I polled you wonderful people who are part of the Foodie with Family community on facebook about whether you prefer pancakes or waffles. Waffles took it by a nose, but there was still major representation for the pancake camp. Here in the FwF household, we are also divided. My husband and one kid are waving the pancake flag, while the rest of the kids and I are part of Team Waffle, but none of us would kick either pancakes or waffles out of bed. One thing is for certain and that is that pretty much everyone loves one of them madly.
We eat one or the other nearly weekly during the cold weather months. When the boys have friends over for the night, pancakes are my go-to breakfast for the zombie teen boys in the morning. It’s an easy way to fill up a crowd of boys who were up far too late playing Minecraft and watching movies. The last mega sleepover my boys had saw five EXTRA boys added to my usual five. I stumbled down the stairs in the morning and mixed up a double batch of my usual pancake batter. (Be kind when looking at that pancake batter link. It’s from way-back-when while I was in my creative formatting phase as a blogger.)
As I waited for the griddle to heat up, I had a horrible realization; I was out of maple syrup. What to do, what to do? It hit me like bolt; I remembered there was a syrup my dad used to mix up for campers when the camp kitchen ran out of pancake syrup and also remembered that it tasted good. I sent an SOS text to dad asking him how they made the syrup. He texted back, “We mixed brown sugar and water together and boiled it.” Was it really that easy?
Yes. It was.
I mixed two parts brown sugar to one part water and stirred it until it came to a boil. I boiled it for 4 minutes, then started dropping little pats of butter into it, stirring until each butter pat melted completely. I poured the hot syrup into a little pitcher. The syrup was done before the first batch of pancakes came off of the griddle. The real test of the syrup (and my memory) came when I topped the first kid’s stack of flapjacks. They dipped a finger into the syrup (because what self-respecting kid doesn’t?) and made a happy “mmmmm” sound.
Nine more kids lined up behind the first ready for pancakes and my syrup. I counted, “Nine, eight, seven, six,” as I filled plates and poured syrup, “five, four, three, two, one, another one… Wait. How many of you are there? Oh, you’re back in line already?”
I am NOT telling you this tastes like maple syrup. Only maple syrup is maple syrup. I AM, however, telling you that it tastes darned good and is absolutely worthy of being on any pancake or waffle that you might make. It is buttery, brown sugary, thick, and smooth. It is best served warm which lends a little extra luxury to your plate whether it’s piled high with pancakes or waffles.
- Make with salted butter or unsalted butter. If you use unsalted butter, you will want to add a bit of salt to the syrup at the end when you add in the butter. You always want a bit of salt in something so sweet.
- You can serve this syrup as is in all it’s brown sugar and butter glory, or you can add a little quarter teaspoon of maple extract or vanilla extract. It is great alone, but charming in other ways with the extract. Since it’s wicked cheap, you don’t need to worry about being generous with the servings.
- Bonus: This is better than just good on vanilla ice cream when you want a little something extra or hot biscuits when you’re out of honey!
- This will never replace maple syrup in your pantry because maple syrup is wonderful not only for topping things but for cooking, too. It’s not intended to fully replace maple syrup in your life, but it’s darned good for a stand-in when you’re out and using this on pancakes and waffles can stretch a meagre maple syrup supply much further!
- 1 cup water
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 1 stick (4 ounces) butter, salted or unsalted, well chilled cut into 8 pats.
- ½ teaspoon salt (if using unsalted butter)
- ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla or maple extract
- Stir the water and brown sugar together in a heavy-bottomed 2 to 2½ quart saucepan with high sides. Place the pan over medium high heat and stir until the sugar is melted and the mixture comes to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and allow it to boil for 4 minutes. When the time is up, gently drop one pat of butter into the mixture and stir until the butter is melted completely. Repeat the process with one pat of butter at a time, until all the butter has been melted and incorporated. Remove the pan from the heat. If using the extract, add it and stir it in now. Take care, as it will bubble up enthusiastically.
- Let the syrup stand in the pan for five minutes before pouring into a heat-proof pitcher (for immediate use) or into a clean canning jar (for longer storage.) Serve warm to hot. Store leftover syrup in a tightly closed canning jar in the refrigerator for up to a month.
- Remove the lid from the jar and microwave in 15 second bursts, stirring after each burst, OR place the jar, still lidded, on a folded dishcloth in a saucepan with simmering water, using an oven mitt or canning tongs to lift and swirl the jar from time to time until it flows freely and is warm through.