Monday, November 25, 2013

Chili-Infused Maple Syrup


There Will Be Spicy Syrup

So, I'd infused some syrups a little while back and one of the ideas I'd been pitched at the time was a chili-infused syrup, which was something I could certainly get behind. The next step was to make it and make it taste good. I also wanted it to be made with as little effort as the cinnamon and vanilla bean syrups that I had made.

My first attempt got a lot of attention. It seems that spicy syrup was something the people wanted, so I was more determined to make it happen and to make enough of it to go around. My good friend Sean was even in on the act, infusing his own syrups, and was waiting to hear how the spicy version went before starting his own.

"We need to have spicy syrup," he declared. I agreed.

As with the other syrups, I brought whole dry red chilies and a liter of Grade A maple syrup to a boil and then immediately lowered the heat to a simmer for about 20 minutes. When the syrup cooled to room temperature I transferred the syrup and peppers to a clean jar and put it away.

A few days passed and I tried the syrup. Nothing. A week. Nothing. I'd wondered if the syrup would be able to penetrate the dried skin of the pepper and the answer was "no". Sean and I kicked ideas around over the phone and I decided that the simple way wasn't going to give us the results that we'd wanted, NAY, needed, at least not in a decent amount of time. It was time to make some spicy syrup the hard way.

Taking the syrup I'd already boiled with the chilies and a funnel, I added a quarter cup of ground red chili flakes and mixed them inside the bottle. The next day, being careful to taste only the syrup itself and not the chili flakes, it was already spicy. Of course, this meant that I would need to strain the liter of syrup through cheesecloth, and also that the whole chilies that are now sticky with syrup will just be decorative bits in the bottles, but after a couple of weeks the syrup is HOT. I already have to make another batch, as the number of friends and relatives requesting gift bottles for the holidays has increased as word of my victory has spread. HUZZAH!

Pancakes just became a lot more fun.