A well-made glaze is literally the icing on the cake for any baked good that calls for a glossy sheen and sweetened crust. Made from equal parts granulated sugar and water, glaze leaves itself open to a host of interpretations. Would a mocha-flavored glaze to complement that coffee cake make your mouth water? Super simple. How about a zesty lemon glaze to go with that moist pound cake? All you need is a lemon peel. Learn the fundamentals of glazing and add a personalized touch to your cakes and confections.
Add equal amounts (by volume) granulated sugar and water to a cooking pot. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.
Simmer the sugar and water until the sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally, about three to five minutes.
Cook the glaze until it thickens slightly, stirring occasionally, about two to three minutes longer.
Take the glaze off the stove as soon as it thickens and stir in any flavoring ingredients. Cinnamon sticks, citrus zest, a drop or two of peppermint oil or fresh herbs, for example, all work well.
Steep the flavoring ingredients in the glaze for 10 minutes. Strain the glaze through a fine-mesh sieve and into a cup or bowl.
Allow the glaze to cool to room temperature. Drizzle the glaze over the baked good using a spoon or spouted cup.
Store the glaze in an airtight container in the refrigerator if you don't use it immediately.
Use the glaze to soak cake pieces in trifles or as an ingredient in dessert soups. Top cookies, muffins and cakes, or spoon the cooled glaze over ice cream.
As a topping for strawberries, use balsamic vinegar instead of water and use brown sugar instead of white, along with cinnamon, cloves and allspice.
Always use a heavy-bottom pan when making glaze to help prevent scorching and overcooking.
Keep a bowl of ice water nearby to cool your hand quickly if it comes in contact with melting sugar or hot glaze.