By Erica H.
I couldn't agree more with Nora's assessment that it is CIDER SEASON (though I would probably leave the qualifier off of "fairly obsessed"), and therefore time for all the cidery deliciousness to be mine. If you're anything like me, you'll cozy up with a big mug of that mulled cider and think: this is a flavor that should be in everything I eat. Good news! I have discovered a way to make our dreams come true.
Last Christmas I received a bottle of boiled cider syrup from my mother, who was inspired by the Apple Cider Cream Pie I had made at Thanksgiving. I believe this was an effort to encourage me to revisit said delicious pie by giving me a shortcut on one of the steps. (The cider-boiling one, specifically.) This will likely be an effective strategy!
But it will also leave me with quite a bit of leftover syrup. I'm certainly not at a loss applications--I mean, what wouldn't taste good with condensed apple cider all over it? Pancakes, toast, ice cream, oatmeal, lasagna. The obvious things. But I did glance around the internet just in case I was missing anything.
In its interesting article on the history and usage of boiled syrup, the Washington Post notes that in the past, boiled syrup was used in a similar way that honey is now--to sweeten things like baked beans and fruitcake, for example. This syrup = honey idea made me determined to add a dollop to my next cup of Apple Cider Tea, thereby creating MEGACIDER tea. (Or I could, you know, use it to bind my mincemeat. Whatever.) If it's easier for you to come by large quantities of cider, there is a recipe to make your own syrup, along with a suggestion that you use it to sweeten mashed sweet potatoes, glaze roasted vegetables, or add an interesting note to a vinaigrette.
Who are we kidding, though? The rest of that bottle is going right into Apple Cider Caramels.