If you have anyone in your life who loves breakfast foods such as pancakes or waffles, this is a great gift idea. I love to gift a bottle of homemade syrup because it means that every time my friends have a nice breakfast and use the syrup, they think of me! Try this with any kind of berries, though my favorites are blackberry and blueberry. My family loves extra fruit, which means fresh blueberry pancakes with blackberry syrup~
Make this recipe in summer when local berries are plentiful and inexpensive; today though, I found blackberries two for $1, so I am making two more batches tonight~
Make a simple syrup of two cups sugar and 1 1/2 cup of water. You can substitute any kind of bottled maple syrup if you want the easy way and a touch of maple flavor. Boil the sugar and water on high heat, then toss in a handful of rosemary~
Turn the heat down to medium and stir the rosemary for about five minutes to infuse the syrup~
Add the berries to the rosemary and syrup and bring back just to a boil, stirring; then remove from heat. I use as many berries as I can get in the pan; about 4 or 5 cups. Extra berries make the syrup better and more fruity. Let the berries poach in the syrup for about half an hour off heat, on a corner of the stove; stirring occasionally and pressing the berries slightly; the berries will lose their color and juice as the syrup picks up the fruit flavor and color; I also add just a dash of vanilla extract if using the simple syrup~
Strain the solids and bottle the syrup. I use a simple fine sieve over a bowl, and I often give this job to my Mother, to keep her out of trouble while I am cooking. Stir, stir, stir I tell her. Mash the berries slightly and push the remaining juice out of the berries. She has gotten really good at straining syrup for me. You will end up with something like this~
Kerry came over for breakfast last weekend, and I served her this syrup on pancakes, which she pronounced delicious and perfect for winter with the slight infusion of rosemary. I hope you will try it for gifts this Christmas and holiday season. Embellish the tops of your bottles with ribbons and greens or fabric, the same way we did for our Holiday Libations of wine and vodka.
My friend Laura has given me a great tip, to get the glass jars at Ikea. I am off tomorrow for the $1 bottles. ..thank you, Laura!