Blackberries are everywhere in our valley during the months of August, September with some varieties still producing in October. We love to hate these invasive brambles when clearing property or weeding the garden but come late-summer we pick all we can stuff into our mouths and into the freezer.
We eat a lot of pancakes in our house… and by a lot, I mean at least 4 times a week. The boys both know how to make them so not only do we enjoy them as a breakfast option, they make them any time they are hungry (and with boys, that is much of the time). Keeping a container of homemade multi-grain pancake mix on hand at all times is a requirement in my kitchen.
With all those pancakes, I never liked the idea of drowning them in syrup. We try to go easy on the syrup but also add fun toppings like whipped cream and peanut butter. Our favorite topping is fresh berries but a close second is homemade berry syrup. I call it syrup, but basically it is just cooked down berries with vanilla and a tiny bit of sugar added. Berry syrup can be created with any type of berry, fresh or frozen. It is so easy, it doesn’t even merit its own recipe.
In a small saucepan add some berries (okay for you bean-counters out there… I’ll say 3 cups). Heat berries on medium-high heat until you hear a bit of a sizzle. Reduce to medium heat and cook until berries are juicy (5-15 minutes depending on if they were fresh or frozen). Add a bit of sugar or honey (2 tablespoons to 1/2 cup… depends on taste you are after) and stir until sugar is dissolved. We don’t mind our syrup on the runny side but if you want to thicken it a bit, dissolve 1 tablespoon of cornstarch in 2 tablespoons of cold water and then slowly add it to the bubbling fruit. Cook this an additional 5 minutes and it will be nice and thick. Last, add 1 teaspoon vanilla or 1/2 teaspoon almond extract if desired. Keep refrigerated or freeze for long-term storage.
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