How to Infuse Maple Syrup

8 Ways to Contribute on Earth Day

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Few things are as satisfying as made-from-scratch breakfasts on weekend mornings. A sizzling griddle, the smell of coffee enveloping the kitchen, shamelessly wearing pajamas until noon – what’s not to love? Whether your go-to breakfast is pancakes, waffles, or some sweet, magical hybrid (Handle the Heat combines waffles and doughnuts!), the common ground is passing the maple syrup around the table.

We know it and love it as a sweet and pourable pancake topper, but have you considered getting out the maple syrup bottle past 10 am? The syrup is a surprisingly versatile ingredient, lending itself well to sweet pastries (like these smoked bacon biscuits!), as well as savory main dishes.

We recently caught up with Tim Burton, the mastermind behind the maple syrup production hub, Burton’s Maplewood Farm. The company has given traditional maple syrup a twist that transcends breakfast, encouraging customers to think beyond the waffle. Burton’s method? Aging maple syrup for twelve months in liquor barrels that formerly held whiskey, bourbon, rum and brandy. The company will even partner with bourbon-producing giant Pappy Van Winkle this fall to develop a high-end, unique barrel-aged syrup that whiskey aficionados can’t wait to taste!

We’re taking a hint from Burton’s and trying our hand at homemade maple syrup infusions. You can try it, too! As Burton advises, pick out your favorite herbs, spices, or flavors (think cooked pieces of bacon or chopped rosemary). Put them in a small saucepan, adding however much maple syrup you’d like to infuse. More spice equals more intense flavor. Cook the mixture on medium heat until the desired intensity is achieved. It’s as simple as that!

Try some of these flavor infusions to get started:

  • Bacon – The smoky flavor will enhance the maple, making it an excellent choice for breakfast dishes, BBQ sauces or even atop roasted Brussels sprouts!
  • Dill – Burton recommends finely chopping dill and heating it with maple syrup to glaze both sides of salmon filets before cooking.
  • Citrus – Add orange rind and cinnamon sticks for syrup that’s divine drizzled over cinnamon rolls or peaches for a simple dessert.

The options are endless! So get in the kitchen and start experimenting with your favorite herbs and spices. If you’re intrigued, but not as confident developing your own combinations yet, then stick to these tried and true maple recipes from Clabber Girl.

Maple Bourbon Pecan Tart

The nuttiness of the pecans, paired with brown sugar, bourbon and sweetness of the maple makes this a winning fall entertaining dessert.

Sweet Potato and Sausage Pancakes

Sweet potato, sausage and syrup IN the pancakes? Hearty enough for breakfast at dinnertime!

Amaretto-Peach French Toast: Entertaining with the Diva of Do Ahead

Amaretto Peach French ToastLast weekend, I invited guests for Sunday brunch and then wondered what to serve that could be ready quickly after church.   I turned to Perfect Party Food, All the Recipes and Tips You’ll Ever Need for Stress-Free Entertaining,* from the Diva of Do-Ahead Diane Phillips.  Diane is noted for her do-ahead recipes and having taken several of her cooking classes, I knew that her recipes were “can’t miss.”   There were several options for brunch casseroles in the cookbook – I had a difficult time making a selection.

A sweet treat is always popular, so I chose to make Amaretto-Peach French Toast. It was absolutely delicious and quite a hit with my guests.  It was sweet, but not too sweet. It uses baking powder as the leavener which is a plus since I work at Clabber Girl and we manufacture Clabber Girl and Rumford Baking Powders. I used Rumford Reduced Sodium Baking Powder and the toast rose beautifully.  Since I had blueberries and peaches in my freezer, I used both, and the flavor combination was great.

The French toast was easy to assemble, and took very little time to prepare.  I did add a bit more amaretto than the recipe called for and that additional flavor boost was nice.  Otherwise, I made the recipe exactly as directed.  (One of the best things about this particular cookbook is that EVERY recipe is Do-Ahead!  Diane gives tips for freezing, using a crockpot, recipe variations, and serving suggestions including garnishes. It’s a great resource for those who like to entertain.)

My guests raved over the dish and asked for the recipe, which I think is the true test of a recipe’s success.  I can’t wait to try out other recipes from Diane’s book….brunch anyone?

*Perfect Party Food is a James Beard Foundation Book Award Nominee and published by The Harvard Press, 2005.