the best. Experiment, it’s all fun, just taste as you go until you get the taste you want. The longer it sets, the more pronounced the flavor.
With many combinations, a little spicy heat makes it all better. A fresh jalapeño, a little cayenne, or a dried chili added while simmering will give a little snap to a host of sweet and savory flavors.
Here’s a classic I like:
Sambuca Infused Maple Syrup
- 1 cup dark maple syrup
- ¼ cup sambuca
- 1 tsp. crushed fennel seeds or 1 star anise
Place the ingredients in a small saucepan over medium-low and bring to a simmer, just below boiling. Reduce heat, and simmer for five minutes. Remove from the burner and let sit until cool. Strain. Cover and keep in the refrigerator for months.
Coffee? For an adult ice cream topping, make a batch of mocha maple syrup. Simmer 1 cup of darkest maple syrup with 2 tsp. instant espresso powder and 4 tsp. unsweetened cocoa. Add 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper if you like. Whisk well, and heat for just a minute or two. Rest until cool. I’ve no idea how long this one lasts refrigerated since it is consumed quickly. This is one of my granddaughter’s favorite! She doesn’t even mind the subtle heat.
Apple forward: To top or enhance anything apple, infuse 1 cup golden maple syrup or honey with a cinnamon stick, a few grates of nutmeg, and ¼ cup calvados. Heat to a simmer, then let cool.
Snappy! For ginger and lemon, infuse 1 cup of golden maple syrup with a few slices of fresh lemon and a one-inch knob of ginger, sliced lengthwise in half. As with the other recipes, heat, rest, enjoy.