Archive for: maple syrup
Maple syrup is a delicious syrup that is popular not only as a pancake and waffle topping, but as an ingredient in all kinds of recipes. Maple syrup is only made during a small window each year in a fairly labor-intensive process, so it tends to be fairly expensive and that means that many people don’t keep it on hand all the time and that bakers faced with a recipe calling for large quantities might be reluctant to use up half a bottle, even though maple syrup delivers a flavor that you can’t quite match with any other ingredient. So I often get asked if it possible to substitute for maple syrup in recipes?
The answer is yes, it is possible to substitute other ingredients for maple syrup in recipes. It is also possible to substitute maple syrup for other sweeteners.
To substitute for maple syrup:
Honey can be directly substituted for maple syrup in terms of sweetness and consistency, although honey can also be a fairly expensive ingredient to work with. Sugar and brown sugar can be substituted for maple syrup, but because maple syrup is much sweeter than sugar and you will need about 1/3 more sugar (1 1/3 cups sugar for 1 cup maple syrup) to equal the sweetness of maple syrup in a recipe. Since maple syrup is a liquid, if you are substituting sugar you will need to increase the wet ingredients by about 3 tbsp for every cup of sugar.
Americans spend upwards of $400 million dollars a year on pancake syrup and maple syrup while shopping in supermarkets, and consumer much more than that when you take into account that people are dousing their pancakes, french toast and waffles in syrup when dining in restaurants. The vast majority of that money is spend on pancake syrup, not maple syrup, which is corn syrup that flavored with things that make it taste similar to real maple syrup, a natural syrup made by boiling the sap from a maple tree. Maple syrup generally has a more intense, complex flavor than pancake syrup, but it is also quite a bit more expensive, which could explain why so many shoppers reach for products like Log Cabin and Aunt Jemima instead of real maple syrup. The Cook’s Country test kitchen held a taste test (link) to compare pancake syrup to maple syrup to see which syrup came out on top.
The taste test included five maple syrups and five popular pancake syrups. They tasted them on waffles and in a pie recipe, since maple syrup is called for in many recipes, both sweet and savory. The maple syrup beat the pancake syrup hands-down in all of the tests. Taste tested reported that the pancake syrups did not taste like maple, and overpowering butterscotch, caramel and artificial butter flavors dominated the “candylike” syrups. Tasters also did not care for the overly thick texture of the pancake syrups. The maple syrups came out ahead, but there were a wide range of flavors in the brands tested, and testers preferred syrups that had a clear balance of sweetness and maple flavor in them.
It is fairly easy to caramelize apples on the stovetop, cooking them in a pan with a bit of butter and sugar until they are browned and tender. I often do this when I want a few apples to top off a batch of waffles or pancakes for breakfast in the morning. But quickly cooking the fruit doesn’t draw out as much flavor as slowly cooking the fruit (and the same can be said with many slow cooked foods), so if I have a little bit more time to put into my apples, I opt for oven roasting them instead.
These Oven-Roasted Maple Apples are an absolutely delicious way to enjoy apples, almost like apple pie without the need for any crust. Thick slices of apple are tossed in a mixture of melted butter and maple syrup, then are spread onto a baking sheet and roasted until the apples are tender and the edges of the fruit are caramelized. The maple syrup and butter give the apples a wonderful glaze, but the long and slow cooking intensifies the apple flavor and that is what makes these so delicious. I like to cook them in relatively small batches so that I can eat them right away, while they’re still warm, but you can cook up a bigger batch in advance and reheat them before serving if you want them to serve a crowd.
Sometimes I add a little bit of cinnamon to the maple syrup mixture to give the apples a spicier flavor. You can actually add some nutmeg and cloves to the cinnamon to give the apples a spiced cider flavor, but I will readily admit that I like these best when they are roasted plain with just high quality maple syrup. Serve these on top of waffles for breakfast, or when they are still warm over a big bowl of vanilla ice cream.
If you love maple syrup, you really should make this Maple Syrup Ice Cream. It is ice cream made with pure maple syrup, instead of sugar, and it delivers a lot of maple flavor in a cold, creamy base. Surprisingly, it isn’t too sweet to eat by the scoopful and I often enjoy it that way. It is even better when served alongside a slice of homemade pie, a fruit cobbler or some shortbread cookies – anything you might ordinarily pair with plain vanilla ice cream. Getting a small bite of maple ice cream in each bite of pie will turn an ordinary pie into something very memorable.
The ice cream starts with a french ice cream base, where hot milk is used to temper eggs to create a nice custard base. The eggs add a nice richness to the ice cream without making it too eggy. This ice cream also uses only whole milk and no heavy cream, as I found that too much cream took away from the maple syrup a bit. You will need to use an ice cream maker for the best results with this recipe.
AS a final note, I know that maple syrup is a pricey ingredient. It is definitely necessary to use the real thing in this recipe, not pancake syrup or a blend. I also recommend opting for a dark maple syrup, or grade B maple syrup, instead of a light syrup or grade A (even if it is labeled “extra fancy”), so that you get the best flavor in the ice cream. It is even better if you have a little bit of syrup left over so that you can drizzle a little bit over the ice cream when you serve it.
I often pair pumpkin with maple when I’m making slightly savory dishes. For instance, I’ll drizzle some pumpkin with maple syrup when I am roasting it to highlight the natural sweetness of the squash, and I’ll add a splash to pumpkin soup for the same reason. The combination works well in sweet applications, of course, and provides a nice change of pace from some other pumpkin desserts. This Maple Pumpkin Pie is one that is a current favorite of mine and it is definitely a pie that I always take a second slice of. The blend of spices, pumpkin and maple in it is addictive and satisfying – and a beautiful, but simple, twist on a basic pumpkin pie.
This pie uses a combination of maple syrup and brown sugar to give the pie a rich maple flavor to the pumpkin filling. Dark brown sugar helps to emphasize some of the darker sugar notes in the syrup in this recipe, so I found I got the best results when I used a combination of the two sweeteners. The added bonus of this is also that it keeps the cost of baking this pie down, since pure maple syrup can be fairly expensive and you definitely want to use the best stuff you can find for the best results in this pie! Dark maple syrup, also known as Grade B maple syrup, has the strongest flavor and is going to give you the best results in this pie, so I highly recommend that you opt for that over a lighter syrup.
This recipe will make enough filling for a fairly deep pie plate, so if you are using a shallow pie plate or a store-bought graham cracker crust instead of a homemade one, you might find that you have a little bit of filling leftover. Don’t worry if this is the case, but if it is, simply fill your crust up to the top and discard any excess filling. The pie will be ready to slice as soon as it comes down to room temperature, but it is excellent when chilled so it can be made a day in advance and stored in the fridge. When you’re ready to serve, drizzle each piece with a little extra maple syrup (whipped cream is optional) to highlight that maple flavor.