Friday, May 4, 2012

Coffee Syrups

I am a coffee addict - especially flavored lattes, and those things are expensive! (Plus, they involve leaving my house, which is not something I want to do every morning with my munchkins.) So I set up a coffee bar in my kitchen, complete with a full range of homemade syrups - perfect for play dates. Even though the syrups you can buy at the store are cheaper than buying a latte every day, they are still crazy overpriced for what is actually in them (sugar and water, really).  I bought one bottle of vanilla and one of caramel, and just wash them and reuse them for homemade versions but you can buy empty bottles with pumps, too. I store mine in the fridge, just because it makes me feel better. These are the recipes I've come up with so far. 

Vanilla Syrup:
1 C. Water
1 C. Sugar
Bring water and sugar to a boil - boil for a minute to make sure all the sugar is dissolved.  Remove from heat, cool for a bit.  Once cooled, add 2 Tb. (real!) vanilla extract. 
***Side note*** Vanilla extract is WAY cheaper at Sam's.  I get 16 oz there for about $6.50, as opposed to regular stores, where it's about $1 per oz or more.  Cinnamon is also cheaper at Sams.

Peppermint Syrup:
1 C. Water
1 C. Sugar
Bring water and sugar to a boil - boil for a minute to make sure all the sugar is dissolved.  Remove from heat, cool for a bit.  Once cool, add 3/4 tsp peppermint extract. I have done 1/2 tsp and 1 tsp before, but 3/4 is about what I prefer.  If you want it stronger, add the full tsp. 

Caramel Syrup:
1 C. Sugar
1 C. Water
Have water measured out and ready. Add dry sugar to a heavy pot.  Heat undisturbed over medium high heat (don't leave) - it will start to bubble around the sides - when it does, tilt and swirl it a bit to move the caramelized sugar to the top and move the dry sugar towards the heat.  Continue until most of the sugar is a nice caramel - be careful not to burn it.  Then pour in the water slowly.  It will bubble fairly violently.  Return to a boil, stirring to get all of the caramel unstuck from the pan.  Add 1/4 C packed brown sugar and continue boiling until all the caramel is dissolved. Cool and pour into a bottle. 

Mocha Syrup:
1 C. Sugar
1 C. Cocoa Powder
1 C. Water
Mix all in a pan, bring to a boil - stirring every so often.  Boil for a minute to make sure it's all mixed and dissolved. Let cool - store in the fridge.  This one doesn't have quite as long of a shelf life before it separates a little bit, so sometimes I'll just make a half batch. 

Pumpkin Spice Sauce:
1 can sweetened condensed milk (Eagle brand really is better than off brands)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp (ish) each ground ginger, nutmeg and cloves
2-3 Tb. pumpkin puree
Mix all together. Store in the refrigerator. (Sometimes I heat it - I'm not sure if it helps the spices steep into the milk more or not, but it might just make more work)

Cinnamon Dolce Sauce:
1 can Eagle brand
2 generous tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
Mix all together. Store in the refrigerator. 

The pumpkin spice and cinnamon dolce take more syrup than you think when you're making a cup of coffee. Starbucks adds about 4 Tb in a grande pumpkin spice latte - I use a little less than that, but definitely at least 2 TB.  Otherwise it's not as flavorful or as sweet.  The other syrups are more around 1 Tb for my tastes. 

Hope you enjoy!!