[post by Holly]
Simple syrup is exactly the same sugary stuff that coffee shops use to sweeten their iced tea and coffees. If you want to buy a bottle of Starbucks Classic Syrup, it will cost you about $11, maybe more and it probably has some sort of preservative added.
This is just sugar and water, super easy to make and sooooo cheap! Use it in anything you don't want sugar crystals floating around in, I use it in iced tea, iced coffee and smoothies. You can use it for alcoholic mixed drinks as well.
All you need is a pot and whisk, sugar and water and something to put your simple syrup in! The basic simple syrup recipe is 1 part sugar with 1 part water. You can make it 2:1 if you want.
Right here I'm going with 2 cups water and 2 cups sugar and I store mine in a reusable 710ml bottle once it's done.
I like to put hot water into my pot so that my sugar starts dissolving right away. Put your pot of sugar and water on your burner and set it to medium and stir, stir, stir. You don't want any of the sugar to stick to the bottom of the pot and burn and you don't want it to get to a rolling boil. Hot sugar burns almost as badly as hot oil! You also don't want it to get too hot and start to caramelize.
Once you can't see any sugar bits floating around you can turn your burner down to low and leave it to evaporate and thicken up a bit. The sugar will crystallize on the sides of the pot as it evaporates so you will be able to tell how much your mix has gone down. I let mine go for about an hour and it's gone down about half an inch so it's probably nice and concentrated.
Take you pot off your burner and let it cool down before you attempt to pour it into your container, you don't want to melt any plastic! If you're impatient or you decided to undertake this late at night then you can give the pot a cold water bath. Just put a couple inches of cold water in your sink and float the pot in it while stirring. This should cool it down quite rapidly.
Now you're done*, just pour it into your labeled container and keep a lid on it so it doesn't evaporate or crystallize. Store at room temperature.
* To make flavored simple syrup add a couple drops of whatever baking extract you want, peppermint, almond, or vanilla after it has cooled. Just pick your favorite coffee shop flavor!