National Maple Syrup Day 2014: 5 recipes, plus how to make your own syrup

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By: Danielle Waldron
dwaldron@flavor574.com

John Lillis/Flickr

My mom always told me to go easy on the syrup. 

I always thought it was because it was so sugary, and she was scared I’d get an instant cavity (I still hold this belief). But there’s another reason to lay the syrup on lightly — it takes about 40 to 55 gallons of raw sap to make just one gallon of syrup, according Richard Snider, who’s been making maple syrup in New Paris for decades.

Not all syrups are made equal, either. Natural maple syrups have a grading system: Grade A Dark Amber, the darkest grade A syrup, into Grade B, which is darker and ideal for baking, Epicurious reports. Want more maple flavor? Go darker.

No matter what you prefer, let the maple syrup flow Wednesday, Dec. 17, for National Maple Syrup Day.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR: Wakarusa’s 2015 Maple Syrup Festival is scheduled for April 24-26

MAPLE OATMEAL SCONES
From My Baking Addiction. Makes 14 scones.

Maple syrup doesn’t have to be just for pancakes or waffles (or the occasional maple long john donut). These scones will do for breakfast for a few days, or pair nicely with coffee for an afternoon snack.

Ingredients

For the scones:

  • 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup quick cooking oats, plus additional for sprinkling
  • 2 tbsp. baking powder
  • 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 lb. cold unsalted butter, diced
  • ½ cup cold buttermilk
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup
  • 4 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp. milk or water, for egg wash

For the glaze:

  • 1¼ cups confectioners sugar
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract.

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the flours, oats, baking powder, sugar and salt.
  3. Blend in the cold butter in the lowest speed and mix until butter is in pea-size pieces.
  4. Combine the buttermilk, maple syrup and eggs and add quickly to the flour and butter mixture. Mix until just blended.
  5. Dump the dough out onto a well-floured surface and be sure it is combined. Flour your hands and, using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a ¾ to 1-inch thick sheet.
  6. Cut into 3-inch rounds with a plain or fluted cutter and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  7. Brush the tops with egg wash. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops are crisp and the insides are done.
  8. To make the glaze, combine the confectioner’s sugar, maple syrup and vanilla.
  9. When the scones are done, cool for 5 minutes and drizzle each scone with 1 tbsp. of glaze.

CANDIED MAPLE BACON
From Cravings of a Lunatic. Serves 7.

This partnership of maple and bacon has been popping up often recently — bacon pancake dippers, cinnamon rolls and waffles, just to name a few. The possibilities are limitless.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. bacon
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup maple syrup

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Line two rimmed cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  3. Scoop the brown sugar into a shallow long pan.
  4. Pour the maple sugar into another long shallow pan. Take each strip of bacon and dunk it into the maple syrup, then the brown sugar. Place each strip on the cookie sheets.
  5. Place in the preheated oven and cook for about 15 minutes, turning once halfway through. Check the bacon to see if the desired crispiness is achieved.
  6. When done, remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes. Remove the parchment paper from the bacon and serve.

SLOW COOKER MAPLE MUSTARD CHICKEN
From Chef in Training. Serves about 5.

It’s a cold week and, since Christmas is just on the horizon, it’s a safe bet that it’s also a busy week. Toss a few chicken breasts in the slow cooker and get your errands crossed off the list — dinner will be waiting for you all toasty when you’re done.

Ingredients

  • 4-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • ⅓ cup ground mustard
  • 2 tbsp. quick cooking tapioca

Directions

  1. Spray a slow cooker with cooking spray and place chicken breasts inside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine maple syrup, mustard and tapioca. Combine well. Pour over the chicken.
  3. Cook on low for 3-4 hours or until chicken is done and tender.

MAPLE WHIPPED SWEET POTATOES
From Martha Stewart. Serves 8.

Swap out plain potatoes for this sweet potato recipe that takes “sweet” to a whole new level. Pro tip: try these sweet potatoes with a sprinkle of cinnamon on top.

Ingredients

  • 4 lbs. sweet potatoes
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Prick sweet potatoes all over with a fork. Place on a rimmed baking sheet.
  3. Bake until very tender for about an hour. When cool enough to handle, halve sweet potatoes.
  4. With a spoon, scoop out flesh (discard skins); transfer to a food processor. Add butter and syrup; process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Serve warm.

VEGAN VANILLA MAPLE FUDGE
From Wallflower Girl. Serves 16.

It doesn’t take a vegan to appreciate fudge. Find your cutest mold (we bet maple leaf ones exist!) and be sure to share with a friend. Fudge also makes a sweet gift for friends and coworkers.

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tsp. vanilla paste or extract

Directions

  1. Pour the maple syrup into a medium saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring occasionally. Using a candy thermometer, let bowl until it reaches 235 degrees. Remove from heat once it reaches this temperature.
  2. Let the pot cool to 175 degrees without stirring. Then stir the mixture rapidly with a wooden spoon or spatula. Keep stirring and after about five minutes, the mixture will thicken and lighten. When it does, stir in the vanilla.
  3. Once thick and color is golden, transfer the mixture into molds and cool completely.

HOMEMADE SYRUP
From The Frugal Girls

We’ve all been there — the pancakes are in the skillet and ready to eat, then everyone sit down to eat, only to see the last few drops of syrup disappear. This easy recipe for emergency homemade syrup will make those days a thing of the past.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. maple extract

Directions

  1. Bring water and sugar to a slow boil, stirring occasionally.
  2. Remove from heat before it comes to a rolling boil.
  3. Stir in maple extract as mixture cools.

Follow digital producer Danielle Waldron on Twitter at @DanielleWaldron

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