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Miel de Piloncillo {Mexican Raw Sugar Syrup}

Who else thinks that piloncillo cones are irresistible?  Translating roughly as "little pylon" in honor of its shape, these cones of Mexican raw sugar can vary in color from a golden, honey color to a rich, dark molasses color.  As you would imagine, the darker the color, the deeper the flavor.  You can find them ranging in size from pretty small (like the ones pictures...~¾ of an ounce) to tall ones that can weigh a ½ pound or more.  While I often just chuck a couple of them into a big, warm pot of Agua de Tamarindo in order to sweeten it (a trick I learned from mi suegra), in order to use them in a recipe, they need to be grated, shredded, shaved, or chipped- whatever is easiest for you.  If I need it small, I use a box grater, otherwise I may just shave away at it with a sharp knife.  

Today I'm sharing a lovely, sticky, deeply-hued syrup that can be used to drizzle over buñuelos, on top of Arroz con Leche, as a sweetener in a cocktail...or any other way you choose. 
Miel de Piloncillo
{Mexican Raw Sugar Syrup}
from Mexico One Plate at a Time by Rick Bayless
makes ~¾-1 c.

8-9 oz. Piloncillo (1 large cone or several small)
one 2" strip orange zest
⅛ tsp. anise seed
Combine piloncillo, orange zest, and anise seeds with 2 cups of water in a small saucepan.  Set over medium heat and bring to a gentle boil.  Stir until sugar cone melts completely, then keep it at a gentle boil until mixture has reduced to a syrupy consistency, ~20-30 minutes.  Cool and strain into a jar.  This syrup will keep refrigerated for several weeks.
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