Monday, August 23, 2021

Simple Vanilla Syrup

For years and years now I've been drinking my morning cup of coffee with creamer, my favorite flavors, being Peppermint Mocha, Hazelnut and Vanilla.  But a couple of years ago I started noticing that within a couple of hours of drinking it, I often developed a stomach ache. I experimented with different creamers, tried to drink it black, and eventually just gave up and decided to live with the pesky symptoms, reasoning that it was better than the headache and lethargy that set in without it, especially since for reasons I couldn't explain, it didn't happen every day.

But when Covid hit finding my favorite creamers turned into a treasure hunt, and while other people were stocking up on toilet paper, I was buying creamer by the caseload. The amount of real estate it took up in our refrigerator was ridiculous, not to mention the expense, since truth be told, I actually added a splash of coffee to the creamer. Thus began the search for an alternative.

My first solution was to bite the bullet once again and just drink it black. And I T-R-I-E-D, I really did.  I bought flavored coffee, played around with the scoop to cup of water ratio, but the result was the same every time, I hated the bitter taste and lost all the joy my morning cuppa' brings! My daughter suggested oat milk, and while I liked the creaminess, it did little to lessen the bitter taste, and for a brief time I returned to my weekly expedition.

Then one day I decided to read the label to see what it contained with the thought that I might try making my own, and as is typical with so many other things the American public consumes with little thought, or maybe it's just me, I was appalled by the paragraph of additives that I could neither spell nor pronounce, and when I googled them, it was cringe worthy! I won't go into that here, but just trust me, if you like coffee creamer, google the ingredients, I promise it will raise an eyebrow! Needless to say that was the last time I bought another bottle and became determined to find a solution. 

Now before I go on, I want to say that yes this recipe contains sugar, in fact it contains quite a bit, and yes I'm aware of the ill effects of sugar, but bear with me here, because at this point in my life at least, I'm ok with that. I'm not an advocate of extremes, and for me personally it's all about balance. I don't eat a lot of sweets, almost none in fact. Some weekends I might make a batch of chocolate chip cookies or my favorite chocolate cake, but since it's just me and my daughter (who eats sugar less than I do), I give three quarters of that away to my neighbors who are all too happy to partake. But sugar is not something I have chosen to eliminate completely from my diet, and in the case of flavoring my coffee, I'd rather three common ingredients than a slew of additives I can't pronounce and know nothing about. That being said, you can make a sugar-free version and use a sugar substitute. I read somewhere that allulose works well, as it dissolves exactly like sugar does.

- 3/4 cup of sugar
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract.

Add sugar and water to a saucepan and simmer stirring until the sugar dissolves completely. Remove from heat and add vanilla extract.

Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.

To flavor your coffee add 2-4 Tablespoons to an 8 oz. cup of coffee, more or less depending on your taste. 

Makes 1 cup of simple syrup.

NOTE: This is the basic recipe for simple syrup, but after experimenting with it myself, I use 1 cup of sugar to 1/2 cup of water. I like my syrup a little thicker and a little sweeter, and this ratio does the trick. That is why the syrup in my picture has a deeper golden hue. If you follow the basic recipe it will be lighter. You can play around with it to find the ratio that works best for you. 

If you like flavored coffees, then I highly recommend simple syrup as an alternative. If you like the creamy texture, you can always add in a little milk.  This syrup is also great with iced coffee and latte's which is next on my list! Let me know if you give it a try, I'd love to hear how you liked it!

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