Don't limit your cupcakes to chocolate and vanilla. You can create an impressive flavor profile using granulated sugar or liquid ingredient, like milk or water as a base. With both of these methods, the flavor possibilities are endless. Infuse fresh ingredients like mint, lavender, rose petals or dried citrus peels or pantry items like tea, cinnamon sticks or vanilla bean pods. While liquid infusions take only a few minutes, sugar infusions take about a week to finish, so you may want to make a large batch to keep on hand when the cupcake urge strikes. There's another perk of making your own infusions at home: leftovers are delightful in coffee or tea.
Things You'll Need
- Measuring cups
- Flavoring agent
- Fine mesh sieve
- Granulated sugar
- Resealable Container
Measure slightly more liquid than your recipe calls for and pour it into a small saucepan. For example, if your recipe calls for 1/2 cup milk, cream or water, pour 3/4 cup into the saucepan; some of the liquid evaporates during the infusing process.
Add your flavoring agent to the saucepan; you may use as much or as little as you like, depending on your preference.
Bring the liquid to a simmer, then turn off the heat and cover the saucepan. If you're using a dairy product such as milk or cream, be cautious to ensure that it doesn't scorch or boil over. Be careful if you're using tea as a flavoring agent, because some teas can over-steep and become bitter.
Allow the liquid to cool to room temperature. Strain the solids out of the liquid with a fine-mesh sieve. If your infusion isn't as flavorful as you'd like it, repeat the process.
Measure the desired amount of sugar for your recipe.
Layer the sugar with your flavoring agent in a resealable container, like a canning jar. For example, if your recipe calls for 1 cup sugar, pour 1/3 cup into the jar, followed by a layer of flavoring agents, and repeat. Tightly seal the jar to prevent the sugar from drying out.
Allow the sugar to absorb the flavor for at least one week, shaking the jar daily to evenly distribute the flavor. When the flavor is to your liking, strain the sugar through a fine-mesh sieve.
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