“People would be surprised at how many ways you can incorporate maple syrup into a recipe,” says Jacob Griffin, executive chef at Madava Farms, producer of Crown Maple Syrup. “It’s a sweetener, it has an amazing flavor, and it’s a flavor enhancer.”
The CIA-trained chef says maple, as he calls it shorthand, is used in everything from chocolates to cocktails, salad dressings to spice rubs. Mast Brothers Chocolates in New York, for instance, adds it to their concoctions. “You don’t taste the maple outright, it enhances the richness of the chocolate,” Griffin says. “When it’s made with sugar, the flavor change is apparent.”
Griffin uses maple sugar as the base for barbecue spice rubs because “the sweetness marries itself to hot spices, like chilies.” It’s also great in salad dressings when mixed with vinegar. “Maple and balsamic is a match made in heaven,” he says.
Bartenders are replacing simple syrups with maple as well. “Sugar just adds empty sweetness, but maple offers a full spectrum of flavors,” he says. “I’d use a light amber for a lighter spirit. For an Old Fashioned, dark amber goes well with that.”
His personal favorite? “I love to make Meyer lemon maple curd with maple meringue. That is to die for.”
Try one of the sweet recipes below, all courtesy of Crown Maple LLC.