If you Google the word syrup, you might even find the video of a man who purees a handful of unsweetened strawberries, heats them in the microwave and calls it syrup...to each his own...when I think of syrup, I think maple...Real maple syrup can be a wonderful taste experience or it can be a bitter, over-the-top flavor disaster. My experience tells me that the more it costs, the better the real maple syrup tastes.
Growing up, I don't remember ever sweetening my pancakes or waffles with a true maple syrup. Both of my parents grew up during the depression years and, in keeping with their frugal upbringing, they just did not spend 'hard-earned' money on real maple syrup. It was a product I did not actually taste until I left home.
The syrup I remember the most, however, was the hot, sweet maple-flavored kind my mother sometimes made on Saturday mornings...she said that her mother had made it that way...we loved it in spite of its pseudo-mapleness.
Homemade syrup is easy to make, requires few ingredients and is practically foolproof. I do remember that when my dad made breakfast, he occasionally cooked the syrup too long and the sugar would form crystals on the sides of the pot. Don't do that!
If you want to be more of a gourmet...and are going to use the syrup immediately, throw in some blueberries or cut up strawberries after the sugar has melted; heat the berries through before adding the flavoring.
Bonus: I have also added a second recipe which produces a thicker syrup. I am partial to the Easy Pancake Syrup recipe, though.
2 C sugar
1 C boiling water
½ tsp Maple flavoring
Combine sugar and water. Cook until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and add flavoring. Use immediately or refrigerate. Syrup is not as thick as commercial brands. This recipe may be doubled.
Note: Buy the best maple flavoring you can find...cheap brands taste terrible.
Ladle syrup on a stack of pancakes/waffles dripping with melting butter.
Peel and slice apples or fresh peaches; sauté and simmer with butter and cinnamon until fruit is tender. Top pancakes/waffles with fruit and then add syrup.
Thick Pancake Syrup
2 T water
1/4 C sugar
1 1/2 C corn syrup
1/2 tsp maple flavoring
Measure and stir to combine all ingredients except flavoring into a small pot, heat until mixture reaches a boil. Continue boiling for 2 minutes, stir occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in flavoring until well blended. This recipe thickens as it cools. Makes 1 pint.