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Basic simple syrup with variations

Basic simple syrup with variations
1

Combine a cup of sugar with a cup of water in a small saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves, about 1 minute.

2

Remove it from the heat and cool.

Variations:
Vanilla simple syrup: Add half a vanilla bean to the mixture before bringing it to a boil.

Orange: Add the peel from half an orange to the mixture before bringing it to a boil; after it cools, add 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier.

Coffee: Replace the water with strong brewed coffee.

Herbs: Add a tablespoon of chopped herbs (or a few sprigs) such as rosemary or lavender.

Liqueurs or juices: Add 2 tablespoons of flavored liqueur or 1 teaspoon of an extract, or replace part of the water with fruit juice.

Caramel: Put the sugar in a medium, heavy-bottomed pan with high sides and turn the heat on high. Melt the sugar, stirring with a wooden spoon, until it’s a deep golden brown, about 7 minutes. Once golden, turn off the heat and add a cup of hot water. Watch out: It will boil up. Let the boiling subside and stir; return to low heat if any sugar solids remain. Cool.

Caramel-spice: Infuse the hot water for the caramel syrup with spices such as cinnamon or black peppercorns or even chiles. Remove or strain the spices.
The syrup can be stored in the refrigerator, covered, for weeks.

Amy Scattergood is a staff writer for the Food section of the Los Angeles Times.
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