I had all but forgotten the gur conversation when my doorbell rung out-of-the-blue. I paused the Criminal Minds rerun I was watching to answer the door and when I open the door nobody was there. I was about to shut the door when I noticed a weird looking package on the front step. It was oddly shaped and wrapped in a burlap sack. I realized I had been way too invested in the Criminal Minds episode when my first instinct was to suspect it was a bomb! Very gingerly I approach the unknown weird object and felt lightly that it was hard. I then try to push it over with my foot but being still suspicious of the object I didn't kick very hard so I didn't move it! I called down my mom and told her, "I don't know what that is but if Criminal Minds has anything to say about it, it could be a bomb!" My mom proceeded to crouch down and listen to the unknown object. When she heard nothing she looked at me and said, "what is that? What is that?!" We both bent down and started to inspect this thing. I scratched at the side and realized a piece fell off. Suddenly it popped into my head, "IT'S 22 POUNDS OF GUR!!!!!" We laughed and laughed and laughed.
Well, now I had 22lbs of gur on my counter and no idea what I would do with it. It was hard and not really like conventional sugar. I didn't really think I could bust it up enough to use in a recipe. I broke off a piece and tried it. I doesn't taste like sugar really. It's not overly sweet. It is almost like dry molasses with a hint of licorice. I instantly thought it would pair well with spices. but I couldn't think of how I would cook with it. Then I was making Italian Meringue Buttercream, which requires a cooked simple syrup and my mom said, "couldn't you make a gur syrup!?"
We put the gur in the biggest pot we own and added a little water to get the melting process going. Before we knew it we had an entire pot, about 48 cups, of gur syrup! I had to try baking with the syrup. I had to know if I could use this gur. So I made a gur spice cupcake recipe and tried it out. I also made more Italian Meringue Buttercream with the gur syrup. To my surprise the buttercream turned out. It was light and creamy and had a light gur taste. I liked it. So I turned my attention to making the batter. Instead of dry sugar and milk I used 2cups of gur syrup. The batter combined nicely, the chemical interaction required for baking seemed to be intact with the gur. The batter whipped up and became so fluffy and light in colour. I added the spices from my grandmother's pumpkin pie recipe and tasted the raw batter. Delicious! It was just right. So I baked off a dozen cupcakes, let them cool and frosted them with gur Italian meringue! My mom and I tried them: she loved it. I was on the fence. I couldn't put my finger on what I didn't like. All of the flavors worked well together. I couldn't think of a single thing I would change that would make it taste better to me. I kept taking bites out of this cupcake and thinking, hmmm. After a while I said to my mom, "I can't think of what I would change. I don't think I should change anything. I guess this will just be a cupcake that isn't my personal favorite. I mean I don't have to absolutely love it for other people to like it."
"Ya, I love them!" she said, shoving another cupcake in her mouth. "I wouldn't change anything."
I went off to bed at that point. I had a fastball tournament starting the next day and I had to be up early. The next day I got up and didn't feel very hungry. I came down stairs and saw the gur cupcakes on the counter. I though I would take another bite with a fresh pallet. I ate a cupcake and still didn't know what to think of it and went off to ball. Throughout the day I just wasn't feeling right. I wasn't hungry at all and I felt very off. I kept running over the things I had eaten trying to figure out what would make me feel this way. I am allergic to nuts and I usually feel the way I did at the park by times ten when I eat a nut accidentally. But I had gone over all of the food and kept saying to myself, I haven't had any nuts. I had been texting home asking people if they remember me eating anything suspicious and no one could think of anything. Well, I made it through the day at the park and I was headed home to meet up with the whole family for my dad's birthday dinner out. I talked to my mom and said I still didn't feel right and that's when she told me about one more fact about the gur.
Gur, also known as Jaggery, is made in India out of sugar cane. The cane is smashed up and cooked down to extract the sugar. This slurry is then filtered to remove impurities. It is then poured into buckets to harden and then removed from the bucket and wrapped in burlap and shipped out. It seems like a simple process and then my mom discovered that one of the filters they use to remove impurities is peanut shells! LOL the mystery is solved! I came home and took some anti-histamines and felt right-as-rain for dinner! This also solved the mystery of what I wanted to change about the cupcake recipe! Funnily, it was just my body's way of saying, "Don't eat that!" So I handed a cupcake out to everyone in the family (except myself) and asked them what they thought of it. Everyone loved it! So there really is nothing wrong with the recipe after all.And now I have a new flavor to introduce to everyone.... Gur!