maple syrup

There’s a new contender in the craft food world. Forget cinnamon and pumpkin spice as your fall essentials, I predict craft maple syrup will be the season’s falliest ingredient.

With its warm taste and incredible versatility, infused maple syrups can range from sweet and savory to spicy and herby. Pure maple syrup, which is relatively unprocessed, is light and just slightly sweet, and a natural alternative to processed sugar (hooray!).

Infusing them with your favorite ingredients is the fun part—and it’s incredibly easy to do!

How to Infuse Your Own Maple Syrup

  • Grab your favorite pure maple syrup (check the label to make sure it’s pure and not processed)  and heat one cup of it in a saucepan on medium heat. You don’t want it to boil—just simmer.
  • Add your favorite ingredients and simmer for about 5-10 minutes. You can simmer it longer if you use low heat.
  • Let the syrup steep for about 10 more minutes and then strain it into a jar and let it cool before serving. That’s it!

Just think of the endless possibilities! Want bacon-flavored syrup? Add pieces of cooked bacon to the pan. Want something delicate and floral? Think dried lavender buds and a splash of vanilla essence.

I made a rosemary and orange peel infusion that was absolutely divine. It has a soft herbal spiciness with a fruity sweetness, that’s ever-so-balanced in the syrup. I used two fresh sprigs of rosemary and orange peel from a whole orange in the mixture.

So far, I’ve used my concoction on chicken ‘n’ waffles (duh!), a baked sweet potato with butter, a cocktail, and as part of a marinade for salmon. Check out the video below for the cocktail and salad dressing recipe!

For the marinade, I mixed some of the infused syrup with olive oil and ground mustard, and baked the fish once it was marinated. The syrup, with its natural viscosity and sweetness, caramelized and crisped up the filet’s edges perfectly. It was SO delicious! It would also work well on a festive baked chicken.

Laura Sorkin, co-founder of craft maple syrups, Runamok Maple, says the trick to making your infusions is finding the right balance and the best quality ingredients. “We have found [maple syrup] blends beautifully with everything from fiery ginger to floral jasmine tea,” she said. “You don’t want the spice to overwhelm the maple and, in some cases, make it bitter.”

I’ve been using Runamok’s ginger, jasmine tea, bourbon barrel aged, and Merquen infusions. The Merquen, a smoked chili pepper, in the syrup is deliciously sweet and spicy and goes well on glazed pork. I used the ginger-infused syrup in black tea—the maple gave it a warm sweetness that doesn’t require any additional sugar.

Explore your possibilities. From cocktails and dips to pastries and marinades, there are some awesome ways you can use maple syrup beyond the basic brunch this fall.

Header image courtesy of Camp Canada.

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