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January 21st, 2012

Liv Life Blog Original Article

Liv’s love for everything Maple has only grown over the years. Rich and robust in flavor, pure maple syrup satisfies her sweet tooth while adding a depth and complexity beyond that of granulated white sugar. And with 1/4 cup providing generous doses of Manganese (necessary for brain and nerve function) and Riboflavin (produces energy and works as an antioxidant) in addition to a decent dose of immunity fighting zinc, this sweetener (lower in sugar than pure honey) is one I can feel good about giving her in moderation.

To be sure you are purchasing pure maple syrup, always check the ingredients listed on your product where you should find one (1), and only one, ingredient – maple syrup. Many imitation syrups, or pancake syrups, do not contain any real maple syrup at all, and some of those claiming to be made from pure maple syrup may have as little as 5% of the real stuff.

Maple syrup, actually the boiled sap of the sugar, black or red maple tree, is harvested by tapping, or piercing, the tree to allow the clear, almost tasteless and low in sugar sap run freely from the tree. After collection, the sap is boiled and the water evaporated leaving the various grades of pure maple syrup that we find in our local stores.

In general, syrups tapped at the beginning of the harvesting season are clearer and lighter in flavor, such as Grade A. Grade B provides a darker, stronger and more complex syrup that remains a favorite with mixologists when crafting bourbon, rum and whiskey cocktails.

Whichever grade your prefer, maple syrup adds a special, “homey” flavor to your baked goods and an additional depth and complexity to soups and savory dishes. Wonderful in so many recipes, our favorite remains the simple pancake or waffle drenched in our favorite Grade B Pure Maple Syrup and topped with a sliced banana.

With thanks to Pure Canadian Maple Syrup, who so kindly sent us samples of Grades A and B Pure Maple Goodness, we present to you some of our favorite Maple recipes in addition to a tasty new creation made with the samples – Maple Granola. Pure Canadian Maple Syrup’s web site is an excellent source for additional maple syrup health benefits and they feature a collection of recipes.

Do you have a favorite use for Maple? Let us know!

Maple Granola
adapted from Epicurious

With egg whites replacing the usual fats (butter or oil), this crunchy, low in fat, flavorful granola works wonders in a Granola/Yogurt Breakfast Parfait. I find the almonds positively addictive…

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar**
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup egg whites (about 2 large egg whites)
  • 1 Tbs vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • A couple pinches of freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground dried ginger
  • pinch clove (optional)
  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup ground flax meal
  • 3/4 cup halved almonds
  • 1 cup dried fruit mix (cranberries, blueberries, raisins – we used Trader Joe’s Golden Berry Blend)
  • 3 Tbs pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

Preheat oven to 300º. Generously coat a large rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Stir 1/4 cup of the brown sugar and the syrup in a small saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves, occasionally brushing down the sides with a wet pastry brush. Set aside to cool. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg whites, vanilla and spices. Add to the cooled syrup mixture. In a large bowl combine the oats, flax meal, additional 1/4 cup of sugar, and nuts. Add the syrup mixture and toss well to coat the ingredients evenly.

Spread the mixture evenly onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake about 15 minutes, then stir. Bake another 10 minutes, stir again. Bake until a rich golden brown in color, watching closely towards the end to avoid burning.

Remove from oven and pour into a large bowl, stir in dried fruits and pepitas. Cool, then place into airtight containers.

** The original recipe from Epicurious calls for 3/4 cup of brown sugar, this was just too sweet for us, but if you want sweeter up the sugar.

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