Add the water and apricots to a blender and mix to puree the fruit. You can also add the fruit and water to a saucepan and use an immersion blender to puree. I like using the water since it makes the fruit a little easier to work with.
Making the syrup
Add the puree to a saucepan with ⅓ cup of sugar. Taste and add more sugar if needed.
Add the spice and stir well.
Over medium heat, bring the fruit, sugar, and spice mixture to a full boil. Continue to stir and boil for 1 minute.
If you want a thicker syrup, mix together the cornstarch with a bit of water and whisk into the boiling syrup. Continue to cook and stir for another minute after adding cornstarch.
Remove the syrup from the heat and add the lemon juice. Stir.
Let the apricot syrup thicken and cool a bit before using it.
*If using vanilla, add it at the end with the lemon juice.
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 -2 teaspoons water
Mix well and then add to boiling syrup to thicken if necessary.