Friday, January 7, 2011

A Measured Response to Simple Syrup

Because this blog is so new I thought I'd keep things simple and show you all how to make simple syrup.  (See what I did there?  Punny, huh?)

Simple syrup is ridiculously easy.  It's so easy I don't really know why I need to tell you about it.  But I feel compelled.

And just so you know, while I made the simple syrup I took copious pictures of the process.  However, most of the pictures are of boiling water.  And while using sugary things to sweeten up iced tea is a wonderful thing, thousands of pictures of boiling water are not.  So I'll only give you one:

It's ALIVE!!
And now on to the recipe!  Simple syrup, as my Biology major husband so lovingly informed me, is a supersaturated liquid.  You basically add sugar to water until the water can't take it anymore.  Boiling the water allows for more absorption of the sugar, resulting in a delicious, syrupy, sticky mess. Hurrah!

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
And that's it!  No joke.  Combine the sugar and the water in a medium-small saucepan and bring to a boil.  When all the sugar is dissolved take the saucepan off the heat and allow the syrup to cool.

Then you could pour the syrup into an old Smucker's jam jar.  The syrup will last a couple of weeks in the fridge.

The syrup doesn't turn out to be as sticky and syrupy as I thought it would.  I assumed the mixture would thicken and turn out to be the consistency of maple syrup.  But what do I know?  Nothing, apparently.  

Simple syrup is about the consistency of water (go figure).  It is used mostly for drinks.  In my case I made this for my husband to make martini's for our New Year's Eve party.  But I have heard of people adding simple syrup to iced tea as an alternative to adding regular sugar.  I can see how this would be a preferable alternative because sugar never seems to dissolve completely in iced tea.  Undissolved sugar is seriously annoying. 

Also, I was reading about people using simple syrup between cake layers.  Sprinkling a few drops of the syrup onto each layer before adding frosting or other layers keeps the cake moist.  Isn't that most excellent?  Of course layer cakes intimidate me so I probably wont be employing this technique anytime soon.  But if it works out for you, please let me know how the results go!

And now I bring you to one of the most frustrating problems I've experienced in a long time.

I just recently got married, which is one of the best things to do if you enjoy presents.  Which I do.  So it was an enjoyable time.  Also, having a dorky husband around is hilarious.  

 Anyway, marriage is great.  But I can tell you what is NOT great.  Measuring cups.  That's right.  Take a look at this picture.

1, 2, 3, 4...

Notice anything strange?  Notice anything missing?

Measuring cups these days are strangely lacking in the 3/4 and 2/3 cups.  Have you noticed this phenomenon?  I have a set of measuring cups that I got as a wedding present and it only had the 1/4, 1/3, 1/2 and 1 cups.  What is this madness?  Do measuring cup manufacturers actually think I have the ability to add fractions?  Sure, I could just use three dips of the 1/4 cup to reach 3/4 of a cup.  But why?  That seems like a terrible amount of work.

This has been frustrating me for a couple of months now.  At least, it frustrated me until I wandered around Bed, Bath and Beyond and found these beauties.

There she is, the 3/4 cup, who for some reason is female.  I found her!

It all happened very suddenly.  I was looking for a good set of measuring cups.  I rejected one set after another.  3/4 cup?  No!  Cast aside!  3/4 cup?  No!  Cast aside!  Then, all of the sudden I saw them dangling delicately from a hook surrounded by inferior products.  The FULL SET of measuring cups!

I died.  Of happiness.

And then I bought the set, which was about $4.  I think that's a good deal for a complete set of measuring cups.

Now doesn't that just look right?
Of course, I shouldn't get too carried away about this set, because it is still missing the 2/3 cup.  But I'll deal with it for now.

Thank you Betty Crocker and Bed, Bath and Beyond.  You have made cooking and baking that much more fun!  God bless you all!

But wait, there's more!  I not only found these magical measuring cups, I also found this!

Is that a 1/2 Tbs I spy...?

It's a little hard to see, but this set of measuring spoons has not just the regular set of spoons, but also a 1/2 tablespoon AND a 1/3 teaspoon, which I didn't even know existed and I'm pretty sure I'll never use because I've never seen any recipe call for it, but I have it now and that's all the matters.  Whew!  This set was only $1.50.  Which means you should probably go to Bed, Bath and Beyond to buy a few sets.  One for you and one for all your friends!  Go on and share the joy of cooking!

And now, another pretty picture of the magical cups.

So nice!
Ah yes!  Life has new meaning now.


  1. First, I was JUST wondering how to make simple syrup. I use Starbucks syrup for my coffee and thought it'd probably be easier on my pocketbook to make my own. So thanks for digging around inside my head again and answering my question! ;o)

    Second, I hate to breed discontent in your newly adopted set of measuring spoons, but an issue I have with all three of my sets is that they're all missing 1/8 of a teaspoon! That tiny measurement turns up more often than you'd think while baking. I wish I could just buy one spoon...

  2. If you want, I think you can buy a set of spice measuring spoons. They have a smidgen, pinch and a dash. The dash is 1/8 teaspoon, the pinch is 1/16 teaspoon and the smidgen is 1/32. I usually just fill up about half of the 1/4 teaspoon. The amount is so small that I don't think a little more or a little less will matter too much. I have a set of the spice spoons if you want it. I probably wont use it. :)

  3. Ah! I didn't know the measurements of those spoons!

  4. Check this out! :)

    All six measuring cups and that pesky 1/8 teaspoon. Yay!

  5. Alise, fun blog! I'm looking forward to reading about more of your kitchen adventures. Anyway, simple syrup is awesome for fresh squeezed lemonade. I was house sitting for some people who had a lemon tree and they had told me to pick as many as I wanted (and they had an electric juicer!). I juiced the you-know-what out of those lemons and mixed the juice with simple syrup and spent a whole day sipping the bestest lemonade I had ever had in my whole life. So yeah, simple syrup is fantastic!

  6. Oh wow, what a great idea! I need to put some of my mother's lemons into use!