“Goodgood syrup, goodgood syrup…” – I can still hear my dad using those words to refer to this special sweet treat. It was one of his favorite plays of word. He would repeat it over and over until he got a reaction from us.
In French, it meant bonbon sirop. Bon = good, so bonbon=goodgood? Get it? I always giggled when he renamed it this way.
Bonbon sirop is a type of cake prepared with gros sirop (sugarcane syrup) and a mix of sweet spices.
When we were young kids we loved grandma’s bonbon sirop recipe. It was one of her many specialties, and perhaps all her grandkids’ favorite specialty. Even though she had shared her recipe with us, up until I was a senior in high school that I was still requesting that she cook me a special batch. Somehow we couldn’t beat her magic cordon bleu hands.
We had to have her bonbon sirop or no bonbon sirop at all.
I don’t really remember when she started sending them home to us. All I know is that, as we became older and more demanding, we were requesting bonbon sirop from her so often that she started making pans devoted to a specific grandkid at a time.
It was her way of giving each of us individual attention, even though it still stirred some jealousy among us. Not only did we cry a little when one of us got sent a pan – we were four grandkids at my house – but we also complained when we found out she had sent a pan to another house and not to ours.
As if requesting our own batch wasn’t enough, we also started requesting that she send the bonbon in the pan it was cooked in. The reason? We loved the sticky syrupy crumbs that got stuck to the sides and bottom of the pan. We even managed to convince her that a rounded pan was the way to go so that we would get more gooey deliciousness. She gave in for otherwise, there would be too much arguing over who would get the most syrupy edges.
I stopped eating bonbon sirop a couple of years ago when she couldn’t prepare them anymore. Store-bought versions always left me disappointed as they were almost always on the dry side with strong spice flavors.
See, my grandmother made the best bonbon sirop ever.
Hers were chewy and gooey with just the right amount of spices and moisture. And I find it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for anyone to beat her recipe.
Her bonbon sirop was simply unlike any other bonbon sirop. It was heaven!
Even though we have two of her bonbon sirop recipes, one of which I am sharing below, something tells me that all her grandkids will always feel the same way. We may find someone who makes them as well as she used to, or we may even master one of her recipes, but we will always miss one key ingredient…
That ingredient is our grandma’s love for us, her grandchildren.
- 1 lb flour 3 1/3 cup
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp clove optional
- 1 ¼ tsp of ginger
- ½ cup of milk
- 1 cup of gros sirop dark sugarcane syrup – molasses might work as a substitute
- 1 tbsp vanilla
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 3 tbsp butter
- Sift the flour, baking soda and baking powder
- In a separate bowl mix the gros sirop, sugar, milk, spices and butter
- Gradually incorporate the sifted mix making sure to mix it well
- Transfer to a greased pan
- Cook for 30 to 45 minutes
- Cool down and serve