Monday, January 21, 2013

Fun in (Jess') kitchen...

So we were in Texas recently... (we seem to make those trips pretty frequently these days, primarily because my daughter Jess and her wonderful husband Joe have produced the world's most adorable baby -- Evangeline!) 

...anyway, Jess (and her friend Hannah) are fearless crafters and innovators. Jess spotted a recipe on a blog for flavor-infused syrups for coffee, which seemed like a simple enough project for us to tackle in between snuggling the baby, changing diapers, feeding, cooking, etc. The recipe is from A Beautiful Mess, one of Jess' favorite DIY blogs, but a new one to me. 

The ingredients needed were fairly simple, with the exception of lavender buds for the lavender-brown sugar syrup (yum, right?) We made the trek to Central Market in Fort Worth where we did in fact find lavender buds in the bulk tea section. 

I'm not sure where they could be obtained in the greater Northeast Louisiana area -- Vieux Carre in Monroe maybe? A quick google search revealed that you can order them from Amazon (who knew?). The other ingredients were fairly simple to assemble -- sugar, brown sugar, honey, vanilla and water! We also scooted over to World Market for some simple dispensers -- we found small olive oil dispensers with tops that would close (freshness!) We also picked up a sheet of chalkboard adhesive tags to use as labels. (And I had a 15% off coupon!)

So, here's the cast of characters:

For the Lavender-Brown Sugar Syrup, the recipe calls for equal parts water and brown sugar with 1-2 Tablespoons of lavender buds, depending on your taste for the floral/aromatic quality (we went big!)
Simmer for 20 minutes, then strain the lavender buds as you pour the syrup into the dispenser.

The Honey Syrup was super-simple. Equal parts honey and water, again, simmered for 20 minutes. (It gives a honey flavor in a consistency that's easier to mix with coffee. It's extremely subtle -- I liked it best in hot tea.)

And the Vanilla Syrup was 2 cups sugar and 2 cups water with 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract. (They recommended the clear kind -- we just had the dark. Turned out fine, although after tasting, I think it needs more vanilla. I'd double it. I may try to add some to the already prepared syrup, but I'm not sure how that will turn out. *update* -- added more extract, mixed well and it definitely enhanced the vanilla flavor! Loved it!) Again, simmer for 20 minutes then pour into your dispenser.

We (and by "we" I mean Jess) brewed coffee for the three of us (Hannah joined the festivities by this point) and frothed some milk in the microwave for a little lavender-flavored latte. The scent was heavenly and the taste was subtle, but nice. I found that I wanted lavender syrup then a touch of just regular sugar to get the right amount of sweetness without being overpowered by the lavender. It really was delicious. 

Now that we know how easy (and yummy) it is, we think they would make cute gifts -- don't you?

Thanks to the girls of A Beautiful Mess for the inspiration, and to Jess for orchestrating the project, and taking the pictures (while I snuggled the baby). 

Now, maybe I should invite someone over for coffee...
"Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay." 1 Peter 4:9 (or a cup of coffee?)

1 comment:

Hannah Crain said...

This post is most fantastic! I bought some twinnings English breakfast tea in preparation for downton last night! Im certain lavender is just what I need to add to my cup o' tea! Jolly good day to you and yours!