Attar: Citrusy, Floral Simple Syrup

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Attar is the Arabic name for rose/orange blossom-flavored simple syrup. Attar is used as a major ingredient in many Middle Eastern dessert recipes. It adds a floral, citrus-y sweetness to baked goods, and also prevents them from drying out. Two classic desserts that use attar are harissa, which is a popular semolina cake, and the world-renowned baklava.

Fortunately, attar is incredibly simple to make. Start by mixing 2 cups of sugar with 1 cup of water, and bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Add in 1 Tbsp of lemon juice (or zest) and 1 tsp rose water or orange blossom water, and lower the heat to medium-low. Let the mixture simmer for 5 minutes, then turn off the heat and let the syrup cool, stirring every once and a while to prevent crystallization on the surface. Only use the syrup after it has cooled completely. Store the attar in a jar in the refrigerator.

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