Oh yeah, we are in full swing fall time right now. Have you seen the fall foliage prediction map? I shared it on my Facebook and Pinterest, because I don’t want anyone to miss out on those glorious fall colors. Unless you live in Alaska. In which case, it might be too late. My dad sent us some photos of the snowfall from last night and…well, it looks like fall is over there. But in the rest of the U.S., we have some time.
If you ever wanted to bottle up autumn and then drink it – this is the syrup for you. I was inspired by a combination of my Triple Vanilla Syrup and the ubiquitous Pumpkin Spice Latte – only this syrup doesn’t have any pumpkin in it. I decided to skip the pumpkin all together and just go with the good stuff: The spices. And oh man, we have spices here. Just like in pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon is a major player. But I didn’t want the rest of the spices to be overshadowed, because that’s what makes this AUTUMN SPICE syrup and not just cinnamon syrup.
I went with most of the same spices found in pumpkin pie spice, such as nutmeg, allspice, cloves and ginger. I ended up using crystallized ginger but fresh ginger would also work. I also wanted to add a little something extra. So I decided to throw in some cardamom. Cardamom is something often used in chai, and it has a very distinct, aromatic and kind of citrusy flavor. It can be a little difficult to find the whole pods, but it is worth it. I ended up finding all of the spices at Whole Foods. To allow the cardamom to give the best flavor, it should be lightly crushed to break them open and allow the seeds to be exposed. I used a mortar and pestle, but if you don’t have one I would suggest putting them in a plastic baggie and crushing them with a glass or bowl.
After crushing the cardamom, place it and all the other spices in a pan and toast them over medium heat for about a minute – watch carefully so that you don’t burn them. If you are using fresh ginger instead of crystallized ginger, don’t put it in until you add the water. The spices will become fragrant very quickly, then add the sugar and water (and fresh ginger, if using). I decided to do half brown sugar and half white sugar, because the brown sugar gives a really nice, deep molasses flavor.
Allow the mixture to almost come to a boil, then reduce heat and let it simmer for at least twenty minutes. The longer you let the spices infuse, the stronger the flavor will be. I thought that letting it steep only twenty minutes gave it a very subtle flavor, and I wanted it to be stronger, so I let mine infuse longer. Thirty or forty-five minutes will give it a stronger flavor.
By this time your house is going to smell AMAZING. Strain the syrup and store in a sealed container in the fridge.
This syrup will give your coffee or beverage of choice some extra warmth on those cold mornings that are coming up.
Autumn Spice Syrup
- 3 whole cinnamon sticks
- 1 whole nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons crystallized ginger or sliced fresh ginger
- 2 teaspoons whole cloves
- 2 teaspoons whole allspice berries
- 5-6 whole cardamom pods
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups water
- Lightly crush cardamom pods so that seeds are exposed.
- Place cardamom, cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, cloves, allspice and crystallized ginger (if using fresh ginger, add in next step) in a medium pot and toast over medium heat for 30-60 seconds.
- When spices are fragrant, add two cups of water and brown and white sugar to pot.
- Turn heat to high and allow to just barely come to a boil, stirring often to make sure sugar dissolves. When it starts to boil, immediately reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for at least 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove from heat. If you would prefer a stronger flavor, allow to steep for another 10-30 minutes.
- Add vanilla extract and strain to remove whole spices.
- Transfer to a seal able container and store in refrigerator.
- Add to coffee or other drinks for a warm, fall flavor.
What kind of fun fall activities do you have planned in the next few weeks? Mr. Briar and I are talking about visting Mt. Rainier, and then of course there is the very necessary pumpkin patch and apple picking trips (I think they are necessary, Mr. Briar may disagree – but since he is the world’s greatest husband, he does it anyway <3). Do you have annual traditions that you do every year?