This orange blossom syrup is a rich simple syrup flavored with orange blossom water. The perfect addition to Middle Eastern desserts or any dessert where you need more sweetness and shine! It is very easy to prepare and can be made ahead of time. A win for everyone!
In its most basic form, a sugar syrup is composed of sugar and water. The proportions will vary depending on the desired sweetness and viscosity. Simple syrup will usually call for equal amounts of sugar and water. This recipe is for a rich simple syrup where we’ll be using two parts sugar and one part water (by volume).
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Essential recipe: This orange blossom syrup will almost always come in handy when making Middle Eastern desserts. And you can skip the flavoring if you’re looking for a plain rich simple syrup.
- Minimal ingredients: You only need 4 ingredients to make this recipe: sugar, water, lemon juice and flavoring.
- Easy: All you need to do is bring the water and sugar to a boil then add a little bit of lemon juice. When the syrup has slightly thickened, remove it from the heat and stir in the flavoring. And that’s it!
- Customizable: Sugar syrup has several characteristics you can adjust based on your needs such as sweetness, viscosity, flavor. We’ll talk about these points a little more throughout the post.
How to Use Orange Blossom Syrup
The syrup is usually prepared ahead of time. It will thicken as it cools down and become even more flavorful.
Drizzle: Orange blossom syrup will add sweetness and a wonderful flavor to your desserts. Drizzle this syrup over atayef and enjoy!
Flavor cakes: Soak your namoura in it to make it incredibly moist and flavorful. As a rule of thumb, the syrup should not be at the same temperature as the cake. Pour cold syrup over the hot cake so that it is absorbed better. If using hot syrup on the other hand, it’s best to pour it over a cold cake.
- Sugar: We’ll be using white granulated sugar. It’s best to use cane sugar over beet sugar if possible, as it is less likely to crystallize and yield a grainy texture.
- Water: You’ll need water to dissolve the sugar and turn it into a syrup.
- Lemon juice: A little bit of lemon juice is added to the syrup to prevent crystallization.
- Flavoring: Orange blossom water, for a wonderful flavor. But you could also add rose water or any flavoring you like. It’s always best to add the flavoring at the very end, when the syrup has cooled down a little so the flavor doesn’t evaporate.
How to Prevent Sugar Syrup From Crystallizing
When you heat together the sugar and water, the sugar will start to dissolve and turn into a liquid. But the sugar will have a tendency to stick to other sugar molecules and crystallize, yielding a grainy syrup. This is especially likely in rich simple syrup. There is a large amount of sugar and not enough water to keep the sugar molecules apart. To prevent this from happening here are a few things you can do:
Get rid of stray sugar crystals
- Pour the water in the pot first then carefully add the sugar in the middle of the pot. Try not to get any sugar on the sides of the pot (above the water level).
- When the syrup starts to boil, cover the pot with a lid for two minutes. The steam created will condense back and wash the sides of the pot. You can then continue cooking the syrup, uncovered, without stirring it.
- Use a wet pastry brush to clean the sides of the pot if needed. Make sure the brush doesn’t touch the syrup however.
Don’t stir too much
You should occasionally stir to dissolve the sugar. But if you stir too much, you’ll be pushing the sugar molecules against each other and they will be more likely to clump together.
Add an acid
Adding a little bit of lemon juice to the syrup is a common practice. The acid breaks down some of the sugar into another form that is less likely to crystallize.
Keep an eye on the heat
Syrup cooked at a very high heat or for too long is likelier to crystallize. If you crank up the heat to speed up the process, you might have an issue. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat (not high). If you notice that the syrup is getting hot but the sugar hasn’t dissolved yet, lower the heat.
The more you heat the syrup, the more water will evaporate. This means there will be a larger concentration of sugar in the syrup and the molecules will be closer to each other.
Okay, let’s make some syrup!
- Pour the water in a small pot. Then carefully add the sugar in the middle. Try not to get any sugar on the sides of the pot to avoid crystallization.
- Bring to a boil over medium-high heat (heat 6 out of 9 for example), stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. The sugar should have dissolved before the syrup starts to boil. If you notice that the syrup is getting hot but the sugar still hasn’t dissolved, lower the heat and stir.
You should occasionally stir the water and sugar to dissolve the sugar. Don’t stir too much however, to avoid crystallization.
- When the syrup starts to boil, add the lemon juice and lower the heat to medium-low (heat 4 out of 9).
- Simmer (without stirring) for about 10 minutes or until slightly thickened then remove from the heat. Stir in the orange blossom water, preferably after the syrup has cooled down a little. Note: The hot syrup will be quite runny but will thicken as it cools down. The longer you cooked the syrup, the thicker it will be.
Testing the syrup: If you’d like to get an idea of how thick your syrup will be when it cools down, you can test it by cooling down a small portion quickly. To do so, place a small saucer in the refrigerator ahead of time so that it is cold. Using a spoon, pour a few drops of syrup on the cold saucer and gently tilt it around. If you’d like the syrup on the thick side, you can take it off the heat when the drops stay tall and move slowly. If the syrup moves very freely, it will be runny. Keep cooking it if you’d like it thicker.
- Let it cool down at room temperature then transfer to a glass container. Cover and chill until needed.