Maple syrup is Canada’s favorite syrup and is known globally, both as the quintessential Canadian product and as a flavoring. Maple syrup is a versatile sweetener that has far more applications than just pancakes and waffles. It is only a good sweetening option if you use it correctly. Here are some of the dos and don’ts of cooking and baking with maple syrup.
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Table of Contents
- Do remove some liquid from your batter if you are sweetening it with maple syrup instead of granulated sugar.
- Do use less maple syrup when using it as a substitute for sugar.
- Do learn the significance of maple syrup colors.
- Do use maple syrup as a substitute for any other conventional liquid sweetener.
- Do store maple syrup correctly.
- Don’t bake dishes containing maple syrup at the same temperatures as those with sugar.
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Do remove some liquid from your batter if you are sweetening it with maple syrup instead of granulated sugar.
Because maple syrup is a liquid, using it as a granulated sugar substitute can make your batter too wet. Too much liquid isn’t great in any recipe, but can ruin baked goods. The best way to correct the imbalance is to remove some of the recipe’s other wet ingredients. A good formula for this is to cut the other liquid by 1/4 cup for every cup of maple syrup you add.
Do use less maple syrup when using it as a substitute for sugar.
Maple syrup makes a good sugar substitute for some applications since it contributes maple flavor along with sweetness; however, it is sweeter than sugar. To keep your recipes from being too sweet, use less of it than your recipe suggests for sugar. Use 2/3 to 3/4 cup for every cup of sugar — the range is imprecise because different maple syrups have different levels of sweetness; sweeten to taste.
Do learn the significance of maple syrup colors.
While all maple syrups that you are likely to encounter on grocery store shelves are of the same grade — grade A — you may find that there are different colors and each of these colors signifies different properties. Golden maple syrup is the palest kind and has the most delicate flavor. Amber is darker, has more flavor and is best for traditional maple syrup applications like being used on pancakes and breakfast cereal.
Dark has an even stronger flavor and is better for glazing meat and vegetables, while the darkest of all — labeled very dark — has a concentrated flavor and slight bitterness. Use very dark maple syrup for the same kinds of dishes that would require dark corn syrup or molasses; for example, baked beans and barbecue sauce.
Do use maple syrup as a substitute for any other conventional liquid sweetener.
It is versatile enough to replace honey, molasses, and corn syrup. It will work as a 1:1 substitute for the aforementioned sweeteners, as well as for other similarly viscous ones like agave nectar. Not all kinds of maple syrup are equally suitable for replacing all sweeteners. Use dark maple syrups to replace dark sweeteners and amber ones to replace amber sweeteners.
Do store maple syrup correctly.
An unopened container of pure maple syrup will last indefinitely, even at room temperature. Once the container has been opened, it should be refrigerated, or it may develop mold. The kind of mold that develops on maple syrup is not toxic, but is unsightly. Unrefrigerated maple syrup may also start fermenting because of yeast from the environment. Fermenting maple syrup may have an off-taste so while it should be safe to eat, it may be necessary to discard it.
Don’t bake dishes containing maple syrup at the same temperatures as those with sugar.
Maple syrup caramelizes at a lower temperature than sugar, so your oven will need to be cooler when you are using it as a sugar substitute. Set your oven 25 degrees lower than the recommended baking temperature for items with sugar.