Tag Archives: maple syrup

non-alcoholic winter colada cocktail next to pineapples and lemons

This Non-Alcoholic Winter Colada Recipe is Sure to Cure Your Winter Blues

Sure, we can’t travel right now, but we can pretend to visit a tropical island with this That’s the Spirit winter colada recipe. Combining flavours of pineapple and coconut milk, orange marmalade and a spiced syrup made with maple, cinnamon, cloves and allspice, this perfectly tropical pick-me-up is sure to cure your winter blues.

non-alcoholic winter colada cocktail next to pineapples and lemons

Non-Alcoholic Winter Colada

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 1 cocktail

Ingredients:

Spiced Syrup
¾ cup maple syrup
¼ cup water
1 tsp allspice berries
2 sticks cinnamon
½ tsp cloves
1 Thai chili (optional)

Cocktail
1 ½ oz non-alcoholic spirit
1 oz pineapple juice
1 oz coconut milk
½ oz spiced syrup
½ oz lemon juice (approximately ¼ lemon)
1 small Tbsp orange marmalade
Ice for shaking
Pineapple fronds and cinnamon for garnish (optional)

non-alcoholic winter colada cocktail ingredients on kitchen table

Directions:

1. In a pot, add maple syrup, water, allspice berries, cinnamon, cloves and Thai chili and bring to boil. Turn to low and let simmer for 5-10 minutes until flavours are integrated and slightly reduced.

non-alcoholic winter colada cocktail syrup in pot

2. Strain out solids through a colander or strainer into a non-reactive container. Recipe can remain in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

3. In a shaker tin or mason jar, add non-alcoholic spirit, pineapple juice, coconut milk, ½ oz the spiced syrup you just made, lemon juice and orange marmalade. Close up the shaking vessel and shake until jam is broken down (about 5 seconds). Open up shaker again and check that all ingredients are well integrated.

Related: Dazzling Non-Alcoholic Sparklers, Mocktails and Drinks for a Dry January

4. Add enough ice to cover the liquid plus a little bit more, do not be shy. Cover the other side of the shaker tin and shake vigorously for 10 to 15 seconds until well chilled.

5. Transfer the contents of the shaker tin into a large juice glass of your choice. Garnish with desired garnish (recommended: pineapple fronds and a dust of cinnamon for aromatics). Enjoy immediately!

person placing leaves in non-alcoholic winter colada cocktail

Like Evelyn’s winter colada recipe? Try her apple spruce gimlet.

Nashville Hot Chicken Wings With a Sweet Canadian Twist

Reader be warned: these wings are not for the faint of heart. Nashville Hot Chicken is notorious for its blow-your-socks-off heat. Fiery cayenne gets the heart pounding while an extra hit of hot sauce will set your taste buds alight. We made this recipe our own with the addition of maple syrup, adding a dash of welcome sweetness. No doubt about it, this chicken hurts, so consider swapping your game day beer for a cold glass of milk!

Nashville Hot Chicken Wings

Total Time: 50 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6

Ingredients:
vegetable oil for frying (about 10 cups)
6 Tbsp cayenne
1 Tbsp paprika
1 Tbsp garlic powder
4 tsp kosher salt, divided
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp black pepper
1 cup buttermilk
¼ cup hot sauce, divided
3 lbs whole chicken wings
3 Tbsp maple syrup
1 cup sliced pickles

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 250°F. Place a wire rack over a baking sheet.
2. Pour oil into a large heavy-bottomed pot to measure about 2-inches up the sides. Heat over medium until an instant read thermometer registers 350°F.
3. Meanwhile, in a very large bowl, whisk together 5 Tbsp cayenne, paprika, garlic powder, and 1 Tbsp salt. Set aside.
4. Mix flour, black pepper, remaining 1 Tbsp cayenne and 1 tsp salt in a shallow dish.
5. Whisk buttermilk and 1 Tbsp hot sauce in a large bowl until combined.
6. Working in small batches, toss wings in flour mixture until coated. Shake off excess flour, then transfer to buttermilk mixture. Turn wings to coat, then toss for a second time in flour mixture. Transfer to a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining wings.

7. When oil reaches temperature, carefully add 1/3 of wings. The temperature will dip once wings are added. Adjust heat to maintain temperature between 315°F and 330°F. Fry, stirring occasionally, until golden-brown and cooked through, 6 to 7 minutes. Transfer to prepared rack using a slotted spoon. Keep warm in oven. Allow temperature to return to 350°F before repeating with remaining batches.
8. Carefully whisk 1 cup hot fryer oil, maple syrup and remaining 3 Tbsp hot sauce into spice mixture. Add wings and toss to coat. Transfer to a plate. Drizzle with more sauce, if desired, and garnish with pickles.

Craving more chicken dishes to add to your repertoire? Here are 40 Easy Chicken Dinners Done in Under 30 Minutes along with Our Most Popular Chicken Breast Recipes

A Heavenly Blueberry and Bacon Breakfast Casserole Made With Croissants

Blueberry pancakes with maple syrup and a healthy serving of bacon on the side has to be one of the most celebrated breakfasts of all time. When you find yourself with stale croissants, do yourself a favour before tossing them: make this super simple (and reliably delicious!) casserole dish that’s a riff on the quintessential breakfast. With maple syrup, wild blueberries and bacon, it ticks all the boxes of our favourite Canadian ingredients… and the buttery croissant base takes it to the next level. Your weekend brunch game just got a whole lot sweeter.

Blueberry, Maple and Bacon Croissant Casserole

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Serves: 6 to 8

Ingredients:
3 eggs
2 egg yolks
1-¼ cups milk
⅓ cup 35% cream
⅔ cup maple syrup, divided
2 tsp vanilla
½ tsp kosher salt, divided
8 cups lightly packed stale croissants, cubed or roughly torn into 1-inch pieces
6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
2-½ cups frozen wild blueberries, divided
1 Tbsp flour

Directions:
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Butter a 2L casserole dish; set aside.
2. Whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, milk, cream, ⅓ cup maple syrup, vanilla and ¼ tsp salt in a large bowl.
3. Add the croissant bread and bacon, and toss to combine.
4. Toss 1 cup blueberries with flour in a small bowl. Add it to the croissant mixture, tossing gently to combine.
5. Spoon into prepared casserole dish and bake until golden and set, about 45 to 50 minutes.  

6. Meanwhile, add remaining blueberries, maple syrup and salt to a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until thickened, about 10 minutes.
7. Drizzle the sweet, syrupy blueberry sauce over each individual casserole serving. Bon appétit!

Looking for more comforting breakfast inspiration? Here are 10 Must-Eat Canadian Breakfast Sandwiches and 25 Easy Breakfast Casserole Recipes.

Why Maple Syrup is the Perfect Secret Ingredient to Kick Off Iron Chef Canada

What better way to kick off the inaugural season of Iron Chef Canada than with the most Canadian secret ingredient of all: maple syrup? Considering the sweet, sticky stuff is one of our country’s biggest exports (more than 40 million maple products left our borders in 2015), it was the perfect ingredient to showcase in the Canadian Kitchen Stadium during the premiere episode.

Ever since indigenous populations taught European settlers how to harvest maple trees, most of us have been saps for the golden stuff on a fresh stack of pancakes or woven into the fabric of our favourite breakfast meats like ham, sausage and bacon. But as Iron Chef Lynn Crawford and challenger Chef Marc Lepine proved, it’s also a great ingredient to smoke with, glaze with, marinade with, and even poach with.

In celebration of this sweet secret ingredient, here’s everything you ever wanted to know about maple syrup.

 

What is maple syrup?

This perfectly vegan sweetener is derived from the sap of maple trees and comes in two grades: Grade A and Processing Grade. The former is the stuff that winds up in our pantries, and it comes in four colour classes: golden, amber, dark and very dark. The earlier the sap is harvested the lighter the resulting syrup’s colour will be, but they’re all delicious—it’s really just a matter of personal preference.

When is maple syrup season?

In Canada, sap is gathered between March and April depending on the region. The best time to collect it is when the nights are still cold but the days warm up, creating pressure in the trees that push water down.

The maple syrup process

Each spring maple farmers tap trees with traditional buckets or more modern tubing, collecting usually no more than 1.5 litres from each tree (roughly one-tenth of the overall sugar) in order to sustain production and the tree’s overall health.

The sap is then sent to a storage tank before moving along to the sugar house, where it’s boiled down in order to evaporate the water content and reach a sugar concentration of 66 per cent. Traditionally, 40 litres of sap produces one litre of actual syrup.

What is maple sugar?

When the sap is further boiled down and almost all of its water content is evaporated, the result is crystallized, maple sugar. Producers sell maple sugar in large blocks, or it can be moulded into shapes for candy or even granulated and used in place of regular sugar for an extra maple kick.

If you’re subbing maple sugar into a recipe, use it the same way you would cane sugar. It’s sweeter than white sugar, so reduce your measurements accordingly. Meanwhile, maple sugar is also great when creamed with butter for cookies and cakes, as a topping on oatmeal, or as a hit of sweetness in a rub for meats.

What are some other maple products?

Maple butter, maple candy and maple cream are all popular sellers.

Where can you buy maple syrup?

Luckily in Canada, maple syrup is readily available: stock at grocery stores, farmers’ markets, speciality shops and even airports always lines the shelves. No wonder it’s such a popular item for Canadian politicians and diplomats to gift while abroad.

Maple syrup production in Canada and Quebec

In 2015 Canada produced 8,908 gallons of maple syrup from more than 10,000 maple farmers and more than 44 million taps, with exports estimated to be worth $360 million. In fact, we export nearly 80 per cent of the world’s total maple supply, with countries like Japan, Germany, France and the U.S. being our biggest customers. While Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia are all big maple syrup players, 90 per cent of our syrup comes from Quebec alone.

Does maple syrup have health benefits?

Maple syrup is certainly high in sugar, but it’s also better for you than refined sugar because it contains key nutrients like manganese, calcium and zinc. Overall 100 per cent natural maple syrup also contains fewer calories and a higher concentration of minerals than honey, and it has a glycemic index of 54 (sugar is 58 and honey weighs in at 57). It’s no wonder health products like maple water have been springing up on store shelves.

What is the Global Strategic Reserve?

Maple syrup is such a hot Canadian commodity that more than $100 million worth of the liquid gold currently sits in what some refer to as the “Fort Knox of maple syrup,” a.k.a. the Global Strategic Reserve. Three separate sites located in Quebec house the sweet, sweet, nectar. The supply is meant to help stabilize overall price and to build a stock that allows marketers to sell the product as an everyday alternative to sugar. Considering the global demand has been increasing five-to-six per cent per year since 2010, it’s a good backup to have.

A sticky, maple heist

A barrel of maple syrup can be worth more than 13 times the price of crude oil, which makes it a hot commodity for sticky-fingered bandits. One of the biggest incidents on record was in 2012 when workers at a holding warehouse in Quebec turned up an empty barrel during a routine inventory check. Further investigation uncovered dozens of barrels that had been secretly filled with water. In total, six million pounds (a whopping $18.7 million worth) of maple syrup was missing.

An official investigation launched by the Quebec Provincial Police uncovered a heist involving more than 25 people. Eventually, the leader, Richard Vallières, was found guilty of theft, fraud and trafficking of stolen goods after it was discovered he had been selling the syrup to a buyer from New Brunswick. Vallières was sentenced to eight years in prison and fined $9.4 million.

A Canadian hobby

While the production of maple syrup is certainly a hot industry, anyone with maple trees in their backyard can produce the stuff if they really want. Indeed, harvesting maple syrup has become something of a hobby for many outdoorsy Canadians. Where things get sticky is when small-batch producers and local farms attempt to sell the stuff on a higher level. Thanks to strict regulations involving wholesale markets and exports, some would-be sellers face specific maple syrup taxes and commissions.

Visiting the old maple sugar bush

If you were a kid growing up in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick or Nova Scotia, chances are you’ve headed out to a maple sugar shack to witness the production of Canada’s liquid gold. It’s a quintessential Canadian outing (and a popular school field trip!)  in which visitors can learn about the overall production process, take wagon rides, eat some syrup-laden pancakes and sausages and of course, mow down on some sweet maple candy.

Cooking with maple syrup

Maple adds a distinct layer of flavour to many sweet and savoury dishes. If you’re subbing it in for white sugar, use 2/3 of a cup of maple for every cup of sugar and reduce the quantity of overall liquid in the recipe by one-fourth. Maple can also be used in place of other liquid sweeteners like honey, corn syrup and molasses in a one-to-one ratio, giving you a perfectly maple-inspired treat.

Watch Iron Chef Canada Wednesdays at 10 PM E/P

The Great Canadian Salad

Make this Canadian Summer Salad Packed with Home Grown Ingredients

In this salad, we’re combining classic Canadian ingredients, bacon and maple syrup, with two great Canadian-grown ingredients, lentils and mustard. Did you know Canada is the world’s largest exporter of lentils and mustard seeds? Really! Here, they come together in a great Canadian salad that’s a little bit sweet and a touch salty with a nice earthy crunch from grated beets and peppery bite from tender greens. Canadian pride never tasted so good.

Great Canadian Salad

Lentil, Bacon And Feta Salad With Maple Dijon Dressing

Total Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
Maple Dijon Dressing

3 Tbsp Dijon mustard
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1½ Tbsp maple syrup
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper 

Lentil, Bacon And Feta Salad
2 cups cooked lentils (from 3/4 cup dry or canned)
100 g (approx. 1/2 cup) roughly diced cooked peameal bacon
100 g roughly chopped feta cheese
2 large handfuls greens, such as arugula
1/4 cup grated beets

Great Canadian Salad

Directions:
Maple Dijon Dressing:
1. Place all dressing ingredients a small jam jar, place the lid on and shake well. Refrigerate until ready to dress the salad.

Lentil, Bacon And Feta Salad:
1. In a large bowl, mix to combine lentils and bacon. Add the feta and stir gently to distribute evenly though the salad. Add the greens and beets and mix gently to avoid bruising the green leaves.
2. When ready to serve, dress the salad with your prepared dressing, to taste. Portion into bowls and serve.

Keep the Canadiana theme going and treat yourself to a little post-salad dessert in the form of butter tart monkey bread.

8 Sugar Shacks You Need to Visit This Winter

Sorry Western Canada; you might have all the gorgeous mountain ranges and top ski destinations, but Eastern Canada rules the roost when it comes to homegrown maple syrup and sugar shacks.

From Ontario to Nova Scotia, here are eight sugar shacks that are worth putting on those winter boots and stomping through the snow for.

Sugar Moon Farm

Sugar Moon Farm

Cabane PDC (Montreal, QC) 

Arguably the most well-known sugar shack in the country, Martin Picard’s Cabane au Sucre is also one of the hardest spots to get a seat. Just like his Montreal eatery, Au Pied De Cochon, it’s all things rich and indulgent here, so don’t expect to walk out feeling anything but full to the brim.

Crinklaw Maple Products (London, ON) 

Having been in operation for over 180 years, I think it’s safe to say this family-run maple syrup business has truly stood the test of time. Though it doesn’t open until early March and doesn’t offer a dining experience, there’s tons of winter fun to partake in, like sleigh rides and maybe throwing a snowball or two.

Érablière Au Sous-Bois: Brunch

Brunch at Érablière Au Sous-Bois

Érablière Au Sous-Bois (Mont-Saint-Grégoire, QC) 

A bit larger than your regular sugar shack, Érablière not only offers the standard maple producing tours, and food and drink, but also night time dancing. Open until 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights, this spot would make a super fun outing for a group of friends or a couple on a date.

La Tablee des Pionniers (Saint-Faustin-Lac-Carré, QC) 

Owned by celebrity Québecois chef Louis-Francois Marcotte, this sugar shack is a must-try for any self-proclaimed lover of the maple delight. With coursed, family-style menus (centred around maple syrup, of course), ranging from $30-$50 per person, you can dive into a myriad of dishes; pulled pork and mushroom in puff pastry, warming split pea soup with savoy cabbage and bacon, and much more. Don’t worry, there’s maple taffy, too.

La Tablee des Pionniers

La Tablee des Pionniers

Sand Road Sugar Camp (Moose Creek, ON) 

You’ll find this popular maple syrup manufacturer just a short drive from Ottawa. Ideal for a family excursion, there’s so much to explore including how maple trees are tapped, strolling around forest trails, or simply enjoying a big brunch buffet.

Sugar Moon Farm

Sugar Moon Farm: Sugar Baby Jarfait

Sugar Moon Farm (Earltown, NS) 

A beautiful drive on winding roads in rural Nova Scotia will bring you to this charming little spot nestled in a forest of maple trees. The menu offers good, honest food with a focus on breakfast. The pancakes and maple baked beans are the perfect sweet-meets-savoury combination, but don’t skip the Sugar Baby Jarfait; layered with maple granola, organic yogurt and Nova Scotia blueberries, this is simplicity at its best!

Sugar Moon Farm

Sugar Moon Farm: Maple Baked Beans

Temple’s Sugar Bush (Lanark, ON) 

Once you’re done exploring the outdoors, take a seat inside Temple’s main building to find that it’s anything but a dusty old shack. Tall vaulted ceilings, a large fireplace and lofted areas make you feel like you’re in more of a mansion than a maple farm. Don’t forget to pick up some maple sugar and their signature maple sticky buns on the way out!

Temple’s Sugar Bush

Temple’s Sugar Bush

Trites Maples (Stilesville, NB) 

Just outside of Moncton, this cozy family-run sugar shack operates during the weekend until 3 p.m. For breakfast, you can enjoy big stacks of buckwheat pancakes, sausages, maple baked beans cooked in a wood-fired oven, and (the most important one of all) all-you-can-eat maple taffy. Meet me there?

Buttercream Filled Maple Sandwich Cookies

Nothing says Canada quite like maple syrup — and nothing says it’s the holidays quite like cookies! These maple cookies are delicious baked up just as they are, but a sweet maple buttercream filling will take them to the next level. Just pipe some frosting on one cookie, top it with another and you’ve got a perfect after-dinner dessert or homemade gift.

maple_cookies_3

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Makes: 24-30 cookies

Ingredients:

Dough:
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
¼ cup maple syrup
2 ½ cups flour
¼ tsp salt

Icing:
1 cup butter
4 cups icing sugar
2 tsp maple extract
2 Tbsp 35% whipping cream

Maple-Cookies_7

Directions:
1. In a large bowl, using a hand mixer beat together butter and sugar until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add egg and beat for 1 minute. Add maple syrup and beat to combine, about 1 minute.
2. In a medium sized bowl, combine flour and salt. Add flour mixture to butter mixture and mix until dough comes together, about 1 minute.
3. Dump dough onto a lightly floured surface. Shape into two round discs, wrap in plastic wrap and place in fridge for 1 hour.
4. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
5. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one disc of dough until ¼” thick. Use extra flour if dough is sticky. Cut out 2” rounds, and place 1” apart on prepared baking sheets.
6. Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes, until dough is just starting to turn golden brown around the edges. Let cool and repeat with remaining dough.
7. Make icing by combining butter and icing sugar with a hand mixer. Mix on medium speed until combined, about 2 minutes. Add maple extract and cream, and continue to mix on high speed until icing is light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
8. Pipe icing using a star tip or spoon, about 1 Tbsp icing on the inside of one cookie. Sandwich cookies together and repeat with remaining cookies.

maple_cookies_5

5 Natural Sweeteners to Replace White Sugar

If you are like most people, your summer is a time for indulging in ice cream, fruit tarts, cakes, cookies and lots and lots of sugary desserts — full of white sugar. Although white sugar is delicious and makes everything much, much sweeter, it has been touted as a “poison” by some and has been compared to alcohol, cigarettes and crack in terms of an addictive substance. Before we get into better sugar alternatives, here are some reasons why we should limit our white sugar intake.

– It has no nutritional value. Beyond being very sweet, white sugar is known as an empty calorie, it does not contain any nutrients beyond being a carbohydrate. Since it is so refined, containing no nutrients, it actually robs the body of stored vitamins and minerals.
– It suppresses the immune system. Only 1 teaspoon of white sugar can suppress white blood cell function for up to 5 hours! The white blood cells are the body’s main defenders against foreign invaders.
– It interferes with Vitamin C. Vitamin C is needed in the body to boost immunity, build healthy skin and prevent cancer. Sugar interferes with Vitamin C’s function by compromising its transport throughout the body.
– It feeds candida, yeast, parasites and unwanted bacteria. This causes poor digestion, decreased immune function, gas, bloating, constipation and toxins.
– It makes you fat. There has been a ton of research over the years that fat is not always the culprit making you fat, rather, it is sugar. Excess sugar gets stored as fat in the body.
– It spikes blood sugar. Refined, white sugar raises blood sugar really high leading to intense crashes affecting energy levels and hormones.

Now that you know why white sugar needs to go, let’s move on to what sweeteners you can replace it with!

888x888_NaturalSweeteners

1. Coconut Sugar
This has become popular in the last few years. Coconut sugar is made from the sap of the flower of the coconut palm tree. Water is evaporated from the sap to make coconut sugar, which looks very similarly to brown sugar. Coconut sugar has a lower glycemic index, meaning it will not raise blood sugar the way white sugar does. It contains nutrients such as zinc, iron, B vitamins and inulin, a fibre that feeds probiotics. Coconut sugar is sweet and can be used 1:1 ratio with white sugar.

2. Honey
Honey looks like liquid gold, it has natural antimicrobial, antibacterial and antioxidant properties. The healthfulness of honey depends on the quality and if it is raw or not. Processing honey removes many of the phytonutrients that are still present in raw honey. Raw honey contains enzymes, minerals and vitamins, already making it more nutritious than white sugar. However, honey is very sweet and will raise blood sugar significantly so it’s best to use in minimal amounts.

3. Maple syrup
Maple syrup is Canada’s homegrown sweetener. It is made from the liquid sap and then boiled until the water is evaporated and it becomes a sticky, thick syrup. Maple syrup is rich in manganese and zinc, which are antioxidants that prevent cell damage. Maple syrup is high on the glycemic index, meaning it spikes blood sugar, however, it is more healthful than refined, white sugar.

4. Molasses
Molasses is actually the liquid byproduct of refining sugar. It’s a thick, viscous sweetener that pairs well with ginger. Molasses contains iron, copper, calcium, potassium, magnesium, manganese, selenium and vitamin B6 – so it is quite rich in minerals.

5. Stevia (green)
Stevia is the best alternative to white sugar, however, many people are put off by the taste. It is very, very, very sweet so you only need to use small amounts. Unrefined stevia is calorie free and will not raise blood sugar at all! You can actually grow stevia in your backyard, which will make it hyper-local. If you are purchasing stevia you want to opt for the green powder or crushed stevia leaves. White stevia is processed, so I would recommend avoiding that one.

You don’t have to give up eating sweets in an effort to avoid white sugar. As with most things in life, the key is moderation. Even though these sweeteners are healthier than white sugar, some will still raise blood sugar levels very high. If you are committed to doing a real sugar detox, you will want to avoid all sweeteners, even wholesome ones and stick to natural sweets like green apples and berries.

tamara-green-living-kitchen Tamara Green is co-founder of The Living Kitchen, and a Holistic Nutritionist and Natural Cook. She combines her knowledge of nutrition and passion for cooking good food to work with clients to create lasting changes in their lives.