Syrup’s Rising Soon


Vitality stirs within maple trees, the sap (syrup) beginning to surge, awakening the trees from their hibernations. That’s good news for the trees, as it begins a progress that takes them to this point:Maple Tree

(Photo taken early last summer of a maple tree, in the parents’ yard, the author started at age twelve, from seed.  Bragging, certainly, but the tree is nice, don’t you think?)

It’s also good news for those of us who love maple syrup and who look forward to sampling a bit of arboreal amber.  The editors of Fitness magazine are among us, as they featured a recipe for Olive Oil and Maple Quick Bread in the May 2019 issue.  Not only that, it’s a completely vegan recipe, having no eggs or butter.  Still, it produces a great bread, as you can see and, better yet, the batter is much easier to work with than is a standard dough:Maple Bread Batter The bread is sweetly infused with maple syrup, giving it a honeyed smoothness, accented ever so slightly by orange juice’s mild tang.  Enjoying it is like waking to a stack of steaming pancakes Saturday morning, except without the sticky fingers.

The only thing that could make this better is topping it with a dollop of melting butter.  Here we fall off the vegan wagon, slightly, by using butter.  It’s a shame, but it’s worth the deviance, as this calls for a special butter, as featured on the Barefeet in the Kitchen website.  It’s a magical concoction, whipped with honey and vanilla, like you see below.

Vanilla Beans  Real vanilla, the best, Tahitian vanilla, dispatched straight from the tropics.  Bonus points for using the good stuff?

The butter is so soft and sweet, it’s almost transcendent.  And it melts beautifully into the bread, as this week’s picture shows.  Just like a stack of steaming pancakes, dripping syrup and butter.  One moment, please.  Lost in the reverie of a perfect late winter moment…

*****

Vegan Olive Oil & Maple Quick Bread

  • 1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for the pan
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Preheat the oven to 350°.  Smear the sides of a 9″ x 5″ bread pan with a little olive oil, and line the bottom with parchment paper.

In a large bowl whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  In a separate medium bowl whisk together the olive oil, maple syrup, orange juice and vinegar.

Make a “well” in the dry ingredients.  Pour the wet ingredients into the well and whisk, gradually drawing in the dry ingredients.  Continue whisking until smooth, then pour the batter into the bread pan you prepared.  (*1)

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, then cool in the pan, on a wire rack.  Serve by itself (just dandy that way) or with preserves, regular butter, or honey butter (instructions below).

NOTES:

1 – As mentioned, and seen, in the intro, the consistency is more like a batter than it is like a traditional bread dough.  That’s fine, as it’s much easier to manipulate this way.

Of course, I wish I had read this before I started on this recipe, because I was expecting dough, not a batter.  I put it in the oven anyway, hoping for the best but fearing I just had wasted all those ingredients, as well as a Saturday afternoon.  Fortunately, things turned out just right.  I should have more faith.

*****

Vanilla Bean Whipped Honey Butter

  • 1/2 cup (one stick) butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • scrapings from half a vanilla bean, or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whip the butter for three minutes until it is light and fluffy. (*2)   Add the honey and beat for another minute, until well-combined.  Finally, add the vanilla and beat just to combine.  Scoop into a bowl and serve immediately, or cover bowl and refrigerate until needed, though let it rise to room temperature before serving.

NOTES:

2 – You can use either a power mixer, or by hand using a whisk and a bowl.  The butter is quite soft, as is the honey, of course, and all that whisking is rather therapeutic.  Plus, it gives you something to do while watching TV.

 

33 thoughts on “Syrup’s Rising Soon

    1. I think so, Kate. Nothing more obscure than maple syrup and oranges, and those two are pretty much ubiquitous.

      It just occurred to me, though, that maple syrup may be a bit harder to secure where you are. We North Americans (both in the US and in Canada) go crazy for the stuff, but sugar maples never approach the Equator, let alone cross it. In fact, they require a deep and sustained winter freeze to produce flavorful syrup the next spring.

      If maple syrup’s unattainable in Oz, try light molasses. Thrills me that you’re thinking of this, Kate. Flattering!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. High praise, indeed, from a real-life talented writer. Thanks much, Crystal!

      Yep, from seed, believe it or not. It started as a “what if…?” soon after I moved out after graduation. The idea actually worked, the seed sprouted, and a little over a year later, it became an anniversary gift. Nearly two decades later, thar she grows!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I wondered how old the tree was, actually how old you both are. 😊 I can do math. It’s a hidden talent.

        You, my dear, are a real-life talented writer, too! I always appreciate your wordsmithing.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Your thoughts honor me, Crystal! Again, thank you.

        Yep, if you do the math, it’ll reveal my secret! Keep it between us Gen X-ers, OK? Let’s just say I’m old enough to remember when “Growing Pains” wasn’t in syndication yet.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Not just that, but I reckon you remember using a rotary phone…licking a stamp…searching for books in that giant wooden Dewey Decimal cabinet…watching ALF (“Here, kitty, kitty…”)…

        Liked by 2 people

      4. As the years accumulate, the happier we are for someone think of us as being “young.” Thanks for that, Crystal!

        It also gratifies to have someone actually get all these references for a change.

        Liked by 2 people

      5. Isn’t it?

        Pretty impressive output from a large-ish flower put tucked away on a balcony barely big enough for three paces across, one forward. The sapling was outgrowing its nursery within the year, but by then, it was time to gift it and dig a hole for its permanent home.

        Liked by 2 people

  1. Amazed at your tree! What a beauty! I don’t think I’ve ever grown a plant that lasted that long. lol

    Did you see anyone tapping trees this year? We’ve attended some nice maple festivals in past years. Your bread would fit right in!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Much appreciated, Summer!

      No, haven’t seen anyone putting their maples to work this year, though the winter was much too mild to produce flavorful syrup anyway. Plus, I’m in suburbia, and the local citizenry tends not to be so…agricultural.

      Still, there is a town, about 90 minutes distant, that has a maple festival every year. Just about now, actually.

      How about you, Summer – did you or your family get into the sap when you were up in Vermont?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. We moved out of Vermont when I was very (very!) young. We’ve been to maple festivals (with requisite pancake breakfast and tree tapping) here in CT. Also, I’m thinking we’ve seen them tap the trees back when we lived in central NYS. It’s a nice way to celebrate the coming spring!

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Yes it is! Especially as they get started early – almost late in the winter, actually. When warm weather and greenery are dimming memories which we’ve begun to suspect never really happened,

        Liked by 1 person

  2. The tree is cool and definitely has bragging rights. I made a cookie dough that is a batter too. Bread with maple syrup taste sounds awesome! More like a cake than a bread.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Eliza!

      Quite accurate, it is more like a cake. I suppose the batter should’ve clued me in on what was coming. The orange juice is a nice addition, as the tang pairs well with the sweet syrup. Not in the sense of negating it but, rather, in dancing with it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The flavours can probably draw each other out.

        I eat foods I don’t like the flavourings of together to negate them both, but when I like them both it is awesomeness…

        Love, light, and glitter

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Well stated, Eliza!

        Why settle for two “meh” ingredients canceling each other, when you can have two not-so-meh items race each other to the top?

        We have to put up with much in life. Let’s try not to make food one of them. Dining ought to be one of the more enjoyable of our activities.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, the lyrics to “O, Canada!”

      I hear it played before so many hockey games, and now I know the words.

      I mean, a maple leaf is on their flag; no wonder they wrote a song about it too. Thanks for that, Tamara!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, JoAnn!

      The way to do it is, allow the bread to cool, just barely. Then, when the temperature is marginally tolerable, slice off a couple pieces. As the steam still rises, slather on a generous dollop (or two) of butter, and watch the crumb sop up the golden goodness. If imagining it wraps you in coziness, just think of how it must taste. Oh my!

      A perfect tonic for March, as spring’s ascendance hasn’t outpaced quite yet winter’s chill.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. oh… Maple Maple Maple. Such a rich and wonderful flavor. Maple AND a dollop of melting butter… a match made in heaven! I love that this is another vegan recipe that I can add to my plant base list! I’m a die hard carnivore but I’m trying lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Isn’t maple syrup awesome, Daniela? Especially now, when the stubborn chill needs just one more burst of warmth to push it out the door. No better tool for the job than a stack of steaming pancakes, butter melting into every pore, and thick maple syrup dripping down the sides. Either that, or softened butter oozing into still-warm-from-the-oven maple bread.

      I definitely respect your striving for vegan possibilities. Most of this journal’s desserts fit the bill, as do two or three non-sweet entries every year. The results have been satisfactory so far, but poultry and shellfish exert too strong pull to stay my course

      Liked by 1 person

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