Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Syrup Fiasco of 2010

I woke up this morning and had the brilliant idea to make Scone Syrup. (See recipe below.) It calls for buttermilk and since I had most of a ½ gallon of buttermilk that needed to be used within 2 days, I took the challenge to cook up a big batch.

My problem is not cooking. I love cooking. My problem is math. You see I have an English degree. Math makes me nervous. Fractions make me even more nervous. Following recipes is not a problem as long as I stick to the recipe. I get into trouble when I quadruple or multiply a recipe by 6 or 8. (Anyone know the lingo for multiplying by 6 or 8?)

I try to add the fractions in my head and get confused and this causes cooking grief. Long ago my mom told me not to add the fractions, but just decide how many times I wanted a make a recipe. For example, if a recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar and I want to quadruple it, I would add 4 cups of sugar to the bowl. The same works for fractions. If a recipe calls for ½ cup of buttermilk, I would just fill my ½-measuring cup four times (if I were quadrupling it) and add it to the bowl. Make sense?

This morning I decided to multiply the syrup recipe by 8. What was I thinking? I was thinking I would use all of that grody buttermilk no one remembers why we purchased in the first place.

My son, Josh, was on the couch watching a DVD, and the hubby was asleep. Our two dogs were hovering around my feet in the kitchen, hoping to get a treat. I began combining ingredients.

I haven’t made syrup since wintertime, so I was a little rusty. I knew I need a big pot just for doubling the recipe, and thought that multiplying the recipe by 8 my biggest pot will be fine. Not even close.

Everything went fine until it started to boil. The beautiful caramel colored syrup must boil for 5 minutes. So it started to boil and I set the timer. I was still thinking it would be fine. It was fluffy and bubbling and then began to overflow my biggest pot. I yelled for Josh to help.

Josh ran in and his eyes grew as big as hubcaps. “Mom! What are you doing?” he yelled.

“Open the cupboard!” I call. “Grab the next biggest pot! Hurry!”

Josh ripped open the cupboard, grabbed the next biggest pot and we scooped boiling syrup into the next biggest pot. That pot began to boil. I sensed that once again, I would need another pot. Crap! I grabbed yet another pot and scooped syrup out of the second pot into the third pot, all while stirring the first huge pot.

As I stirred and monitored all three pots, I realized the third pot is going to overflow. Too late. It overflowed. Because it was sitting on the front burner, it overflowed down the front of the stove and onto the floor. I decided no more pots, it was too late, and kept stirring what pots I had. I would clean the mess up later.

In the meantime, our dogs went nuts. They thought they had hit the food jackpot. They were slipping and sliding all over the syrupy tile floor in front of the stove. They licked the floor, they licked the stove, and they licked the cupboards the syrup was flowing down. I tried not to gag and promised myself I would scour everything when this nightmare was over.

Finally the timer dings. My five minutes of hell have ended. I gently kicked the dogs away, removed the sticky pots from the stove, poured the syrup into containers and surveyed the damage. It was bad, really bad.

The dogs went right back to licking the stove, cupboards, and floor. One dog, Oscar, had syrup all over his head. The other dog Snoopy noticed, and began licking Oscar’s head. I rolled my eyes. I caused this chaos with my stubborn stupidity.

I called faithful Josh into the kitchen and begged for his help. He sensed my desperation and asked what he could do. I handed him paper towels, a rag, and some Ajax and we got to work.

After excusing the dogs from the kitchen, we wiped down the floor, pulled the stove out from between the cupboards, and each took a side. Once the sides were clean, I began scrubbing off the hardened syrup on the burner top. What started as a hideous chore became funny to us. We laughed and talked until everything was clean. (Let’s face it, the sides of the stove needed a good scrubbing anyway.)

The syrup fiasco of 2010 ended on a light note, until we remembered the dogs. They were filthy with syrup. (See picture below. It doesn't do their filth justice though.) I sighed and asked Josh to grab the car washing towels from the garage. We had two dirty dogs to wash.


Scone Syrup

1 c sugar

½ c buttermilk

½ c butter (1 stick)

1 T Caro Syrup

½ tsp baking soda

1 tsp vanilla

Mix all ingredients in big pot EXCEPT THE VANILLA. Stir it as needed. When the syrup begins to boil set your timer for 5 minutes. Keep stirring. When the 5 minutes are up add the vanilla and whisk the syrup. Let it cool for a minute or two and then place in containers. Store in the fridge.


Dirty dogs


  1. Oh man. That sounds like a scene from a movie. A funny movie.

  2. I've made that stuff - and yes, it boiled over on my stove too.