The lingering flavor of maple combined with toasty nuts like walnuts and pecans makes some of the most memorable treats of any season ~ move over pumpkin spice!
Pumpkin spice gets all the press this time of year, but let’s hear it for fall’s other star duo ~ maple nut! It’s a personal favorite flavor profile of mine, and these are some of my favorite recipes on the site. And even though maple sap runs in the spring, fall is the perfect time to pair up this warm and toasty combo, so let’s get baking!
my tips for baking with maple
Maple is such an incredibly unique flavor, but it can pose some challenges when developing recipes where I really want to get the most maple flavor possible. Here’s what I’ve learned after years of chasing amazing maple flavor in my recipes.
- I always use the darkest maple syrup I can find for baking, because it has the strongest flavor. I save the lighter syrups for topping my pancakes, stirring into coffee, etc. See the ‘shade chart’, above. Let color guide you to the most intensely flavored syrup on the shelf.
- try reducing your maple syrup for more flavor with less liquid volume. This is easy to do on the stovetop over medium heat (just gently simmer until reduced the desired amount), and doesn’t take long at all. I often reduce my maple syrup by about half before using it in recipes. Just make sure not to boil it for too long, or you’ll end up with maple candy!
- maple sugar is available in most supermarkets, and is a great substitute for regular granulated sugar in all sorts of recipes. I turn to maple sugar when I want maple flavor in recipes that have no or minimal liquid ingredients, like shortbread. Find maple sugar online, here.
- maple extract is your friend! Perhaps the most important tip, a touch of maple extract goes a LONG way towards enhancing the maple flavor in recipes. If you’re looking to replicate a favorite baked good from a cafe or the grocery store, they are probably using a flavoring like this to boost the flavor. Look for pure maple extract, and stay away from anything that says artificial, or flavoring. Find one you like and keep it in stock!!
This recipe definitely belongs in that category of all-time-favorites. Blondies are one of my favorite desserts to begin with, so when I paired them with maple and walnuts, it was a match made in heaven.
Maple syrup is infused in this show-stopping cake 3 ways, building layers and layers of rich, caramel-y flavor. If you are celebrating any kind of occasion this fall, you need this cake.
To me, this is the ultimate fall banana bread recipe. The mellow flavor of bananas is the perfect complement to maple syrup, walnuts, and oats for a full-bodied flavor profile and lots of textural interest.
Shortbread cookies are the perfect little vehicles for all sorts of flavor combinations, from the traditional, to the unconventional. I love how maple and walnuts add depth of flavor to these buttery cookies.
If you are going to try one recipe from this list this fall, MAKE IT THIS ONE! It’s now a forever Thanksgiving staple in our house, because the flavor and texture are just out of this world. Trust me, if you are a pecan pie purist, you won’t be disappointed, this is pecan pie 2.0.
A homemade autumnal ice cream is a joy. This maple walnut ice cream stands on its own as a gourmet dessert with amazing flavor, but also makes a spectacular pairing with any of your favorite fall pies and tarts.
A warm smoothie? Made with oats? It might sound strange, but this recipe came out of my quest to winterize my smoothie habit, and it’s super delicious! Smooth, creamy, and sweet, this “smoothie” is like a thick, warm latte without the coffee and is sure to start your morning off in the right direction.
After they were discontinued from the Starbucks menu years ago, I didn’t miss a beat in recreating them at home. They’re fantastic.