Friday, May 13, 2011

Homemade Corn Syrup/Sugar, sugar.

How many times have you vetoed a recipe because you have no access to a particular ingredient?

Annoying things that'll have you running up and down the Fancy Food aisles of upmarket grocery stores. Cream cheese, sour cream, sriratcha sauce, masa harina, vanilla beans. You usually don't find it (or it costs roughly one-fourth of your monthly salary). Instead, you find yourself lusting over Quaker's Brown Sugar and Maple Syrup Oatmeal priced at ten times the price they're sold at the USA, and you just leave frustrated or poorer or both.

So if the mountain won't come to you... you make a mountain out of molehole-esque ingredients. That would be whipping cream turning into ricotta cheese, buttermilk made with milk and vinegar and hanging yogurt in muslin cloth in hopes of getting cream cheese.

Oh. And corn syrup. Don't get me started.

You know what that is, don't you? High-fructose corn syrup finds itself in everything from chocolate syrups to donut glaze; a direct aetiology for Diabetes and Cardiovascular diseases. Oh, come on. You know it. The puerile poison that gets ass-whupped by Orgo-moms? The one that gets whisked into shiny frostings by the voluptuous, gorgeous Nigella Lawson? She calls it golden syrup, instructing you throatily to add it to the kee-lo of chocolate and a litre of double cream, demonstrating how to sensuously massage it out of the Squeezee bottle. Which I find funny as hell. She's a sort of cooking guru, don't get me wrong. But after seasons of Nigella Feasts, Express and Christmas/Forever Summers, I've realized that spandex and semi-flattering cardigans probably find a place in my near future, too.

Back to corn syrup/golden syrup.

Yeah, a teaspoonful isn't going to kill you. If that's the only teaspoon of corn syrup you'll consume the whole year. Anyway, we're from the land of Gulab Jamuns... corn syrup is simply a malleable version of the sugar-syrup. And if you can have that, you can have this, and <insert similar nonsensical justification></insert similar nonsensical justification>

A teaspoonful might kill your allowance/PG college fund, though. A teeny bottle of the stuff is priced more than my monthly college-transport-allowance. First class train pass, that too.

So I googled and googled and came up with a simple, surefire way to make corn syrup. Sure fire can also be quite literally taken. Especially if you're rubbish at things like gas-rings and boiling sugar and steamy May Madras kitchens. Keep ice-cubes, Burnol and the phone ready.

However. If you're moderately adroit with a pair of tongs and the possessor of a calm temperament and non-heat-conducting wooden spoon, you'll make corn syrup sneeringly-easily.

Homemade corn syrup:

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
a pinch of cream of tartar*
a pinch of salt

*cream of tartar keeps the whole thing from crystallizing. I skipped it and it turned out fine.


In a small pan, mix together the water, the sugar and the salt. Bring it to a furious boil.

Turn the heat to Sim (low-simmer), close the pan with a lid. Wait for 2-3 minutes.

Take a small teaspoonful. Drop it into a glass of ice-cold water. If it forms a ball and sinks to the bottom of the glass, the syrup is done.

Use as required in your recipes. The consistency is that of... melted glass? So don't worry if it's all sticky on you, that's how it supposed to be.

 See? Corn syrup in a jiffy! Incidentally, jiffy=1/100th of a second. Who said sugar and sugar-related posts make you dull, any way?

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