I owe Carolyn an apology for scoffing at her “maple syrup” last year. The conversation went something like this:
C: I made maple syrup last night! I never realized how easy it was!
L: *checks hearing, rejects image of Carolyn tapping trees and boiling down sap in an evening* I’m sorry, what? You MADE maple syrup?
C: Yeah, it was just corn syrup and maple flavoring, and it’s great!
L: Oh, you mean pancake syrup. Not the same thing at all. Maple syrup comes from maple trees and tastes way better. Cool, though, I’m glad you have some now, must be much cheaper than the imported pancake syrup. Way to go. <- (trying to recover relationship from the scoffing here)
I am a real maple syrup snob. Grew up buying a gallon of it each summer in New Hampshire and doling it out like precious liquid gold on those special Saturday mornings or Sunday evenings when we ate pancakes, waffles, or those heavenly delights known as fried dough! We have had pancake syrup in the house at times in my life, and even eaten it, but it just doesn’t taste the same and the difference can’t be masked.
BUT, I was glancing through blogs on FeedSquares (go Chrome!) as I prepared to make some sugar cookie dough, and saw that Smitten Kitchen had just recently posted a recipe for Nutmeg Maple Sugar Cookies. Well, not only do I not have a cup of real maple syrup in the house for a double batch of cookie dough (there’s a half gallon jug of it in a closet in VA from NH this summer, waiting for me to bring it back after Christmas!), I wouldn’t spend that much of that precious luggage space/pancake topping in one recipe anyway. Last summer I did buy and bring back a bottle of maple flavoring, so I finally broke it open and adapted a recipe I found online to make “maple syrup.”
That stuff is some of the best maple-flavored syrup I have ever tasted!
Now, I’m not turning in my Maple Syrup Snob card. I still reserve the rights to call this other liquid pancake syrup or maple-flavored syrup or at least put quotation marks around “maple syrup” if that phrase must be used. But I won’t mind having the leftovers from this batch on my pancakes until I get the big bottle of the real stuff back here, and making more of this anytime in the future that I run out of the genuine ambrosia.
Adapted from Cooks.com
Makes about 1 1/2 cups
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup water
Bring to a boil in a small saucepan. Lower heat so it’s barely boiling, cover, and cook for about 3 minutes or until it starts to smell like you’d better get it off the heat! Let cool for a few minutes.
3/4 tsp maple flavoring (mapline)
1/2 tsp real vanilla extract (well, I had to be authentic with SOMETHING here!)
Stir in the flavorings. If using for the cookies, let cool completely before adding to the butter mixture. I also added another 3/8 tsp or so of maple flavoring to the cookie dough, and then fought to get it into the fridge before I ate the entire batch raw!
PS: When I saw vanilla in the recipe, I was doubtful. Wouldn’t that make it taste less like the real stuff? But since I begin with the assumption that it can’t taste like the real deal anyway, what’s important is that it tastes GREAT! And I just realized that since I used vanilla in this, I can enter it in a contest. Come join the fun at the My Baking Addiction and GoodLife Eats Holiday Recipe Swap sponsored by Beanilla! Seriously, the prize is a $150 gift card for vanilla stuff, which would be AMAZING! Good for baking, precious, potent vanilla goodness (eg, vanilla paste to use in chocolates), and light to pack in my suitcase!