The way that I cook, and the food choices we make have evolved over many years. I try not to buy a lot of convenience (read: heavily processed) foods, I try to buy whatever local and organic products that I can find, and I make quite a few pantry items. It’s responsible, and it’s darn good eating. One of my favorite local products is pure maple syrup.

Hold on now! Stay with me!

I’m not about to tell you that you should start tapping trees and make your own maple syrup. Let’s not get crazy here. Leave that to the professionals. Need I remind you that I have four sons that use every excuse for me to make them a hot breakfast as a vehicle for maple syrup?  We eat pancakes, waffles, or french toast 2-3 times a week. That’s a whole lot of maple syrup.  About $15 a pint, or $60 per month, to be exact.

While fresh maple syrup is still my preferred option, our boys were eating us out of house and home with their maple syrup bill, alone. At $60 per month, local syrup quickly moved to the “special treat” category. But the thought of buying the goopy stuff that is sold at the grocery store wasn’t the least bit appealing. See, I have this thing against buying anything with high-fructose corn syrup in it. Eight years of meticulous reading of ingredient labels spurred on by a severely food allergic child will do that to you.

Enter Mary Ostyn. Mary is a homeschooling mother of 10, she has an award winning blog, and recently published a book called Family Feasts for $75 a Week. In her book, she shares over 200 of her families favorite recipes, including many make-it-yourself pantry items. I am a big fan.

Mary’s recipe for Maple Flavored Syrup has been in regular rotation in our house since I picked up her book last year. It’s quick, it’s easy, and very delicious. And I can make it for a fraction of what store-bought syrup costs–pure or otherwise.

Here’s what you will need:  brown sugar, granulated sugar, water, light corn syrup, salt, vanilla extract, maple flavored extract.

Start by pouring the water and granulated sugar into a medium saucepan.

Add the brown sugar.

And the corn syrup. Yeah, yeah, I said that I wouldn’t buy anything with high-fructose corn syrup in it. I do use it’s less processed cousin, corn syrup on occasion, and only in moderation.

Stir, and heat the mixture over medium heat until boiling. Continue to boil the syrup for 7 minutes, until it thickens; stirring occasionally.

Once the syrup has thickened, remove it from the heat and stir in the salt, vanilla, and maple extracts.

Cool the syrup for 15 minutes before serving, or cool completely and store in an tightly sealed container in the cupboard.

Maple Flavored Syrup isn’t just for pancakes or waffles. Try it swirled over oatmeal, drizzled over ice cream, cheesecake, stirred into a steamy mug of tea.  The possibilities are extensive. I picked up one of these nifty squeeze bottles at my small town grocery store for about a dollar, and it makes an excellent way to drizzle until my hearts content.

Here is my very slightly altered version of Mary Ostyn’s recipe:

Maple Flavored Syrup

From Family Feasts for $75 a Week by Mary Ostyn

Makes 3 Cups

 

1 ½ firmly packed brown sugar

½ C. granulated sugar

1 ½ C. water

¾ C. light corn syrup

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. maple flavored extract

 

  1. In a medium-sized saucepan, combine sugars, water, and corn syrup; bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil until slightly thickened, about 7 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat; stir in salt, vanilla, and maple flavoring. Cool for 15 minutes before using, or cool entirely before storing in a tightly covered bottle in the cupboard just as you would with any syrup. Serve over pancakes, waffles, or French toast.

 

 

 

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