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!

Fresh Ideas for Fresh Herbs

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One of the things we love about summer is the abundance of fresh ingredients. Whether we visit the farmers’ market, or grow our own, nothing beats locally grown fruits, veggies, and herbs. Fresh herbs are a particular treat this time of year because they’re way more economical than buying a few small sprigs at the grocery store—like we had to do all winter—and they bring an intensity of flavor that simply screams summertime.

One of the most commonly used baking herbs is rosemary, and with good reason! The aroma of rosemary baked goods is enough to make us swoon, and the flavor of fresh rosemary in a savory bread is off-the-charts delicious. We combined chopped rosemary with a little lemon zest to make simple biscuits extra fresh this spring. You could also try Mani Niall’s recipe for Bacon, Gruyere and Rosemary Scones, a Clabber Girl favorite. It’s bacon, rosemary and cheese combined into golden wedges of bliss.

Chives are another summertime favorite. We love adding freshly snipped chives to some of our savory favorites like these Chive and Buttermilk Griddle Cakes. And the pretty purple blossoms make fantastic garnishes!

Though most often associated with Italian cooking, basil gives all kinds of dishes a fresh, summery flair. We love it in everything from bruschetta to pesto, but basil is also a great addition to obvious choices like focaccia, as well as these Herb Biscuits.

The rule of thumb for substituting fresh herbs in place of dried is to multiply the measurement of dried herbs by three. For instance, if the recipe calls for a tablespoon of dried basil, use three tablespoons of chopped fresh basil. But if you like your biscuits even more herby, then add a little extra! Or, double up the flavor by adding chopped fresh herbs to your butter.

Is your mouth watering yet? Same here. So make the most of the summer’s bounty of herbs!