I find myself buying molasses, syrup and treacle for specific things, only to be left with half-empty bottles of sticky things. What can I do with them?
Lily, Greenford, Middlesex
Itamar Srulovich, one half of the couple behind Honey & Co, is the master of squeaky-clean molasses receptacles. “We have a fatwa on half-used bottles,” he says. “Everything that can be done, we’ve done.” This shouldn’t be at all surprising, considering how versatile fruit molasses – date, grape, pomegranate – is.
As a rule of thumb, Lily, use tangy pomegranate and grape molasses as you would vinegar: think salad dressings, glazes (salmon works well) or, says Sabrina Ghayour, whose latest book, Simply: Easy Everyday Dishes, is released next month, drizzled over tomatoes (“a gift from the gods”). She also uses it to marinate chicken wings alongside honey or sugar, to drizzle over sweet soups (butternut squash, sweet potato), to finish off kebab-style wraps smuggling chicken, ras el hanout and yoghurt, and to glaze meatballs.
Even the dregs are good news. Srulovich pours boiling water into near-empty bottles, shakes then pours the contents over a roast chicken 10 minutes before it’s done. “It caramelises and becomes a sticky, sweet-and-sour glaze,” he says. “I can’t even tell you how good that is.” Alternatively, Ghayour mixes the molasses into cocktails – gin, vodka or “your favourite mixer” – treating it as you would lemon.
Where there are drinks, there should be snacks, and Ghayour bathes nuts in molasses and spices, toasting until dried out. Or, add a splash of maple syrup instead (plus a handful of seeds). This liquid gold is not just for drizzling, mind: it can add depth to barbecue sauce, roasted veg and vinaigrette, too.
Leftover date syrup should never be a problem, says Srulovich, because it’s so darn tasty – a sentiment anyone who has tried Honey & Co’s tahini parfait with a swirl of said syrup inside will be hard pressed to argue with. Baking is a natural home: “A sesame or nut brittle, or, at Katish Katash, our falafel shop [which Honey & Co has temporarily transformed into], we are making date balls with lots of almonds, date paste, tahini and date syrup. Date and tahini is a classic combination, so you always want to go there.” Plus, Srulovich adds, it’s a useful vegan replacement for honey.
I would wager many are in a sticky situation with treacle. Its most high-profile relationship is, of course, with ginger (ginger snaps, gingerbread, cake), and for good reason. Benjamina Ebuehi, author of The New Way to Cake, melts molasses and golden syrup with butter, stem ginger and vanilla before adding the rest of her ingredients. Her choice of icing? Caramelised white chocolate, which, she writes, “transforms it into something with much more depth. Think of a really creamy dulce de leche, and you’re not far off.”
And don’t confine golden syrup to oat-based bakes. Yotam Ottolenghi adds a squirt to his grown-up mint and pistachio chocolate fridge cake, while Claire Ptak, in The Violet Bakery Cookbook, adds two tablespoons to her salted caramel sauce, which she sensibly pours over chocolate cake or ice-cream. And on that note, I’m off to grab my emerald tin.