Does Simple Syrup Thicken As It Cools?

Choose how much syrup you want to produce and how thick you want it to be to figure out how much cold water and granulated sugar you’ll need.

Fill a pot with cold water that is large enough and tall enough to hold the amount of syrup you wish to produce. In a saucepan, combine the cold water and sugar and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, swirling constantly to help dissolve the sugar. When the mixture reaches a boil, reduce the heat to low and continue to whisk gently for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the sugar is dissolved. The longer you heat the syrup, the thicker it will become, but it shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes.

Allow the syrup to cool before pouring it into a firmly sealed glass jar. Your syrup will keep for at least six months in the refrigerator. The longer the syrup lasts, the thicker it is.

Does simple syrup solidify?

When enough sugar molecules cling to each other and become insoluble in water, simple syrup crystallizes. The chances of sugar molecules aggregating and crystallizing in a syrup made with a high 2:1 ratio of sugar to water (commonly referred to as a rich syrup) are considerable.

We prepared three batches of rich syrup by boiling 2 cups sugar and 1 cup water, then adding substances that ostensibly inhibit crystallization—1/4 teaspoon lemon juice and 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar—to two batches and leaving the third batch alone. We noticed crystals in the control room within 24 hours. The additives bought us additional time, but crystals started to emerge after 48 hours. Increasing the amount of these ingredients helped, but it affected the flavor profile too much.

We needed to figure out why these additions helped in order to come up with a better solution. In a process known as inversion, acids like cream of tartar and lemon juice can break down sugar molecules into glucose and fructose. Not only were there fewer sugar molecules available to cluster together in our doctored syrups, but the newly added glucose and fructose were also physically inhibiting the remaining sugar molecules from interacting with one another.

So all we had to do was find a way to invert enough sugar without affecting the flavor. After some study, we came to the conclusion that continuous heat exposure was the culprit. Instead of simply bringing the syrup to a boil, simmering it for 10 minutes inverted enough sugar without harming the flavor.

Here’s how we do it: In a medium saucepan, bring 2 cups granulated sugar and 1 cup water to a simmer. Continue to cook the syrup, covered, for another 10 minutes before allowing it to cool entirely. The syrup will keep for at least two weeks in the refrigerator without crystallizing.

Can you overcook simple syrup?

Jenni, the solution is that you can simply add additional water to an overheated candy syrup to repair it. When you boil sugar syrup below the caramelization temperature, the only thing that happens is the water content decreases.

Should my simple syrup be thick?

  • Measure the sugar: If you want to make simple sugar syrup using the cold technique, you’ll need superfine/powdered (homemade) sugar. When measuring by volume, keep in mind that the finer granules will yield more sugar. When I create powdered sugar, I measure the granulated sugar before powdering it.
  • What is simple syrup’s consistency? It’s fairly thin and pourable (nowhere near as thick as maple syrup even). Rich simple syrup, on the other hand, will be thicker than standard simple syrup.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil and allow some of the water to evaporate for a richer syrup. This will result in a thicker syrup, but it will also modify the water-to-sugar ratio.
  • Making flavored simple syrups: you can flavor your syrup in a variety of ways, including vanilla and other herbs and spices, alcohol, fruits, and so on. Mint, rosemary, lavender, cinnamon, citrus, and ginger are some of my favorites! The type of sugar you choose will alter the flavor as well; for caramel notes, I like to use brown sugar simple syrup.
  • To sterilize your jar/bottle, wash it in hot soapy water and rinse it thoroughly. Then dry the jars entirely in a preheated oven at 160oC/325oF for 10 minutes (no rubber or plastic parts).
  • If you need it right now, the cold process might be the best option. It’s preferable to let the heated simple syrup cool completely before using it, which will take some time.

How long does it take simple syrup to work?

In a small sauce saucepan over medium high heat, combine the sugar and water. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently. It will take about 10 minutes to ensure that the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and cool completely before refrigerating in an airtight container for up to a month.

How do you cool down simple syrup?

The syrup won’t be ruined if you cook the sugar and water together, but it will take longer to heat. The water does not need to be brought to a boil. Allow the syrup to cool after the sugar has dissolved. Keep it refrigerated for two to three weeks in a glass container.

Does sugar syrup Harden?

Cooking sugar to a syrup is required in many recipes, including buttercreams and meringues. Others, such as caramel sauces, require the sugar to be cooked until it turns a deep golden or brown hue.

Sugar syrup (liquid sugar) can thicken and re-crystallize if not heated carefully, spoiling the recipe. Follow these simple guidelines to keep sugar from crystallizing as it cooks:

  • Use a clean pot or pan at all times. Sugar grains in the syrup will cling to any particles remaining on the pan and crystallize into a solid mass. Make sure there are no dust or particulates in the pan.
  • As the sugar warms, use a pastry brush to wash away any sugar that adheres to the sides of the pot or pan. As the sugar begins to bubble, it will spray against the pan’s sides; if left alone, this sugar will harden and crystallize, forcing the remainder of the sugar to crystallize as well. The sugar can be washed away with a damp brush to prevent it from becoming a problem.
  • Before boiling, mix the sugar with a little water (it should have the consistency of wet sand). You don’t have to do this; sugar may be cooked without it, but I think that the water helps to melt the sugar more evenly and easily, which is especially helpful for novice cooks.
  • When the sugar reaches a simmer, don’t stir it. Sugar is fickle, and it can treat a spoon or spatula (or any other foreign object, such as a thermometer) as particles, causing it to crystallize.
  • Using a lid or a baking sheet, loosely cover the pan. A loose cover works to temporarily trap the steam in the pan as the sugar cooks and the water evaporates; the steam will assist keep the edges of the pan clean, similar to using a moistened pastry brush. As the sugar cooks, leaving the lid ajar will enable some steam to escape.
  • Before cooking, add a little acid (such as a pinch of lemon juice) or corn syrup to the sugar-water combination to assist prevent crystallization.

Don’t be concerned if your sugar crystallizes in the pan. It’s happened to all of us at some point. Simply fill the pan halfway with water and bring to a boil; the water will release the solidified sugar and make cleaning the pan simpler before you try again.

Can you reheat simple syrup?

If your simple syrup has crystallized, don’t despair; there’s still a chance you can rescue it.

The best technique to avoid crystal formation is to make sure all of the sugar granules have been completely dissolved and stabilized. If your mixture starts to crystalize, try reheating it.

Before using the batch again, make sure all those crystals are completely dissolved. To avoid further agitation, reheat the syrup over a low-medium heat setting.

This also means that you should never stir the mixture in an attempt to remove the grains. Also, don’t heat the syrup in the microwave because it can not heat uniformly, causing existing crystals to agitate even more.

Unfortunately, there isn’t always much that can be done to rescue your combination, and saving it may not be worth the time and effort.