By Libbie Summers from her book, Brown Sugar (shortstack editions)
There are few things better than sitting on a screened-in porch in the summer while sipping a glass of this lemonade. I think of it as a privilege for those of us lucky enough to live in the South, a reward for surviving the annual sand gnat season. The thing is, our lemons aren’t very juicy during the summer months. My solution: “scorching” the lemons in a hot pan before squeezing them, which yields 40% more juice and adds a subtle caramelized flavor.
Brown Sugar-Scorched Lemonade
makes 2 quarts
What you need:
3/4 cup light brown sugar, divided
1 vanilla bean, split
4 lemons, halved
What to do:
1. Make Vanilla Brown Sugar Syrup: In a small saucepan over low heat, stir together 1/2 cup sugar and 1 cup water. Cook, stirring, until sugar is completely dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat and add vanilla bean. Let vanilla bean steep in the water until cooled. Remove vanilla bean and save for another use (make vanilla sugar -your baking will never be the same old). Note: A faint vanilla flavor is what you are trying to achieve in this sugar syrup.
2. Scorch Lemons: Heat a griddle or medium skillet over high heat. Pour the remaining 1/4 cup sugar onto a small plate. Dip all the cut sides of the lemons into the sugar to coat the surfaces. Place the sugar-coated lemon halves (sugar side down) on the hot griddle and cook until the sugar starts to turn brown and bubble around the lemons (about 30-45 seconds). Remove the griddle from the heat and allow to cool until the lemons are cool enough to handle.
3. Make Lemonade: Fill a pitcher or large jar with 2 quarts of water. Squeeze the lemons over the water, then drop the squeezed lemons into the water. Stir in the vanilla sugar syrup.
To Serve: Fill glasses with ice and pour the Scorched Lemonade over.