CHERYL WIXSON PHOTO

Syrup-laced muffins on tap



I keep a close eye on my pantry inventory these days; sorting root-cellared apples for sauce, peeling and freezing garlic and roasting the butternut squash with soft spots.

The urge for this annual routine of spring sorting and cleaning reminds me of squirrels, checking their food supplies, cleaning out their nest and getting ready for the summer harvest.

This year, I’m feeling very much like a squirrel, as managing my food supplies has become even more critical.

Pouring the last of my blue, 5-gallon jug of Maine maple syrup into quart jars prompted nostalgic memories of Maine Maple Sunday. Our tribe has long left the nest, but for many years, the fourth Sunday in March was a ritual family outing to procure our annual supply of maple syrup.

We’d visit local sugarhouses and sample lots of syrup; some dark and rich, others more pale gold and delicate. Each year, the syrup would have a uniquely delicious taste; some liken it to a fine wine. We’d make our selection, then stock up with plenty of sweet, flavor-brightening syrup for the year, usually around five gallons.

How about your family? How do you use this food produced so close to home?

Before cheaply priced white sugar came to the Americas, maple syrup was the seasoning of choice. For indigenous people, it was a staple food, and used much like salt is today.

Imagine your pantry without a reliable, steady supply of white sugar. What could you use? Maple syrup? Honey?

Tinkering with baking recipes and replacing sugar with maple syrup or honey can be a challenge. There really is no hard and fast rule for substitution. I’ve had many failures!

Which is why the recipe for Maple Pecan Muffins was so appealing. Adapted from “The Laurel’s Kitchen Bread Book,” this muffin recipe really works. Plus, as long as you have Maine maple syrup, it’s pantry friendly.

Laurel’s recipe calls for white flour; I like the extra fiber boost from whole-wheat pastry. The type of oil, olive, corn, walnut, etc., slightly changes the delicate seasoning. Or, swap out melted butter for the oil. Toast the nuts or seeds for a richer flavor. This recipe uses water; a little cream or milk would work too.

Like my squirrel neighbors, I’m getting ready to store the harvest. Time to make room for my annual supply of Maine maple syrup.

Maple Pecan Muffins
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Servings
12
Servings
12
Maple Pecan Muffins
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
Servings
12
Servings
12
Ingredients
  • cups whole-wheat pastry flour
  • tsp. baking powder
  • ½ cup chopped (roasted) pecans
  • 1/3 cup Maine maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsps. oil (olive, corn, nut)
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup water (milk or cream)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
Servings:
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Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the whole-wheat pastry flour and baking powder. Whisk in the chopped pecans.
  3. In a 2-cup measuring receptacle, whisk together maple syrup and oil. Add the egg. Add the water or cream and vanilla extract.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir just enough to mix. Spoon into muffin tin. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 12-15 minutes.
Recipe Notes

Nutritional analysis per muffin: 136 calories, 2.4 grams protein, 18 grams carbohydrates, 6 grams fat, 67 mg. sodium, 2.4 grams fiber.

  • To roast pecans, spread a thin layer on a sheet pan and roast in a 350-degree F oven until toasty, about 3-5 minutes. No pecans? Try walnuts, almonds or hazelnuts. Nut allergy? Use sesame seeds or pumpkin seeds. For better flavor, toast before using.
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Cheryl Wixson
"Maine Dish" columnist Cheryl Wixson lives and cooks in Stonington. Her passion for organic Maine products led to the creation of her business, Cheryl Wixson's Kitchen. She welcomes food-related questions and comments at [email protected] or www.cherylwixsonskitchen.com.

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