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Use liquid gold for authentic flavour

Apparently other places like Vermont do produce maple syrup, but we all know the real stuff comes from Canada, eh? Ever since the first native Canadian realized that the sticky stuff dripping from trees tasted good, we Canucks have been in love with

Apparently other places like Vermont do produce maple syrup, but we all know the real stuff comes from Canada, eh?

Ever since the first native Canadian realized that the sticky stuff dripping from trees tasted good, we Canucks have been in love with sirop d'érable. At about 165 calories per ¼ cup it's not a dieter's best friend, but maple syrup will add depth and complexity to your cooking with its unique nutty, vanilla-y, spicy flavour.

When baking with maple syrup it's preferable to use a Canada No. 2 Amber grade syrup, since it has a stronger "mapleyness" than the lighter, more delicate No. 1 varieties (although any maple syrup will produce good results). Just be sure you're buying a pure, genuine, 100 per cent maple product.

MAPLE GLAZED SALMON

¼ cup pure maple syrup

2 Tbsp soy sauce

1 clove garlic, minced

½ tsp grated fresh ginger

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

4 - 4 oz salmon fillets

Toasted sesame seeds for

garnish (optional)

In a small bowl combine first five ingredients. Place the salmon in a shallow glass baking dish and pour the maple syrup mixture over top. Cover the dish and let salmon marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, turning it over once. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the baking dish in the preheated oven and bake salmon, uncovered, for about 20 minutes or until it flakes easily with a fork. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, if using. Makes four servings.

MAPLE SYRUP BARBECUE SAUCE

Great on steak, ribs, chicken, burgers -.

¾ cup pure maple syrup

1 cup ketchup

1 cup finely chopped onion

¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar

¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

¼ cup water

½ tsp salt

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil and then simmer for 15-20 minutes, uncovered. Store in refrigerator for up to one month. Makes about four cups.

PUDDING CHÔMEUR

This is a classic Quebec dessert - it's super sweet, but oh so good.

Cake:

½ cup butter, room temperature

½ cup granulated sugar

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

2 cups milk (preferably homo) Syrup:

1 cup pure maple syrup

1 cup water

1 cup packed light brown sugar

¼ cup butter, cut into pieces

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. For cake, beat butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until smooth.

Sift flour and baking powder together onto a piece of waxed paper, then add to butter mixture alternately with the milk, making three additions of each. Spread the batter into a greased 9x13x2-inch baking dish. (Don't put it in the oven yet, you have to make the syrup!) For the syrup, combine all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until mixture starts to simmer, then simmer for two minutes. Pour over batter. Bake until the batter puffs, the syrup bubbles around the edges and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Serve warm, topped with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. Makes 12 servings.

ALMOND MAPLE GRANOLA

3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

1 cup slivered blanched almonds

¼ cup wheat germ

1½ cups unsweetened flaked coconut

1/3 cup unsalted sunflower seeds

6 Tbsp pure maple syrup

6 Tbsp packed dark brown sugar

¼ cup canola oil

2 Tbsp warm water

¼ tsp salt

1 cup golden raisins

Preheat oven to 250 degrees; lightly grease a large rimmed cookie sheet. In a large bowl toss together the oats, almonds, wheat germ, coconut and sunflower seeds. In a separate bowl whisk together the maple syrup, brown sugar, oil, water and salt. Pour the liquid over the oat/nut mixture and stir until evenly coated. Spread out on the prepared cookie sheet (if you like your granola chunky, squeeze some of the mixture into little clumps). Bake for one hour and 15 minutes or until evenly toasted, stirring occasionally. Remove from oven and mix in raisins. Let cool and store in an airtight container.

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