10 Delicious Ways to Take Your Maple Syrup Past Breakfast
Here in Nature’s Mountain Playground, we’re quickly approaching our second celebration of West Virginia maple syrup. So, if you missed our first maple syrup festival, Mountain State Maple Days 2023, held February 18th, here’s your last chance to get in on one more maple weekend. Come join us March 18th for our second and final maple fest of 2023. Don’t miss your chance to tour our local sugar camps, see how maple sap is collected and then purified into maple syrup, maple sugar, maple candy, and just about anything else “maple” we can think of. There’s no doubt, if you’ve ever asked, “Gee whiz, how is maple syrup is made?”, you’ll know the answer by the end of your visit to a sugar camp. All kidding aside, the making of maple syrup is a rich part of Pocahontas County history, and we look forward to sharing it with you.
Now for those of you that have never delved into the sweet world of maple syrup, we’re here to say it has many more uses than just the delicious coating of your homemade pancake. So, for the uninitiated who have sadly relegated maple syrup to nothing more than a store-bought, amber topping, reserved only for breakfast, marketed in a plastic bottle oddly shaped in the form of a kindly grandmother (I have no idea why), here’s ten ways to elevate your maple syrup game past the pancake.
Marinate for Meats and Fish
Try adding maple syrup to your favorite marinade for pork, ham, chicken, or salmon. Maple syrup as an addition to a marinade or used as a brushed-on glaze brings a sweet, earthy flavor to your favorite protein.
Roasted vegetables are a quick, healthy side for dinner that most folks love. And one way to really add some kick to their flavor is with a light coating of maple syrup. Brush a little on your carrots, zucchini, and russet potatoes for a new twist on a side dish favorite.
Maple Syrup in Baking
Many bakers are leaving the sugar out and opting for maple syrup. In most recipes, ¾ cup of maple syrup will replace 1 cup of sugar (be sure to reduce the liquid in the recipe by three to four tablespoons to compensate for the maple syrup).
Salad Dressing from Scratch
Salad dressing made at home is a great way to avoid many of the man-made ingredients so many of us are trying to keep out of our diet these days. Maple syrup is a great choice to replace white sugar in your favorite vinaigrette and balsamic dressing recipes and adds just enough sweetness without going over the top.
What could be more tempting and delicious than maple cream? Try a little on your favorite pastry, biscuit, or cake. And if your guilt level with those choices is too high, you can always try a little maple cream on wholewheat toast and tell yourself the healthy toast offsets the calories of the maple cream (yeah, right!).
For most salsa fans the combo of sweet and spicy is the way to go. Try adding a touch of maple syrup to your favorite salsa recipe and bring it up to a whole new level. That rich, earthy tone of maple, along with the kick of the spice and heat, will create a flavor sensation no chip could deny.
Mix a little maple syrup and powdered sugar together and you’ve just created one of the best toppings for cookies, cakes, and donuts known to mankind. Maple glaze is easy to make and adds that extra level of delicious maple flavor to your desserts and treats.
Homemade Barbecue Sauce
Ask any serious barbecue master and they’ll tell you homemade barbecue sauce is the only way to go – nothing store bought for these chefs. Whether you’ve got a secret recipe handed down from your great uncle Floyd or you’re concocting your own secret sauce, a splash or two of maple syrup in the mix will bring a smoky, rich flavor with just the right amount of sweetness. And the maple syrup will be our own little secret.
If you’re looking to satisfy the inner mad scientist in all of us, making a little maple candy fits the bill nicely. You’ll need a candy thermometer and a few candy molds, and you’ll be ready to start your creation. Bring the syrup to a boil then reduce to a medium heat. Once the syrup reaches a temperature of 246 degrees, stir the syrup until it lightens and thickens. Pour into your coated candy molds and allow it to cool. The Frankenstein proclamation of, “It’s alive!” is optional.
Maple Ice Cream
Whether you make your own ice cream or find yourself haunting the freezers of your local grocery store in search of the flavor of the week, you can’t go wrong adding a good dose of maple syrup to your favorite ice cream offering. As a main ingredient or a topping, maple syrup will boost the flavor of your ice cream to new levels.
Well, there you have it. Ten ways to get your maple syrup past the pancakes and into a few delicious recipes and clever uses. Whether it’s maple cookies, maple glazed ham, or maple fudge, believe me, we’ve only scratched the surface on the many ways to put maple syrup to good use. So, if you’re ready to try a few of these delicious ideas, but just realized you need to stock up on maple syrup, be sure to join us here in Nature’s Mountain Playground March 18th, 2023, for Mountain State Maple Days. Not only can you visit and purchase plenty of maple syrup at some of the best maple syrup farms in West Virginia like Frostmore Farm, Fort Warwick Farm, Yew Mountain Center, Starry Night Farm, and Hillsboro Maple Works, but you’ll also have the opportunity to taste some of the most amazing ways maple syrup can be used. Eateries around Pocahontas County like the Dirtbean Café, Station 2 Restaurant, Snowshoe Hare Coffee Shop, Mountain State Cakes, and the Greenbrier Grille will feature maple inspired meals and treats that are sure to satisfy maple syrup fans of all ages. So, join us on March 18, 2023, for Mountain State Maple Days 2023 in Nature’s Mountain Playground.