DIY Last Minute Gifts: 2 Seasonal Syrups (1 diabetic-friendly, 1 traditional)

My parents spend the holidays with close friends out of town and I wanted to send something along with them for these old family friends....

My parents spend the holidays with close friends out of town and I wanted to send something along with them for these old family friends. My mom suggested I make them gifts -- ideally something edible and festive. I was inspired by a recent post by Sarah B of My New Roots. Sarah published a post last week about making infused syrups for gifts. I really liked that idea and decided that I would give it a go on Sunday.

One of my parents' friends is diabetic so I used the opportunity as a chance to create a maple-syrup-free syrup for him. The syrup came out great and very mapley with no maple in sight. It is sweetened with low-GI sweeteners suitable for diabetics and coconut water (which actually has been shown to improve diabetes). The syrup gets its maple flavor from the strangest place -- FENUGREEK! When steeped, fenugreek pods give a maple like flavor and strong aroma. I thickened the syrup by adding a little tapioca starch which worked like a charm. Once the mixture cooled it was a really maple like and delicious. I found some great blue jars at a kitchen store and filled one up for a pretty presentation.

Though my "maple" syrup is lovely, I wanted to make another more seasonal syrup for his wife who is not diabetic. I decided to infuse a large amount of organic maple syrup with flavors of gingerbread. Cloves, cinnamon, vanilla bean, molasses and anise made their way into the jar, along with the maple and some coconut water to thin it out a bit. I stored it in the fridge overnight and by morning when I took a whiff of the syrup it smelled like I 'd been baking gingerbread men.

The best part about these two syrups is that they are simple, thoughtful and easy to prepare.You can pour them on anything from oatmeal to pancakes and the blue bottles make them a pretty holiday gift too. The ingredients are easy to find and you can make these syrups in a flash for last-minute holiday gifts or for yourself this holiday season.

Gingerbread Maple Syrup
(vegan, gluten-free)
  • 1.5 cups Coconut Water
  • 2-3 tbsp Blackstrap Molasses
  • 1 tbsp Vanilla Extract

Mix together with a whisk in a bowl.

  • 5 star anise pods
  • 1 tbsp whole cloves
  • 1 tbsp fenugreek
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean powder

Add to a large sealable decorative drink vessel.

  • PART 1  mixture
  • Maple Syrup

Add all ingredients to fill the jar (not too full though). I recommend using a small funnel to add the liquid to the jar. Seal the jar and give it a good shake. Store in fridge before giving as gift.

It’s Not Maple Syrup
(low-GI, suitable for diabetics, gluten-free, vegan)
Part 1
  • 5-6 cups coconut water
  • 1/4 cup fenugreek pods
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 heaping tbsp lucuma powder (optional)
  • ¼ cup dark coconut sugar
  • ½ tsp pure stevia leaf powder or a few drops stevia liquid

Part 2
  • 4 tbsp tapioca starch
  • 1/4 cup coconut water
Bring to Part 1 ingredients to a boil over medium-high heat in a large pot. Stir often. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium and allow to simmer 5 minutes, stirring. Strain the mixture into another pot and bring back to a simmer.
Mix together Part 2 ingredients thoroughly in a small bowl until smooth. Add to simmering mixture, whisk well and bring to a boil over high heat. Let boil 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low and whisk until thickened slightly. Turn heat off. When the mixture is room temperature, use a funnel to add to large decorative drink bottle. Seal and refrigerate.

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