Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Homemade Sno-Cone Syrup

Homemade snowball syrup is as easy as a simple syrup made from boiled sugar and water and a package of your favorite flavor of unsweetened, powdered Kool-Aid mix.

Homemade Sno-Cone Syrup

Yes, I know it's not exactly summer quite yet, but we're kinda stuck with that in-between wacky weather season right now. For instance, yesterday it was so hot and humid here it might as well have been mid-summer. At the same time, I heard the weatherman say nighttime temperatures are forecast to drop into the mid-40s later this week, somewhere around here in South Mississippi. So, I'm vacillating between wanting beans and soup and comfort food casseroles and, well... things like summer drinks and ice cream. You might already know about this easy "recipe," or maybe you don't, but I'm actually posting it today because I needed to make up a syrup for another recipe that's coming soon, so sno-cones are on the menu today!

It also gives me a chance to talk about one of my favorite summertime memories growing up - Milles Snow Cone stand. If you're at all familiar with the territory in Biloxi, Milles was located at the foot of Caillavet Street where the old, old Back Bay bridge once stood, a bridge later relegated to a fishing pier once the new bridge came up, and sadly finished off by Hurricane Katrina.

It was a very narrow, two lane bridge that my high school drivers ed teacher actually made me travel over in the student driver car, at the inexperienced driving age of 16. With a white knuckled, 10 and 2 grip on the wheel, that was probably the most nervous I've ever been driving, second only to the first time I crossed over the old Huey P. Long bridge - 135 feet above the Mississippi River and right slap adjacent to a railroad bridge in New Orleans. Try driving that at night with a train coming at you at what looks like head on. And, when the train crossed, the bridge swayed. Pure terror. Anyway, in today's terms, the location where Milles would be, is right on the Back Bay, between the Imperial Palace Casino and the I-110 overpass.

Even though it was all the way across town from where I lived as a teenager, we spent an awful lot of time swimming and hanging out on the Tchoutacabouffa River at the Cliffs back then, kicking back little Miller ponies we weren't supposed to be drinking. Oh quit looking at me like that - you know you did it too. A stop at Milles on the way home would be pretty much guaranteed on those hot summer days. They had the most tender shaved ice. It was like velvet - so soft - and I don't think there was a time that I ever went there where there wasn't a line. The syrup flavors were just as good as a sno-cone can get and the shaved ice really absorbed them. My favorites were the standards mostly - strawberry being the tops for me - though I'd occasionally get bubblegum, rainbow, or any one of the flavors with cream.

Most of my growing up years we had window air conditioning units and it was just never cool inside the house on those hot summer days. One unit was in my parents room and the other in the living room. My sister and I shared the farthest away bedroom, which was always hot in the summer and cold in the winter. I used to get so hot at night, I'd make a pallet on the floor under the window unit in the living room and point the vent down on me to try and cool off.

During the day, I would often dump the cubes from an ice tray into a clean kitchen towel, twisting it into a knot at the top and beating it with whatever heavy kitchen tool that was handy, just to get some chipped ice. I'm sure I was far too hot to be bothered to refill that ice tray and it's fairly likely it went back into the freezer, empty. Yeah, there weren't any ice makers in those days. I tell you what - kids today have no idea how good they have had it. Fortunately, you can get pretty close to shaved ice at home these days a whole lot easier with your automatic ice maker and a fairly inexpensive machine similar to the one pictured above, or a good strong blender like the Ninja.

While commercial syrups are also generally widely available during the summer, I just make them at home using my basic 2:1 simple syrup recipe and a package of Kool-Aid. For a sugar free version, instead of making your own simple syrup from sugar, you'll need to use a commercial product such as DaVinci's sugar free simple syrup.

Whether made with a homemade or a commercial simple syrup product, besides snow cones, you can use flavored syrups in drinks, desserts, marinades and even salad dressings, and with the wide variety of flavored drink mixes available, you can really have a lot of fun with them.

Here's how easy it is to make your own homemade syrup.

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Recipe: Homemade Sno-Cone Syrup

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 2 min |Cook time: 5 min | Yield: About 2 cups

  • 2 cups of granulated sugar
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 package of unsweetened powdered drink mix (like Kool-aid), any flavor

Mix the sugar and water together in a saucepan and boil until all the sugar is dissolved and mixture is clear. Stir in the drink mix until completely dissolved and set aside to cool completely. Transfer to a squirt bottle and drizzle over very finely crushed ice. Refrigerate until needed.

Cook's Notes: I use the microwave method to prepare the simple syrup.

Tip: For a sugar free version of snowballs, start with a commercial product such as DaVinci's sugar free simple syrup.


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Posted by on April 17, 2012
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