Sunday, March 22, 2009

Homemade Syrups

A couple of weeks back I decided to make half 'n half milk - half regular milk mixed with half powdered milk. I use to do this in Australia (where the prices for groceries were outrageous and we had no commissary at which to shop) and the boys never noticed anything different. I wasn't able to fool them this time - they immediately noticed the difference in taste and didn't like it.

I really didn't want to waste all of the milk sitting in our refrigerator so I tried to come up with dishes that called for milk. Then it hit me - I could simply make some chocolate syrup to mix with the milk and the boys would never notice the different taste.

This is the recipe I used and it tastes just like Hershey's Syrup.

Chocolate Syrup (from The Complete Tightwad Gazette)

1/2 cup cocoa

1 cup water

2 cups sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Mix the cocoa and water in a saucepan on the stove and heat to disolve the cocoa. Add the sugar and stir to disolve. Boil for three minutes. Add salt and vanilla. The recipe says to pour into a sterilized pint jar and it will keep in your refrigerator for several months. I didn't bother with the sterilizing as I knew we'd use the syrup up in a short amount of time.

The boys have finished up the half 'n half milk mixture and I've realized it's probably just as inexpensive for me to buy regular milk since I only pay about $1.89 a gallon at the commissary. But, I found a new use for my chocolate syrup. I have stopped buying Cremora (those of you whe know me know that I love this stuff in my coffee) both for health and cost reasons. Now I heat up 1/2 cup of milk in the microwave, add my coffee, and use some of the chocolate syrup. I love it!

We also go through a lot of pancake syrup in this house. Yesterday, Chuck made a quadruple batch of waffles so that we'd have plenty to freeze for the boys' breakfast during the week. I found a couple of different recipes for homemade pancake syrup and on Friday I tried one.

Pancake Syrup (from The Complete Tightwad Gazette)

3 cups sugar

1 1/2 cups water

3 tablespoons molasses

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 teaspoons butter flavoring

1 teaspoon maple extract (I could only find maple flavoring so I used two teaspoons)

Mix all ingredients together in a saucepan on the stove and stir until you get a good rolling boil going. Then turn off the burner, but keep the pot on the stove.

I was quite impressed with how well it came out. Chuck said it tasted like Mrs. Buttersworth. Owen thought it tasted like honey. Using a funnel, I poured my homemade syrup back into the store bought bottle and you couldn't even tell the difference.

There was another recipe on the back of the maple flavoring box that I plan to try next time.

1 1/2 cups light corn syrup

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons water

1 teaspoon each maple flavoring and vanilla extract

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