One of my favorite ways to incorporate floral flavors into my bakes and drinks is with infused simple syrups and scented sugars. It’s such a wonderful way to elevate your flavors without overpowering the final product. Not only are they beautiful to make and attractive on a countertop, but they’re extremely easy to make.
I LOVE floral flavors. I’m always trying to find ways to incorporate them into my bakes, and even drinks!
It really is simple
Making simple syrup really is as easy as the name suggests: all you need is a 1:1 ratio of sugar to water, and a tablespoon or two of your desired flavoring. Bring the sugar and water to a light boil, and add your flavor or fresh herb. Turn off the heat, allow to steep for 30 minutes, and DONE! You now have a fancy syrup to use however you like!
Some of my favorite syrup flavors are lavender and peppermint (if you love peppermint mochas, you definitely need to make peppermint syrup!). You can also experiment with the type of sugar. Demerara sugar makes a really rich syrup with molasses notes that works fantastically in cocktails. Don’t be afraid to experiment!
What kind of flowers?
Whether you are making infused syrup, or scented sugar, it’s very important that you use flowers that are safe to eat. I don’t just mean safe as in not poisonous– make sure your flowers are not sprayed with any pesticides or chemicals, since that will also infuse into the syrup. No thanks!! This is especially important with roses, because commercial roses are often heavily sprayed before they are sold. If you have any doubts about whether or not its safe to eat your flowers, be sure to ask the merchant, or someone familiar with the provenance of the plant! This is a good excuse to start growing your own edible flowers, if you have the space for it.
Here are some herbs and flowers I recommend for using in your syrups or sugar:
- Mint (peppermint, spearmint, chocolate mint, etc. So many possibilities!)
- Lemon Verbena
- Extracts (vanilla, peppermint, orange blossom, almond, etc.)
Sugar and spice
There are a few different ways you can make your scented sugar. The first, and easiest, is to simply combine the sugar and your fresh herbs or flowers in an airtight glass jar, and store it in a cool dry place for a week or two. This will allow the flavors to really infuse. You can also infuse your sugar with teas, such as earl grey– simply open a tea bag and pulse a few times in a grinder until very fine before combining with your sugar.
If you’re a bit short on time, you can use a mortar and pestle to quickly extract the flavors of your fresh herbs before mixing with your sugar. I find that the flavor of the sugar tends to fade faster when made this way, so bear that in mind when trying to decide on a method. Use sugar made with this method within a week or so for best flavor.
Jack of all trades
Now you know how to make infused simple syrups and sugars; so what do you do with them?
Try using simple syrups and infused sugars to flavor your favorite beverages, and cocktails. Sprinkle some scented sugar on top of your bakes for a special touch, or use your infused syrups for drizzle cakes. The possibilities are truly endless.
I hope this de-mystifies simple syrups and scented sugars! I can’t wait to see what flavoring ideas you come up with– be sure to leave me a comment below, and tag me on instagram so I can see what you make!