Maple syrup, let’s dance.

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In light of the maple syrup season coming early for parts of Ontario, I thought I’d also get a jump start on my maple syrup activities (I looked into the implications of an early maple syrup season, as I didn’t want to be delighting over someone else’s, i.e. the maple syrup producer's, misfortune. Apparently while this isn’t the norm, an early season has happened in the past, about 20 years ago.) 

This seriously brings me great pleasure, as I’m a huge fan of maple syrup. What set me on this path was that a few weeks back I attended the 8th Annual Cannington Dog Sled Races & Winter Festival. While I was there I picked up a cute little invitation to the Sunderland Maple Syrup Festival, to be held from March 31st to April 1st 2012.

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I immediately marked it in my iCal as my next Greenbelt outing. And while the prospect of attending the Festival was exciting in itself, an added bonus came by way of a Maple Syrup Muffin recipe on the back of the invitation. So to celebrate the early start to the maple syrup season I thought I’d bake some maple syrup muffins. 

Now I like to cook, and I certainly like to eat but baking isn’t a strong point for me. Baking seems to involve some natural intuition about when things are ready, need to be turned, stirred enough times, and baby, I ain’t got it. My partner Lindsey, on the other hand, does have it. She comes from a long line of strong Nova Scotian women who can bake with the best of them (I’m hoping that by acknowledging them in this blog I’ll receive a care package in the next couple of weeks). With Lindsey by my side and a recipe from true maple syrup enthusiasts, I couldn’t go wrong. 

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The recipe is really straight forward (see below). You can find all the ingredients at your local grocer. It also looks like it would lend itself well to variations. For those of you that may be a little more health conscious, food sensitive, or seeking a different taste you could easily use different flours, make it vegan, etc. We didn’t make any substitutions, so if you change the recipe and it doesn’t work out it wasn’t my fault. 

We tried to find some local, Greenbelt Maple Syrup, but perhaps we jumped the gun a touch because the best we could find (and I admit we only went to two stores) was Ontario maple syrup.

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The process to make the muffins was quick and easy, especially for me since all I did was stir the ingredients together. I won’t give you a play by play, but trust me, it’s like 5-10 minutes of prep work. No sweat. The recipe didn’t say how many it made, so we made five big ones. If you’re looking to extend the muffin supply, I’d double the recipe. The recipe also comes with a maple syrup glaze (amazing touch), but Lindsey told me I’d reached my sugar quota for the day, so that was out.

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After about 20-25 minutes the muffins were ready to come out. The outcome was a slightly golden, sweet and buttery muffin. Hmmmm. The taste of maple syrup was subtle, but there nonetheless. I packed one in my lunch the next day and to my delight a few small sugar crystals had seemed to form. I considered this a good omen.

Myself and Lindsey certainly recommend the recipe. It’s quick, easy, has maple syrup in it, and produces a stand-up muffin. I got to say, it really put me in the mood for maple syrup season in the Greenbelt. Thank you Sunderland Maple Syrup Festival for the recipe, and I’ll see you in a few weeks for the main event.

- Bronwyn Whyte, Program Officer 

 

Maple Syrup Muffins

¼ cup butter
½ cup white sugar
1 tsp salt
1 ¼ cup flour
2 tsp. baking powder
¾ cup rolled oats
½ cup milk
½ cup maple syrup

Glaze

1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. maple syrup
½ cup icing sugar

 Instructions

Soften butter, blend in sugar and salt. Add dry ingredients & blend with pastry cutter until crumbly. Mix in oats. Blend milk and syrup, then pour over dry ingredients, stirring only to moisten.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Spread glaze over when muffins are cooled. Instead of glaze maple butter can be used.

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