Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Lavender Syrup

Kakao Chocolate has been serving ice cream since this past April or so. And because we would be serving ice cream in the Maplewood Kakao store, we needed toppings to go with it.
Serendipity makes the ice cream, we make the toppings.
A chocolate shop would require a good chocolate sauce, of course. Caramel (burnt and salted) is also necessary.
Additionally, seasonal fruit sauces and compotes are necessary when offering ice cream, and with a farmers' market right down the street a couple days a week, why not utilize the convenience of fresh fruit?
Strawberry-rhubarb, fresh peach, there's been a blackberry sauce...

Lavender syrup is a little different. I'm aware it's not going to be one of the first things that comes to mind when one thinks of ice cream.  I know it's not everyone's cup of tea- but it could be if you would give it a chance. Sometimes you need to try something different, folks.
Be a little adventurous!

We normally have plenty of dried, food-grade lavender buds in the shop for the lavender truffles.
As I am a fan of lavender and like to find different things to do with it, I wanted to try using it to make syrup to offer for ice cream. It took a couple tries, mostly for texture and technique, but it ended up working out.

In the end, lavender is infused into a simple syrup and yields a delicate and flavorful, clear, pale mauve syrup.

While corn syrup isn't going to be everyone's most favorite ingredient, it does serve a purpose. In the confectionery world corn syrup helps to inhibit crystallization. Not much is needed, but it keeps the syrup in a free-flowing state. Who wants grainy syrup?
As long as it doesn't end up growing sugar crystals, the consistency of this syrup is similar to a light honey.

Syrup is a versatile ingredient in the desert world.
It can be used over pound cake (perhaps with some whipped cream and fresh strawberries), as the syrup for an Italian soda, drizzled over fresh fruit (blueberries?), as part of a trifle, or between layers of cake.

My favorite, however, is spooned over good vanilla ice cream and with a sprinkle of delicate flakey salt on top, such as fleur de sel or Cyprus black lava salt. However, if I had to choose, I would go with the black salt since it offers a visual treat in addition to the gustatory.
Yes, salt on ice cream.
The contrast is amazing, and the bit of salt makes all the flavors really stand out.

I will caution that if you've never done something like this before, do be careful when adding the salt. It's easier to add more than it is to take it away.

Dried lavender can be found at Dean & Deluca as well as at Penzey's. Certian gourmet grocery stores may carry it with the herbs and spices.

Lavender Syrup
makes about 1 1/4 c

1 1/4 c sugar
1 c water
2 T corn syrup
1/3 c food grade dried lavender buds (preferably organic)

Place all ingredients in a saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until the sugar has completely melted. Once the sugar has melted, stop stirring. Continue cooking the mixture and bring to a boil. Wash down the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in a small dish of cool water as necessary (it should probably be done a few times during the course of cooking). This will help prevent sugar crystals from forming in the syrup.  
When the syrup mixture reaches 223 degrees F, remove the pan from the heat and cover with a cocked lid. Let the lavender buds steep in the syrup for 15 minutes. 
Strain the finished syrup through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl (if you want the syrup to be completely clear, without little lavender specks, place a few layers of cheesecloth into the strainer before pouring the syrup through). Do not scrape the sides of the pan after pouring the syrup through the strainer- this is another bit of insurance against crystallization. 
Press on the lavender buds in the strainer to extract as much flavor and syrup as possible. 
Let the syrup cool completely and use or store for later use. 
Lavender syrup can be stored in a glass jar in the refrigerator at least a month. 


  1. What a surprise!
    I have been to Kakao and even had this delicious sauce. I think Jenny helped me and added the marshmallow fluff before the lavender syrup and then topped it w/ salt.
    If I made this beautiful syrup and had to use grocery store "good " vanilla ice cream ----what brand is your favorite?

  2. I use this phrase a lot on your blog, but this sounds amazing!!! This is a great excuse to make a quick stop to Kakao.


  3. Yes, the marshmallow fluff is a good addition, too (also made in-house).
    I think my favorite "good" grocery store ice cream would be Haagen-Dazs five vanilla bean.

    Thanks, Ashley. Even if you're not able to make it yourself, we would probably have it at the store.
    (I suppose it would be much quicker that way if you're in the area anyway...)

  4. Every one at Kakao is so nice---very helpful!
    I love to see the candy being made in house.
    thanks for highlighting the store.