March is the perfect time for maple syrup

As cold nights and warm days send sap flowing, enjoy this sweet treat in a variety of foods, beverages

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.

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.


Maple Snickerdoodles

3/4 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup maple syrup

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 egg

2 teaspoons baking soda

2-1/4 cups flour

1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/2 teaspoon salt

For cinnamon sugar coating:

1/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Cream butter, sugar, and brown sugar together until light and fluffy. Add maple syrup, vanilla extract and egg and beat until well combined.

Sift baking soda, flour, cinnamon, cream of tartar and salt together in a separate bowl. Slowly incorporate into the wet ingredients.

Chill dough at least one hour.

Mix cinnamon and sugar together in a small bowl.

Roll dough into about 1-1/2-inch balls, then roll in cinnamon sugar. Place two inches apart on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake in a  375-degree oven for eight to 10 minutes, until tops have cracked and the cookies are set.

Makes two dozen cookies.



Maple Barbecue Sauce

1 cup ketchup

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup maple syrup

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons grainy mustard

1-1/2 teaspoons sweet paprika

1 teaspoon hot sauce of choice, or to taste

In a medium bowl, whisk together ketchup, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, Worcestershire sauce, grainy mustard, paprika and hot sauce. Transfer to a sealable container and keep it in the refrigerator until ready to use.



Maple Ginger Hot Toddy

4 slices ginger

1 cinnamon stick

2 star anise pods

1 tea bag

1-1/2 to 2 ounces Scotch, whiskey or bourbon

1/2 ounce maple syrup

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Muddle ginger in a glass. Add cinnamon stick, star anise pods and tea bag. Add Scotch and maple syrup. Pour hot water over top and let steep three to four minutes.

Add a squeeze of lemon and stir.




Spicy Maple Candied Bacon

1 pound thick-cut applewood smoked bacon

2-1/2 tablespoons packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1-1/2 teaspoons chipotle chile powder

Arrange bacon in a single layer on a rack set over a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 20 minutes.

In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, syrup and chipotle powder. Set aside.

Flip the bacon slices over. Using a small spoon, spread the sugar-syrup mixture evenly over the bacon. Return pan to the oven and bake 20 to 35 minutes.

Using tongs, transfer bacon to a piece of parchment paper or a platter in a single layer to prevent sticking. Let cool 10 to 15 minutes, then serve. The bacon will crisp up as it cools.

Makes 12 strips of bacon.



Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

1 large butternut squash, halved vertically and seeds removed

1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for drizzling

1/2 cup chopped shallot

1 teaspoon salt

4 garlic cloves, pressed or minced

1 teaspoon maple syrup

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

3 to 4 cups vegetable broth

1 to 2 tablespoons butter

Place squash on a rimmed baking sheet that’s lined with parchment paper. Drizzle each half with just enough olive oil to lightly coat the squash on the inside. Rub the oil over the inside of the squash, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Turn squash face down and roast in a 425-degree oven for 40 to 50 minutes,  until tender and cooked through. Set the squash aside until it’s cool enough to handle.

In a large soup pot, warm one tablespoon olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add chopped shallot and salt. Cook three to four minutes, stirring often, until the shallot has softened and starts to turn golden on the edges. Add garlic and cook one minute, until fragrant, stirring frequently. Transfer to a stand blender.

Use a large spoon to scoop the butternut squash flesh into the blender. Add maple syrup, nutmeg and a few twists of freshly ground black pepper. Pour in three cups broth, being careful not to fill the container past the maximum fill line.

Securely fasten the lid. Blend on high, being careful to avoid hot steam escaping from the lid. Stop when the soup is creamy and warmed through.

To thin the soup, stir in the remaining broth. Add one to two tablespoons butter or olive oil to taste and blend well. Taste and stir in more salt and pepper, if necessary.

If soup is piping hot from the blending process, pour it into serving bowls. If not, warm the soup over medium heat, stirring often, until steamy.



Iced Coconut Maple Mocha

1/2 cup coconut milk

1/2 cup brewed coffee, cooled

1 tablespoon maple syrup, or to taste

1-1/2 tablespoons chocolate sauce

5 to 6 ice cubes

Whipped cream, optional

Place ice cubes and coconut milk in a tall glass. Add maple syrup, chocolate sauce and stir. Pour over the brewed coffee.

Top with whipped topping, if desired.




Orange Maple Glazed Salmon

6 ( 6 oz.) salmon fillets

3 tablespoons maple syrup

1 tablespoon orange zest

1 tablespoon orange juice

1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Place salmon, skin side down, on a large baking sheet that’s lined with foil and coated with cooking spray.

In a small bowl, whisk syrup, orange juice and zest, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper. Brush mixture over salmon.

Broil for seven to 10 minutes, until salmon flakes easily fork and reaches desired level of doneness.

Makes six servings.



Baked Brie

1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed

1 8-ounce round brie

1 tablespoon butter

1/2 cup roughly chopped pecans

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

1 tablespoon pure maple syrup

1 egg, beaten

Crackers, crostini, apple slices, for serving

In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add pecans and cinnamon and heat two to three minutes, until browned and fragrant, stirring occasionally. Immediately pour pecans into a small bowl, add the brown sugar and stir until combined.

Place brie round in the middle of the puff pastry on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Pour maple syrup over the top of the brie, then place the toasted pecan and brown sugar mixture on top. Gently press so it stays on top of the brie.

Fold one edge of the puff pastry dough over the brie and, using a pastry brush, brush the top with egg wash. Fold the opposite side up. then brush top dough with egg wash. Repeat with remaining edges until the brie is completely covered in puff pastry, trimming excess dough, if necessary. You can use excess dough to make decorations to place on top of brie, if desired. Press the dough together to make sure it sealed tightly. Brush the top and sides of the wrapped brie with egg wash.

Bake in a 400-degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes, until pastry is golden brown. Remove from the oven and let sit 10 to 15 minutes.

Place the brie on a serving platter and serve warm with crackers, crostini, and/or apple slices.



Maple Syrup Bars

For base:

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 cup flour

For topping:

1 cup maple syrup

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

1/4 cup butter

2 eggs

2 tablespoons flour

Pinch of salt

Combine butter, brown sugar and flour and stir until crumbly. Press into an eight-inch greased baking pan. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 10 minutes. Remove and set aside.

In a saucepan, combine maple syrup, brown sugar and walnuts and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook over medium-low heat for five minutes. Remove from heat, add butter and stir until melted.

In a bowl, beat eggs with the flour and salt. Add egg mixture to maple syrup mixture and stir to combine. Pour over the base and bake another 25 to 30 minutes, until set. Cool completely before cutting.

Makes 12 bars.



Brown Butter Chewy Maple Brown Sugar Cookies

1 cup salted butter, room temperature

1 cup dark brown sugar

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup apple butter

1 egg, room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2-1/3 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

For maple glaze:

4 tablespoons salted butter

1/3 cup maple syrup

1/2 to 3/4 cup powdered sugar

Flaky sea salt

Melt 12 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over medium heat for three to four minutes, until the butter begins to brown. Remove from the heat and transfer to a heatproof bowl. Put in the freezer to chill 10 to 15 minutes but no longer.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the remaining butter, cooled browned butter and brown sugar until combined. Beat in maple syrup, apple butter, egg  and vanilla until creamy. Add flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Fold in chocolate chips and pecans.

Roll dough into rounded tablespoon-size balls and place three inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Bake in a 350-degree oven for eight minutes. Remove pan from the oven and tap baking sheet on the counter two times to flatten cookies.

Return to the oven and bake one to two minutes, until cookies are just beginning to set on the edges but still doughy in the center. Remove from the oven and tap baking sheet on the counter once or twice to flatten cookies again. Let cookies cool on the baking sheet.

Melt butter and maple syrup in a small pot over medium heat. Remove from the heat and whisk in the powdered sugar and a pinch of salt. Drizzle over cookies.

Eat warm or cool and store in an airtight container for as long as four days.

Makes 24 cookies.

If cookie dough is dry, reduce the flour to 2-1/4 cups and add one to two tablespoons additional maple syrup.



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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
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