I haven’t always made our own pancake syrup. When we could afford it I would buy it ready-made because making it myself didn’t always seem worth the extra savings. Now that every penny counts, I find myself making it from scratch again. My kids prefer homemade syrup and have never been especially silent about their preference. I use clean, empty ketchup bottles to store our homemade syrup. They have squeezey lids to make pouring the syrup a simple process. If you’re trying to avoid high fructose corn syrup, making your own pancake syrup is an affordable way to do so.
I use inexpensive maple flavoring, which I buy wherever I find it cheaply. Sometimes Dollar stores have it, sometimes little hole-in-the-wall country stores have it. If I see it for a good price I make a habit to buy some because it’s something I know I’ll use eventually. Large supermarkets almost always have it, although that is usually the most expensive way to buy it.
If you’re watching your diet, try combining a tablespoon of this syrup with 1/2 cup of unsweetened applesauce. Then use that to top your pancakes. You’ll get maple flavor and sweetness without all the calories and excess sugar.
Maple Flavored Pancake Syrup
- 2 cups fresh water
- 2 cups white sugar
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 1-1/2 teaspoons maple flavoring
- Few drops or about 1/4 teaspoon vegetable oil, optional
Combine the water, brown sugar, white sugar and vegetable oil in a large saucepan. Use a larger pan than you think you need because the syrup foams as it cooks. The oil keeps the syrup from boiling over the sides of the pan. It’s not strictly necessary, but I find it helpful because I’m usually distracted in the kitchen and unable to keep as close an eye on the stove as I should. The little drop of oil keeps the syrup from foaming too much as it boils.
Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. All of the sugar should be dissolved. Remove from the heat. Stir in the maple flavoring. Allow the mixture to cool and then transfer to a clean, empty syrup bottle or a clean empty mustard or ketchup bottle or a clean empty canning jar. Store in the fridge for longest keeping or on the pantry shelf if you go through it quickly (like within 2 or 3 months).
After a a few months of storage this syrup can develop large crystals in the bottom of the bottle. They are harmless but crunchy. To clean them out after you’ve used up all the syrup use very hot water to dissolve the sugar crystals. Then wash the bottle, make more syrup and fill it back up again.
Homemade pancake syrup has a clean, fresh flavor that tastes a lot better than most commercial products. It comes much closer to mimicking real maple syrup, both in texture, mouth-feel and flavor.