You can tell it’s spring by the jugs hanging from sugar maples that pervade the New England landscape. Sugar, stored in the roots in the fall, would drip into wooden buckets when the Algonquins first introduced it to colonists in the 1600’s. The Indians showed the new inhabitants how to make a hole in the tree, stick a wooden spout in the hole and hang a bucket on the spout.
This process could continue for several weeks until the weather got warm enough to reduce the sap’s sweetness. The Algonquin’s then showed the Colonists how to cook the liquid over a fire, boil off some of the water and let the remainder “caramelize” into a delicious syrup.
Today, Canada produces more than 80% of the world’s Maple Syrup, which is not surprising since the majority of Algonquin’s live in the Ottawa area. Vermont is the largest United States producer.
There are some health benefits to eating Maple Syrup. First of all, it is low in fructose compared to high fructose corn syrup and it is rich in manganese and zinc.
One reason that real Maple Syrup is so expensive is that it takes about 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup.
If you want to learn more about this interesting process, you can visit Wikipedia.org/Maple_syrup like I did.
Here’s a cookie recipe to get you started, which I got from http://homecooking.about.com/od/cookierecipes with a few little changes.
Maple Nut Cookies
1.5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
½ cup pure maple syrup (not imitation)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup shredded sweetened coconut
½ cup chopped macadamia nuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Beat on medium speed until well-combined. Add flour, coconut and macadamia nuts. Stir just until combined. Scoop teaspoons of dough and place on prepared baking sheets 2 inches apart. Bake 10 to 12 minutes until golden. Let cool 5 minutes and completely cool. Store in a covered container.
For a little extra flavor, you can frost them with maple frosting.
*If you have any insulin issues, I strongly suggest not eating these cookies.
And, a happy spring to you all.
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