A while back I was contacted by Crown Maple Syrup to ask if I was interested in samples and the story of a new, family produced, premium maple syrup that enters has recently enterd the market. Crown maple farm is located in Dutchess County, New York. It is owned and sustainably managed by Robb and Lydia Turner and is part of Madava Estates, named for the Turner’s daughters, Maddie and Ava.
Until recently I have had no contact with maple syrup. All I knew about it was the fact that it came from maple trees, it is a healthier option for sweetener and the fact that it tastes a little like fenugreek. That last one put me off maple syrup. I am not particularly fond of fenugreek , in fact I try to stay clear of it as much as I can. Then came the daring bakers April challenge and behold it was about attempting maple mousse! It was my first challenge and I had to try it but still! fenugreek!
According to my fellow daring bakers maple syrup main flavour components are vanillin, caramel flavours that are created as the sap is reduced to syrup,a soft note of coffee and cocoa and sotolon, a compound that gives maple syrup its distinctive flavour and is also found in fenugreek.They reported that the taste of fenugreek was mild and not over powering. Some even said it was not noticeable so I decided to go for it and I am glad I did.
Not only did I get a chance to explore baking with maple syrup more but I got to learn a little more about it.
Maple Syrup is crafted exclusively from the sap produced by sugar and red maple trees. These varieties produce the sweetest sap.There are typically only about 20 prime sap days in a season and they generally begin in mid-February when temperatures climb during the day and dip to below freezing at night. This temperature fluctuation creates pressure inside the maples that naturally forces out the sap
I received a sample of Crown maple syrup (Grade A medium amber) and decided to start my experiments with the simple, using it on top of lemon ricotta pancakes.
I have to say I was pleasantly surprised with the fact that I could not detect the at all. The prominent note was a pleasant, mild caramel taste that paired beautifully with the lemon ricotta pancakes.
Next came the experiment of trying it as a sweetener in baking and what better recipe to try other than my apple bread with walnuts and oats. The recipe called for 2 tablespoons of honey and I decided to substitute them with Crown maple syrup.The maple syrup added a whole new layer of flavor to it, the caramel hint was a perfect match with the apples and walnuts.The bread was really moist and full of flavors, there were the spices, the apples, the maple syrup, the crunch of the walnuts and the rich earthy taste of oats.
We loved the bread so much in fact that I decided to give the recipe another go, this time baking them in muffin tins.The four you see in the picture are the only ones I could save from the kids to photograph, they didn’t last long after the pictures were taken
Maple apple bread with oats and walnuts
1 cup flour
1 cup of quick cooking oats
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (50 grams or half a stick) butter
1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup walnuts
2 grated apples
Cream the butter, oil with the sugar and maple syrup
Add the egg and whisk until combined
add the grated apples ,spices, vanilla and salt.
In a bowl sift the flour, add the oats and baking soda
Add the flour mix gradually to egg and butter mix .
Mix with a spoon or spatula until homogenous
Fold in the walnuts
Bake in a greased pan or muffin tin in a 200 C preheated oven for the first 10 minutes then lower the temperature to 180.
Bake until a knife inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean
Crown Maple Syrup is certified organic by the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York Certified Organic, LLC. Crown Maple Syrup is available online at www.CrownMaple.com and will be available soon at specialty grocers throughout the Northeast. Crown Maple Syrup is also served at some of the finest restaurants in New York