Spring is the ideal time to enjoy maple syrup

Instead of sugar, try using this natural substitute as you create sweet entrees and breakfast foods


The sweet smell of sap evaporating has overtaken the scent of spring in some parts of Ozaukee County where maple syrup-making is a ritual.

Maple syrup is the first crop of the year, with people collecting sap from trees when the days get warm and the nights remain cold. It can take as much as 40 gallons of sap to make a gallon of syrup, so it’s a task for the hardy.

One place that specializes in maple syrup is Riveredge Nature Center in the Town of Saukville, which will host its annual maple sugarin’ festival from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, March 23. Participants will learn to tap a maple tree and see how syrup is made, participate in arts and crafts, listen to music and enjoy a pancake with syrup.

The cost in advance is $10 per person for nonmembers and $6 for trail pass members. All-access members will be admitted for free.

At the event, registration from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. will be $12 for nonmembers and $8 for trail pass members.

Riveredge’s annual pancake breakfast will be combined with the dedication of the sugarbush house on Saturday, April 6.

The dedication will be held at 9 a.m. followed by the breakfast from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

All you can eat pancakes made with organic flour, Riveredge’s maple syrup, ham, coffee and other beverages are on the menu.

There will be live music, and those attending are asked to dress for the weather since the breakfast is held outdoors.

To register for any of the events, visit www.riveredgenaturecenter.org/maple-sugarin or call 375-2715.

Maple syrup is a delicious treat on ice cream, in hot cereals, yogurt and coffee and over breakfast staples such as pancakes, waffles and French toast.

But it’s also good to sweeten bakery or to glaze such diverse items as meats and vegetables. Try a maple glaze on salmon or other fish, pork or lamb. Use it when roasting sweet potatoes, or fill half of a squash with maple syrup and butter and bake it.

Or try a healthy snack of almond butter on whole wheat bread topped with banana slices, granola and a drizzle of syrup.

Maple syrup is a good substitute for sugar. In cooking, use three-quarters of a cup maple syrup for every cup of sugar that’s called for.

That same substitution ratio is used for baking, but you should also add 1/4 teaspoon baking soda for each cup of syrup used — unless you’re using buttermilk, sour milk or sour cream, when no baking soda is needed. Bakers should also reduce the liquid by three tablespoons and decrease the oven temperature by 25 degrees.

Maple syrup can also be substituted for honey on a one-to-one basis.

Once open, maple syrup should be refrigerated. It will last a year in the fridge.

Maple syrup has a number of nutrients. Every two teaspoons contains 22% of the recommended daily dose of manganese and 3.6% of zinc, as well as other trace minerals.

Following are some recipes for dished made with maple syrup from myrecipes.com.



Spicy Pork Tenderloin With Ginger-Maple Sauce

2 teaspoons chili powder
1-1/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1-1/2 pounds pork tenderloin, trimmed
Cooking spray
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons bottled ground fresh ginger
1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup maple syrup

    Combine chili powder, salt, pepper and cinnamon in a small bowl. Rub pork with spice mixture and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
    Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat, then add pork. Cook six minutes, turning, to brown on all sides. Place on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray and bake in a 375-degree oven for 30 minutes, until thermometer registers 155 degrees. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.
    Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook 10 minutes, until golden brown, stirring frequently. Add ginger and cook four minutes. Stir in broth and syrup, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Bring broth mixture to a boil, then cook about 10 minutes, until mixture is reduced to 3/4 cup. Cut pork into 1/4-inch-thick slices and serve with sauce.


All-American Granola

3 cups uncooked old-fashioned rolled oats
1-1/2 cups sliced almonds
1/2 cup coarsely chopped dried cherries
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup maple syrup
Cooking spray

    Combine oats, almonds, dried cherries, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Drizzle syrup over oat mixture, stirring to coat completely.
    Spread mixture on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake in a 300-degree oven for 35 minutes, until golden and crisp, stirring every 10 minutes.
    Transfer to a wire rack, and cool completely in pan. Store in an airtight container for as long as one week.


Fresh Berries With Maple Cream

3/4 cup fat-free sour cream
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 cup fresh blueberries
1-1/2 cups fresh raspberries

    Combine sour cream and maple syrup in a small bowl. Stir with a whisk.
    Combine berries and spoon into dessert dishes. Pour maple cream over berries.


Smoky “Baked” Beans

4 ounces thick-sliced bacon, cut into 1/2-inch squares
1 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
5 garlic cloves, minced
5 cups water
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/2 cup unsalted ketchup
1/2 cup maple syrup
3 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons dry mustard
2 tablespoons gochujang (Korean red chile paste)
1-1/2 cups dried Great Northern beans
1/2 cup dried red lentils

    Heat bacon in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook eight minutes. Add onion, thyme and garlic to pan and cook six minutes. Add water, vinegar, ketchup, maple syrup, soy sauce, mustard and gochujang and bring to a boil.
    Place beans, lentils and ketchup mixture in a six-quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for seven hours.
    If you don’t have gochujang, use tomato paste.


Roasted Sweet-and-Sour Beets, Carrots, and Parsnips

1 pound small beets, trimmed, peeled and cut into wedges
1 pound parsnips, cut into 2-inch-thick  slices
1 pound carrots, cut into 2-inch-thick slices
Cooking spray
1/4 cup maple syrup
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons coriander seeds, crushed
2 teaspoons chopped fresh or 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
12 fresh thyme sprigs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Fresh thyme sprigs, optional

    Steam beets, parsnips and carrots, covered, for five minutes. Place in a shallow roasting pan coated with cooking spray.
    Combine syrup and vinegar and set aside.
    Squeeze juice from lemon into a bowl, then add lemon halves to beet mixture. Combine juice, oil, coriander, tarragon and thyme sprigs. Pour over beet mixture and  toss well. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
    Bake in a 400-degree oven for 30 minutes. Pour syrup mixture over beet mixture and stir well to coat. Bake an additional 30 minutes, until beets are tender. Discard lemon halves. Garnish with additional thyme sprigs, if desired.


Double-Maple Cupcakes

For cupcakes:
1/2 cup sugar
5 tablespoons butter or stick margarine, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon maple flavoring
2 large eggs
1-1/4 cups flour
1-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup 1% milk
1/4 cup maple syrup
For frosting:
3 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons butter or stick margarine, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon maple flavoring
1/8 teaspoon salt
1-3/4 cups powdered sugar

    To prepare cupcakes, beat sugar, butter, vanilla and maple flavoring in a mixer at medium speed about five minutes, until well-blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
    Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cup and level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Combine milk and 1/4 cup maple syrup. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with milk mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Mix after each addition.
    Spoon batter into 12 muffin cups lined with paper liners. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 20 minutes, until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.
    Beat 3 tablespoons maple syrup, butter, vanilla, maple flavoring and salt in a mixer at medium speed for one minute. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating just until blended. Spread frosting over cupcakes.


Baked Ham Glazed With Champagne

1 9-pound reduced-sodium, bone-in cured ham
1 750-milliliter  bottle extra-dry champagne or dry sparkling white wine
2 cups packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup or honey
1/4 cup canned crushed pineapple in juice
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
Pineapple slices, optional

    Place ham on a rack in a roasting pan lined with aluminum foil. Using a sharp knife, make shallow cuts in fat. Pour one cup champagne over ham and sprinkle with one cup brown sugar. Cover ham with foil.
    Combine syrup, crushed pineapple, mustard, cloves, remaining champagne and remaining brown sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium and simmer about five minutes, until alcohol has cooked out.
    Place ham in 325-degree oven and bake one hour. Uncover, baste with maple syrup mixture, cover and bake one more hour. Uncover, baste again and return, uncovered, to oven about 30  minutes more, basting every 10 minutes until a thermometer inserted in center of ham registers 115 degrees. Top with pineapple slices, if desired. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.


Chicken Wings With Spicy Chili Sauce

2-1/2 pounds chicken wings
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup chili garlic sauce
1 small onion, diced
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
Celery sticks

    Cut off wing tips and discard. Cut wings in half at joint.
    Combine syrup, chili garlic sauce, onion, mustard and Worcestershire sauce in a small bowl. Place 3/4 cup marinade in refrigerate. Pour remaining marinade into a large zipper-top freezer bag, add chicken and seal. Refrigerate eight hours, turning bag occasionally.
    Remove chicken from marinade and discard marinade. Place chicken, skin sides up, on a lightly greased rack in a broiler pan. Broil three inches from heat for eight minutes, until browned.
    Place wings in a three-quart slow cooker, cover and cook on low for four hours. Serve with reserved marinade and celery sticks.



Spiced Pork Tenderloin With Maple Chipotle Sauce

For pork:
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
2 1-pound pork tenderloins, trimmed
2 teaspoons olive oil
For sauce:
1 7-ounce can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
1/2 cup maple syrup
3 tablespoons fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1-1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar

    Combine salt, thyme, nutmeg, cinnamon, pepper and allspice. Sprinkle evenly over pork. Place pork in a large zipper-top plastic bag, seal and refrigerate three hours.
    Remove pork from bag and place in a roasting pan. Drizzle with oil, then bake in a 375-degree oven for 30 minutes, until a thermometer inserted in center of pork registers 155 degrees. Remove pork from pan, cover and let stand 10 minutes.
    Remove two teaspoons adobo sauce from can of chiles, then reserve remaining chiles and sauce for another use. Add two teaspoons adobo sauce, syrup, broth and vinegar to roasting pan, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Cook over medium heat for five minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, then place pork in pan, turning to coat. Remove pork from pan, reserving sauce in pan. Cut pork into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Strain sauce through a fine sieve into a bowl and serve with pork.


Caramelized Maple-Garlic Glazed Salmon

8 2-inch-thick salmon fillets
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives

    Preheat broiler with oven rack 5-1/2 inches from heat.
    Sprinkle salmon with salt and garlic powder.
    Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add salmon, skin side up, and cook two minutes. Place salmon, skin side down, on a lightly greased rack in a broiler pan and brush with half the syrup.
    Broil salmon 5-1/2-inches from the heat for five to seven minutes, until fish has reached desired degree of doneness and syrup caramelizes. Brush with remaining syrup and sprinkle with chives.




Click Here to Send a Letter to the Editor

Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494


User login