My husband and I have been making homemade maple syrup on a small-scale for the last few years. This year we were both excited at the prospect of making more syrup. Unfortunately, Mother Nature did not cooperate with us this spring, bombarding us with large accumulations of snow (and mud) that prevented us from getting to the woods to tap the trees. It’s a good thing we have a rather generous stock of syrup built up to offset this natural disaster.
Maple syrup season is based on temperatures. When the temperature rises above 32 degrees Fahrenheit during the day the sap begins to flow. The freezing temperatures at night help draw water up through the tree roots and into the tree. This replenishes the sap for the next day. Once the days and nights both warm up maple syrup season is officially over. The length of the season is also at the sole discretion of Mother Nature.
You may wonder why pure maple syrup costs so much. Making maple syrup is a very labor intensive process. Tapping trees, the daily collecting of sap – sometimes twice a day, (by the way, it takes about 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup), boiling the sap down (which can take hours), and canning it all takes so much time. Labor intensive or not, when you taste that first amber-colored drop you realize just what a precious commodity you have.
I haven’t baked anything with maple syrup in it in a while. In fact, I can’t remember posting any recipes on my blog that called for maple syrup – shame on me. To make up for this I’ve decided to share my maple oat muffin recipe. These have a light, moist, and crumbly texture, are slightly sweet, and will leave you wanting just one more bite.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease 12 muffin tins with non-stick cooking spray.
1/2 c. margarine, softened
1/2 c. light brown sugar
1 c. sour cream
3/4 c. maple syrup
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 c. quick cook oatmeal
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/3 c. chopped pecans (optional)
In a large bowl, add margarine, brown sugar, egg, sour cream, and maple syrup. Mix until well blended. In a separate bowl add salt, baking soda, baking powder, oatmeal, and flour. Pour the dry ingredients into the liquid ingredients. Mix well. Fold in chopped nuts (optional). Fill the muffin tins 3/4 full. Bake for 15-18 minutes. Makes 1 dozen.
Do you have a favorite recipe that calls for maple syrup? Maple cake? Cookies? Bread? Please do tell!