It’s time to make — and taste — maple syrup

As cold nights, warm days send sap flowing through the trees, enjoy this sweet treat in baked goods and more

    The sweet smell of sap evaporating has overtaken the scent of spring in some parts of Ozaukee County where maple syrup-making is a ritual.
    Maple syrup is the first crop of the year, with people collecting sap from trees when the days get warm and the nights remain cold. It can take as much as 50 gallons of sap to make a gallon of syrup, so it’s a task for the hardy.
    One place that specializes in maple syrup is Riveredge Nature Center in the Town of Saukville, which recently announced an abbreviated slate of maple sugarin’ activities due to the pandemic.
    March is Maple Syrup Month, a time to enjoy syrup on ice cream, in hot cereals, yogurt and coffee and over breakfast staples such as pancakes, waffles and French toast.
    But it’s also good to sweeten bakery or to glaze such diverse items as meats and vegetables. Try a maple glaze on salmon or other fish, pork or lamb. Use it when roasting sweet potatoes, or fill half of a squash with maple syrup and butter and bake it.
    Or try a healthy snack of almond butter on whole wheat bread topped with banana slices, granola and a drizzle of syrup.
    Maple syrup is a good substitute for sugar. In cooking, use three-quarters of a cup maple syrup for every cup of sugar that’s called for.
    That same substitution ratio is used for baking, but you should also add 1/4 teaspoon baking soda for each cup of syrup used — unless you’re using buttermilk, sour milk or sour cream, when no baking soda is needed. Bakers should also reduce the liquid by three tablespoons and decrease the oven temperature by 25 degrees.
    Maple syrup can also be substituted for honey on a one-to-one basis.
    Once open, maple syrup should be refrigerated. It will last a year in the fridge.
    Following are some recipes for dishes made with maple syrup provided by www.vermont maple.org.

 

    vermontmaple.org

Maple Granola

4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup shredded coconut, preferably unsweetened
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup pumpkin seeds
1 cup slivered almonds
1 cup pecans, roughly chopped
1 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt

    Combine rolled oats, coconut, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds, and pecans in a large bowl. Pour maple syrup and olive oil into bowl and mix thoroughly.  Sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt.
    Pour mixture onto large baking sheet, spreading to create a uniform layer. Bake  in a 325-degree oven for about one hour, stirring every 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown.
    Makes about 10 cups.

 

Maple Peanut Butter Oatmeal Muffins

1 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup flax meal
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
2 ripe bananas
2 eggs
2 tablespoons shredded coconut
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

    Combine all ingredients in large mixing bowl. Line muffin pan with baking cups or lightly grease pan, then fill cups two-thirds full.
    Bake in a 350-degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes.
    Makes 12 muffins.

 

Pumpkin Spice Maple Glazed Apple Pie Cookies

For cookies:
3 cups quick-cook oats
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pumpkin spice
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup applesauce
3/4 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup apples, finely diced
1 cup walnuts, finely chopped
For glaze:
2 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 tablespoon pumpkin spice
4 tablespoons maple syrup

    Use a hand-held mixer to blend together the butter, applesauce and both sugars. Blend in the egg and vanillla. Add the oatmeal, flour, baking soda, salt and pumpkin spice and blend until just combined. Add walnuts and apples and use a rubber spatula to fold into the dough.
    Using a two-tablespoon size cookie scoop, portion the cookie batter onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Using the back of your hand, flatten the cookie slightly.
    Bake in a 350-degree oven for 14 minutes. Remove from oven and cool two minutes before transferring cookies to a wire cooling rack to finish cooling.
    Once completely cooled, whisk together glaze ingredients in a bowl. Transfer the glaze to a zipper-lock bag and cut a small hole in the tip. Drizzle glaze generously over the cookies. Allow the glaze to harden before stacking or storing the finished cookies.

 

Raspberry Blueberry Maple Crisp

For filling:
3 cups raspberries
1 cup blueberries
1/4 cup maple sugar
1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons flour
For topping:
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
3 tablespoons flour
1/3 cup almonds
4 tablespoons maple sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch salt
4 tablespoons butter
Vanilla ice cream, for serving

    Combine filling ingredients in a bowl and pour into a buttered eight-inch square or nine-inch round baking dish.
    Combine rolled oats, flour, almonds, maple sugar, cinnamon and salt in a bowl.  Add butter and combine ingredients into a crumbly mixture of pea-sized pieces. Sprinkle ver the berry mixture in an even layer.
    Bake in a 375-degree oven for approximately 45 minutes, until the crisp topping is browned.
    Serve with vanilla ice cream.
    Makes four to six servings.

 

Roast Maple Lemon Chicken

4 pound chicken
2 lemons, one quartered and one for juicing
6 cloves of garlic, peeled and halved
1 small onion, quartered
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt
Pepper

    Peel one of the lemons, removing long, thick strips of zest. Reserve zest and juice the lemon into a bowl.  
    Combine maple syrup and olive oil in the bowl and whisk to combine. Rub chicken all over with the lemon zest and garlic.  Place the quartered lemon, onion, garlic, and lemon zest in the cavity of the chicken.  Brush with the lemon juice-maple mixture and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
    Place chicken in roasting pan and place in a 375-degree oven.  After 30 minutes, brush more of the lemon-maple mixture over the chicken. Repeat after another 30 minutes.  Continue roasting an additional 20 minutes, until the juices run clear when cut between the thigh and the body. Let rest 10 minutes, then serve.
    Makes four to six servings.

 

 

Maple Bourbon Apple Cider

2 cups apple cider
1/4 cup bourbon whiskey
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon lemon juice

    In a medium size saucepot over low heat, or in a slow cooker set to low, combine all ingredients and stir.
    Ladle into cups and serve warm.
    If serving cold, combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice or a pitcher. Stir or shake to combine, then serve over ice.

 

Spicy Maple Turkey Burgers With Maple Pickled Red Onion

For onions:
1 large red onion, sliced thin
1-1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
For burger:
1-1/2 pounds ground turkey
2/3 cup shredded carrot
2 tablespoons yellow onion
1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons siracha
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper

    Place onions in colander and pour two cups boiling water over them. Let cool, then place in quart jar. Heat remaining ingredients to a simmer and pour over onions. Let sit as little as one hour or as long as several days.
    Combine turkey burger ingredients in a medium bowl. Form four equal-sized patties.
    Preheat grill to medium-high heat and lightly oil grate. Cook burgers for 20 minutes, turning once, until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
    Place on grilled bun, add lettuce and pickled onions and any additional toppings of your choice.
    Makes four burgers.

 

Maple Snickerdoodles

2-3/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup unsalted butter
1-1/2 cups maple sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
For coating:
1/3 cup maple sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

    Mix together flour, salt and baking powder in large bowl.
    Use an electric mixer or hand mixer to blend butter and 1-1/2 cups maple sugar until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until combined.
    Add flour mixture to wet ingredients and beat until smooth dough is formed.
    Mix coating ingredients in a bowl.
    Form one-inch balls of dough and roll in coating. Space two inches apart on cookie sheets and flatten with the bottom of a glass until they are 1/2-inch thick. Bake in a 400-degree oven for eight to 10 minutes, until edges are a light golden brown. Cool on wire racks.
    Makes three to four dozen.

 

Maple Dijon Chicken Breast

2 teaspoons vegetable or olive oil
3 chicken breasts, fresh or dethawed
3 tablespoons maple syrup
3 tablespoons dijon mustard
Pinch of cayenne pepper, optional
Salt
Pepper

    Add oil to large, non-stick skillet and heat on medium-high heat. Pat chicken breasts dry with paper towel and lightly season with salt and pepper. Add to pan and sear 10 minutes. Do not move the chicken breasts while they are searing.
    Flip chicken over, cover pan and cook another 10 minutes.
    Mix together the maple syrup, dijon mustard and cayenne pepper in a small bowl.
    Using a brush, brush maple dijon glaze onto the chicken breasts, flip, and do the same on the other side. Cook another minute or two, then serve.

 

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