It’s maple season! Across the country maple producers and backyard tappers are gathering their sap. The flowing sap is one of the first signs that spring is on the way ~ and what better way to celebrate than with my best maple recipes? So go ahead and
hoardstock up on maple syrup, we’ve got some cooking to do!
Maple syrup is, in my opinion, one of the most transcendent flavors on earth. Sweet, complex, and caramel-y, thanks to our old friend the Mailliard reaction. Like fine wine, honey, or cheese, maple syrup has a terroir that makes every batch deliciously unique. But, sadly, it can be tricky to get that amazing subtle flavor to come through in recipes.
Cooking with maple syrup ~
You have a few different options when incorporating maple flavor into recipes
- maple syrup ~ the real deal, it’s thin in consistency, with a subtle flavor. Choose a dark hued syrup for cooking. It can help to cook the syrup down on the stove to boil away some of the moisture which intensifies the flavor.
- maple sugar ~ maple sugar is made from pure maple syrup and nothing else, and it’s an easy one-to-one replacement for granulated sugar in a recipe. Look for it in larger supermarkets, Whole Foods, and online.
- maple extract ~ I use maple extract often, it’s a great way to enhance the maple flavor in a recipe without having to figure out how to incorporate a ton of syrup. It can sometimes be hard to find, but look for it with the other flavor extracts in your baking aisle, and you can also buy it online. You may have to experiment to find one you love, I use McCormicks.
What’s the deal with color, and grades of maple syrup?
- Maple syrup comes in different shades, and according to Shelburne Farms in Vermont, “darker syrup has a stronger flavor than the lighter syrup, but the quality and sugar content is the same.” Lighter syrup is made earlier in the season, and it darkens as the season progresses.
- We no longer use the terms grade A and B, which mislead people into thinking A was best and B was somehow inferior. Now all syrup is grade A, varying from “Golden” to “Very Dark.” The flavor ranges from delicate to robust, and you may want to consider that when incorporating maple syrup into your recipes.
How to store maple syrup
- Maple syrup technically doesn’t need to be refrigerated, but if you’re storing it for a long period, refrigeration retards the growth of mold on the surface.
- I keep my syrup in the refrigerator so I don’t have to think about it.
- Maple syrup can also be frozen, which is a good option if you are lucky enough to get your hands on the good stuff and can’t use it all.
When you really want to celebrate maple season in style ~ this layer cake is it! Three layers of delicious, nutty, maple walnut cake and there’s even maple syrup in the cream cheese frosting.
For pure, unadulterated maple flavor that is just a little bit more versatile than syrup straight out of the bottle, this salted maple caramel sauce is unbeatable. It’s super easy to make, and takes a scoop of vanilla ice cream or simple sliced fruit to nirvana-level goodness.
This old fashioned flavor is one of my all-time favorites, and since it’s becoming harder and harder to find in ice cream shops and freezer aisles, it’s the perfect candidate for busting out your ice cream maker.
These homey, comforting cookies are just the thing when you need a little pick-me-up. I’ve never met anybody who didn’t love ’em.
Making marshmallows is so fun, and this recipe replaces corn-syrup with maple syrup for an elevated flavor profile. Perfect in those last cups of cocoa during chilly spring days.
I’ve baked A LOT of scones, and this is one of my favorites over the years. The flavor and texture are amazing!
The complex sweetness of maple syrup lends itself well to savory recipes, too. Maple syrup makes a great glaze for all sorts of vegetables ~ try carrots, or parsnips, too!
Maple flavor in silky, creamy, custard form. Bourbon whipped cream picks up the toasty maple notes in the most perfect way.
Yes, you read that right ~ one ingredient! Maple syrup transforms into a thick creamy spread that is unbelievable on toast, scones, pancakes, you name it.
“Warm” and “smoothie” might not be two concepts that are linked in your mind, but this delicious drink is somewhere between a latte and a breakfast shake. It gets nicely warmed just from blending in a high speed blender, so it’s perfect for the first chilly weeks of spring.