Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Golden Vanilla Syrup

Make this lovely golden sauce in place of standard maple syrup.  Try it over pancakes, of course, or drizzle over your favorite vegan ice cream or a slice of cake.  The syrup would make a beautiful hostess gift; package with a bag of your favorite (vegan) pancake mix, or with a hand written note for a pancake recipe.  If you need an idea, check out the Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes on this blog.

  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 2 cups vegan sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 cups water
  • 1/3 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice*
  • 1 tablespoon vegan brown sugar
1. Combine all ingredients except the vanilla bean in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves as the mixture heats up.  Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

2. Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise, and scrape out the seeds with a knife.  Add the seeds and the vanilla bean to the sugar mixture, stirring gently.  Cool to room temperature.

3. Transfer the syrup (and the vanilla bean) to a glass container.  Cover and chill.  The syrup will last up to 1 month in the fridge.

Here are just a couple of ways to try it: drizzled over vegan vanilla ice cream, which made the ice cream taste more like lemon gelato:

And over pancakes, where it was a lighter, subtler alternative to maple syrup, but perhaps not quite as indulgent:

*Strain the lemon juice through a fine-mesh sieve after you squeeze out your lemons, to get rid of any pulp and keep the syrup perfectly smooth.

Nutrition Info:
18 servings (2 tablespoons), Calories 89 

Tasting Notes:
I found the lemon flavor to be a bit overwhelming, and would decrease the amount of lemon juice next time.  And although it might sound sacrilegious in a recipe that relies on a beautiful whole vanilla bean, I would sneak in a little vanilla extract to enhance the vanilla flavor.  The syrup was not, therefore, quite what I was expecting, although still yummy.

Update: this syrup gets better with time.  After about a week, the lemon juice mellowed, and the vanilla flavor soared, at which point I enjoyed it more over pancakes and also slices of Amy's orange cake (available in the freezer section of the grocery store).  Another enjoyable use for the syrup - because of the bright lemon taste - is as a sweetener in iced tea. 


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