Adventures in the Kitchen with Michelle

It’s Fall ! Yippee!!! Besides loving all things pumpkin, I love, nearly, all things maple. Western Pennsylvania native – surprise!! One drawback, it’s a diet no-no. Most of it isn’t even real maple syrup either. Like so many things that have been Frankensteined (“It’s Fraaanken-schteen!!!”) like cheese labeled “pasteurized cheese-food product”, and mayonnaise that doesn’t require refrigeration …. makes you wonder. And yet, these things are deemed ‘safe’ and actually have found a place in our culinary quilt called the American Diet. Maple syrup is either 100% Pure Maple Syrup, or an artificially flavored corn syrup product. Lite syrup is just the latter with water aded, it seems. Which is why you really do use 1/4 cup as a serving, because it HAS NO TASTE! And a horrible something happens when they use artificial sweeteners for No-Sugar Maple Syrup. That’s when the stitches come loose and the monster turns bad – very bad.
 
That’s not the maple surple I remember as a child. Yes, I called it surple because I couldn’t say syrup yet…but that wasn’t going to stop me from asking for some! When I was little Grandma had what looked like a ginormous oil can printed with a snowy scene filled with that Northeastern Liquid Gold. And it was G o o d. When it was gone, Grandma kept a bottle of Mapleine, an artificial maple flavor that she’d cook with sugar, or Karo (corn syrup) to substitute until another of those big cans appeared. Now, I’m not sure just what they use to make Mapleine, and I don’t care, because it’s so close to the original I’ll take the chance. Last time I bought a bottle the label actually looked like it did some 40 years ago – which is how I recognized it on the shelf. They haven’t changed a thing. Something that has changed is our choice of sweeteners. Everyone’s heard about how we need to cut back on corn syrup usage and I agree. So, I set about looking for an alternative. Sugar, is well, just sugar and I’m needing to get away from that too. Honey has too much of it’s own character. I have to stay with a natural base to keep the amber goodness. Xantham Gum may thicken Whey-Low or a Truvia, but they have a ‘fake taste’ and the Gum makes a weird texture. Hmmmm, I did mention ‘amber’…. Agave nectar is amber. It’s the right consistency, and takes well to flavoring. Yes, it is technically a ‘processed’ product. It isn’t the darling of the health food world it used to be, now that we know what they have to do to get it. And it’s not one step from tequila either! Although, it has a low-glycemic index which helps the diabetics. Even dieters know the caloric burning advantages to using it. Wow- this is a no brainer. And I just happen to have a ginormous bottle of it –  organic to boot. Let’s blend, shall we…
 
Step 1: Well, there really is only one step. There’s no cooking at involved. I used a 1/2 cup of Agave and 1/8 tsp Mapleine – it’s strong, be careful. Really? That’s it? It’s great!!!
Even though I love pancakes, I know I can only eat one or two. I used only about 2 Tbl on 2 pancakes and that’s all they needed. It soaked in and was mapley all the way thru. Yuuuum. And 2 Tbl is like 120 calories. Which I can’t label as ‘diet’ but it’s at least not the 230 that regular syrup packs on. If you want Butter Flavor, well, ok. We’ve already gone the slippery slope of artificiality so add a drop or two of Butter Flavoring. I use the Wilton for icings that need to taste good, but that real butter will make to soft to decorate with. It’s not bad, and adds a warmer, buttery pancake syrup flavor….just like on the farm. Back when my waistline didn’t care that I had 2 pats of butter and an amber ring of gooey goodness circling my pile of pancakes. I was happy that Fall was back and Grandma had yet another one of those ginormous oil cans….   
Maple Surple

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