Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Pancake Syrup

Being originally from New England, I grew up a complete maple syrup snob.  I loved pure maple syrup.  Actually, one Spring my mom completely underestimated my love of maple syrup.  Our neighbor, a proud self-proclaimed hippy named Tom, gave my dad a maple sap tap and bucket and told him it would be a lot of fun for me to make my own maple syrup that year as I had kind of adhered myself to Tom to watch how he did it on his trees.  My dad, never to turn down anything free, took it and set it up for me, telling me that I would have to collect the sap every morning before we set out for my paper route (which was early) and bring it in to mom so we could boil it after school into maple syrup every day.  I was absolutely thrilled.  My mom wasn't as she was far from a morning person, but she figured a week tops and I'd be over the whole making syrup thing.

Man was she ever wrong *laugh*.  Every morning I'd go out and chip the ice away on that bucket to release it from the tap and carry the bucket inside like I was carrying the crown jewels or something.  We warped every cabinet in our kitchen that year from the boiling times required to get maple syrup and I only think we ever got up to light maple syrup when making it.  We had mason jars FULL of syrup in our unheated back hallway for YEARS afterwards.  Still one of my most pleasant childhood memories as the sense of accomplishment I got from making that syrup sticks with me.

As I grew older and we moved to Pennsylvania, maple syrup was a bit more expensive to buy, but wasn't terribly bad.  Then I moved to Alaska, maple syrup became popular as a sugar substitute in cooking and I watched the price on maple syrup resemble the price on a new car.

I stumbled across a recipe years ago to make your own pancake syrup and I would can it every year when the kids were small to help extend the life of my one lowly jug of maple syrup.  Now a days I give that liquid gold to the kids and my husband and I use the pancake syrup when money gets tight.    I started messing with the original recipe as it would come out kind of thin and would crystallize over time as it was just a basic sugar syrup with flavoring, so I came up with this recipe.

This comes out thicker than regular maple syrup, but it definitely gets the job done.  Just to warn you, though, if you taste it before it goes in the jar and don't think much of it, can it, let it cool THEN taste it.  It comes out tasting different with the additional cooking and cooling times (which I've noticed that happens with a LOT of canning recipes).

Also an additional note here.  If I have extra maple flavoring I'll add an additional tablespoon or so just for a more maple flavor to the syrup but I kept it at 3 TBS because that's the amount I get out of a standard 1 oz jar of McCormick maple flavoring at the store, and thus will help keep the cost of the final syrup down.

Pancake Syrup

  • 8 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. canning salt
  • 3 tbsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp. imitation maple flavoring (the entire contents of a 1 oz bottle equals 3 TBS)


1.  Prepare canner, jars and lids to standard sanitary canning practices.

2.  Combine sugar, brown sugar, water, corn syrup and canning salt in a large stock pot.  Heat over medium-high heat until mixture boils and sugar is dissolved.  Reduce heat, cover and boil ten minutes, stirring occasionally.

3.  Turn heat to low.  Add vanilla and maple extracts (there will be some violent bubbling when you do this).  Return mixture to a simmer.

4.  Ladle hot syrup into hot jars leaving 1/2" head space.   Process in boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes.  Turn off heat under canner, remove lid and let sit 5 minutes.  Move jars to a tea towel or other insulated surface and leave to seal. 

Check seals after 24 hours.  Any jars that are not sealed can be moved to the fridge to be used immediately.

Makes approximately 5 pints of syrup.


  1. I loved that story!!

    Ok, three questions... so what is canning salt? Do I get it in the section with the canning jars and pectin?

    Do you think elevation would affect the boiling time?

    When you say use immediately, like, within a week? A few weeks?

    It seems to me that this recipe is actually healthier sounding than what's on the back of a bottle in the store. I've got to try and do this this summer. I'm with you, I ADORE maple syrup, and they tap it about 2 hours away from us, but OH MY GOSH! I swear, they think that stuff is liquid gold of something. A pint, is anywhere from $10 and up!! For a pint!!!! So it's rare we have that stuff!!!

    1. Canning salt is salt without any additives to it as iodized salt can create a cloudy appearance to home canned goods and leave a sediment (from the additives) on the bottom of the jar. I like to get the canning salt as I know it has all the other "stuff" removed for canning so it doesn't have the chance to throw off any flavor or anything. I just find it down the salt isle. One box will last you for years. I think I've had my box like four years or so and it's still mainly full. You can also use the salt for popcorn salt if you don't want a full box of salt hanging around your pantry most of the year *laugh*.

      Elevation would affect the boiling time, yes. Via Ball here 1,001-3000 feet above sea level add 5 minutes processing time per jar. 3,001-6,000 feet add 10 minutes. 6,001-8,000 feet add 15 minutes. 8,001-10,00 feet add 20 minutes.

      It'll keep in the refrigerator pretty much forever. I've used the same quart of syrup for a good six months without issues. I just use the term "immediately" because...well because all of my canning books use it really *laugh*. I just mean put it in the fridge and use it first (before like opening another jar or something). The syrup would be fine, it just can't be stored out at room temperature without sealing properly :).

      Yeah, the all natural food movement really got into maple syrup the last six years or so and so the cost keeps going up and up because of it. A pint here will cost you around 20.00 or a quart of it will sometimes (depending on the mood of pricing) cost you about the same at the bulk store. Kind of crazy.

    2. Thank you for the info!!! I had no idea there was cannnig salt, so I'm going to write this down and try and get some.

      Last year, the thing I made that was my favorite, and was SO EASY was Spiced Pear Jam. It was out of this world!! Not sure if you've ever tried it? I used this recipe, and changed to the name because I thought it sounded better LOL! It was seriously the easiest jam I've ever made. We still have a ton left

    3. *Laugh* I could see changing a name to make it sound more awesome.

      With pear jam, I love the stuff, but pears are really expensive up here (2.00+ a pound) and are usually not the best of quality. If I ever run into a good deal on them though (which does happen upon occasion) I will surely give the recipe a try! I'll definitely pin it for future reference (man I love Pinterest *laugh*).

  2. I loved your story as well, Erika. Living in Canada, I grew up going on school field trips to the sugar bush to learn how they make maple syrup. We never had it at our house, though, as it was so expensive.

    Last year we went to visit my brother in Ottawa. He made pancakes one morning and served it with real maple syrup...what a luxury! Ottawa is in Ontario but borders Quebec...the largest manufacturer of Maple syrup. He bought the liquid gold at the market downtown, but still paid a pretty penny for it. He was kind enough to let me take the rest of the bottle home. I decided to use it, mixed with equal parts honey, to make my jam last summer. Although you cannot taste the maple flavour distinctly, it sure made the flavour pop! I plan on ding the same thing again this year.

    I discovered that our Costco sells a 1 litre bottle (equal to just over 2 pints)of Maple syrup for I think about $13 (and sometimes it even goes on sale...awesome day when it does). That's as cheap as it gets for us. I've decided it's worth buying every once in a while, as long as we use it sparingly!

    1. Yeah, I got a quart on Amazon one night a couple of weeks ago for 10.00 and jumped on it (2 pints). That'll last for quite a while for my son on his pancakes and for that price I wasn't going to pass it up.

  3. Do you think i could substitute honey or molasses for the corn syrup?

    1. Molasses would be too powerful tasting, so I'd definitely say "no" on that one, but honey might work. I'd just go with 1/4 cup of honey and then increase the water by 1/4 cup though so the taste of the honey doesn't overwhelm the syrup. The honey should be dissimilar enough from the regular sugar on a molecular level to help stave off crystals forming (I think).

      You could also omit the corn syrup completely and just increase the water by 1/2 cup, but just be aware that the mixture will crystallize once opened (and sometimes it'll develop a giant sugar crystal in the jar if a wayward sugar crystal gets in, which is pretty spectacular to behold when you pour out the syrup) as it's just a simple sugar syrup at that point. How fast it crystallizes seems to vary depending on the weather and things so I can't say how long it'll go before it gets kind of grainy. Be sure to leave your lid on your pot for a good four minutes when you bring the mixture to a boil and the water will help to dissolve any wayward sugar crystals on the side of the pan. It does work I'd say about 90% of the time to stop the mixture from developing a crystal in the jar when you do that.

    2. Great, Thanks!

  4. Oh how I wished I had a canner. This sounds wonderful. What a wonderful memory and experience to have had as a child.