Cooking and Baking with Maple Syrup

You may think that maple syrup is only good on pancakes and waffles. Well, I’m here to tell you that you need to rethink how you can use maple syrup. Since starting this blog, we’re learned all kinds of creative ways of cooking and baking with maple syrup.

Also, now that we live in Maine, where there is a festival that celebrates all things maple syrup — it’s called Maine Maple Weekend — we have a newfound appreciate for it.

A glass bottle shaped like a maple leaf filled with amber liquid, featuring a green label that reads "Real Maine." The bottle is placed on a rock surrounded by autumn leaves.
Photo credit: Maine Maple Producers Association.

Yes, we still keep a jug or bottle in the refrigerator to enjoy with breakfast. but these days we’re also using it in new and creative ways. From sweetening your morning coffee to playing a supporting role in a sophisticated nightcap, maple syrup’s complex flavors and natural sweetness make it a perfect ingredient in a range of delicious dishes. We think you’ll like these ideas, too.

Pour some maple sugar in your morning coffee

You give your morning coffee a delightful twist with maple syrup. This natural sweetener melds beautifully with the rich, bold flavors of coffee, adding a hint of smokiness and a smooth sweetness that can make your usual cup feel like a gourmet experience. Plus, maple syrup dissolves much easier than crystal sugar. So, not sickly sweet last gulp when you get to the bottom of your cup.

Not surprisingly, Canadians love to put it in their coffee and use it in many more recipes, too. Take Shelby Stove of London, Ontario, Canada, who writes the Fit As a Mama Bear blog.

“I use maple syrup in just about everything in place of sugar. It makes for delicious lattes, can create a rich and indulgent flavor in brownies and other baked goods. Maple syrup is easily my go-to sweetener!”

As a condiment, spread or dipping sauce

Have you ever considered using maple syrup in condiments or a dipping sauce? Once you try it, you’ll never go back.

One of the most creative uses of maple syrup is pairing it with savory breakfast flavors by drizzling it over breakfast sausages or using it as a dip for crispy bacon. To be honest, I’ve always gone from pouring maple syrup on my French toast, pancakes and waffles and including my bacon or sausage — even vegetarian versions, now that I’m no longer eating meat. My daughters always thought I was gross for doing this.

But trust me: once you try this sweet and savory combo, you’ll never have an issue if the maple syrup on your breakfast plates travels over to your breakfast meats.

As a salad dressing

Making a homemade vinaigrette dressing? Whisk in some maple syrup. Its sweetness balances the acidity of a balsamic vinegar. It works whether you’re making a hearty kale salad or a delicate mix of spring greens.

To sweeten a side dish

Bring a new dimension to your side dishes with maple syrup’s rich caramel notes. A light drizzle can transform roasted root vegetables, baked beans or even your favorite quinoa salad. Its natural sweetness highlights the dish’s flavors without overpowering them, creating a harmonious balance that will have everyone asking for seconds.

As a stir-in for soup

Introducing maple syrup into your soups or stews can be a game-changer. Just a spoonful can round out the flavors, adding a subtle sweetness that complements the savory elements beautifully. It works wonders in recipes featuring butternut squash, carrot or sweet potato, enhancing the vegetables’ natural sweetness and adding complexity to the broth. This simple addition can elevate a humble soup to a memorable meal.

A sweet marinade or glaze

Here’s why I love using maple syrup as a marinade or glaze on fish or vegetables. Once the dish goes into the oven, its natural sugars caramelize under heat. I especially like brushing it onto wild salmon before baking. Now that I’ve learned how to make salmon in the air fryer, I’m going to need to try glazing it with maple syrup next time and see how it turns out.

Sweet and savory snacking

When the munchies strike, reach for maple syrup to create healthier, homemade snacks. Drizzle it over popcorn for a sweet and salty treat, or use it to whip up a batch of homemade granola for a touch of natural sweetness.

Maple syrup can transform ordinary snacks into something extraordinary, satisfying your cravings without the guilt. Its versatility means you can get creative, adding it to everything from a handful of high-protein nuts to no-bake energy bites.

To satisfy your sweet tooth

Maple syrup shines in the dessert department, offering a deep, rich sweetness that sugar alone can’t match. Use it to sweeten homemade ice cream, swirl it into brownie batter or glaze your favorite baked goods.

Its unique flavor profile can enhance a simple dessert, adding a layer of depth and richness that makes each bite unforgettable. Plus, it’s a natural sweetener, so you can feel good about indulging your sweet tooth.

Right now we’re working on finishing a recipe for cake mix maple pecan cupcakes. And you can be sure we’re using maple syrup in it. As soon as it’s done, I’ll add a link in their article.

Shaken not stirred

Yes, it’s true that you can use maple syrup in all kinds of drinks, as we established earlier, with the suggestion of putting it in your coffee. However, maple syrup has a place in other hot and cold drinks, too, including cocktails such as a maple old-fashioned.

“I almost always use maple syrup to sweeten my cocktails,” explains Erin Dooner who writes the TexanErin blog. Normally, she would reach for simple syrup. But if she goes a long time in between making cocktails, simply syrup usually spoils. Thus, the maple syrup substitution. “I always have an open bottle of maple syrup, though. I use it as a direct substitution for simple syrup or sugar. As long as you use a light grade of maple syrup and don’t use too much, the flavor is barely detectable.”

Here’s what you need to know about maple syrup grades.

You can stir it into unsweetened iced tea to make your own version of sweet tea for a summer refreshment. Or, you can blend it into smoothies for a natural sweetener.

Sweetening the deal

Maple syrup’s versatility in the kitchen is unmatched, offering endless possibilities to sweeten and enhance your meals throughout the day. If you have any questions about how to use it in your cooking, baking, cocktail making or whatever, just let us know.

Portions of this article originally appeared on Food Drink Life.

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