It makes perfect sense March is designated as Maple Sugar Month. Due to their cold days and even colder nights, February and March are typically the top two months for tapping up trees and collecting sap used to make that deliciously sweet maple syrup.
But sadly, due to an unseasonably warm winter in the northeast (the U.S.’s hot spot for maple sugar farms), this year has been a bust for many farmers. Some saw their trees’ sap production cut in half. Others didn’t even bother tapping their trees because sap sugar levels were so low.
Although a number of farmers were able to salvage their season by tapping their trees ahead of schedule, the fact remains this was one of the worst maple sugar seasons some have ever seen.
So for the sake of all maple sugar farmers, and barren pancakes everywhere, let’s hope Old Man Winter makes a more seasonable return next year.
In the meantime, to help properly celebrate this month’s tasty holiday, here are four “sweet” foods made from maple sugar:
What other product could possibly begin this list? I mean really. Maple syrup is delicious on pancakes, waffles, French toast, in oatmeal, on pumpkin pie, over ice cream, on top of donuts, baked with apples, in tea, etc., etc. I could seriously write an entire post on the uses of maple syrup. But the point to take away is this: maple syrup is heavenly, no matter how it’s used.
Maple Sugar all by its lonesome
Fun fact: Maple sugar is nearly twice as sweet as regular ole sugar. And like regular sugar, granulated maple sugar alone has a ton of delicious uses. It’s yummy in cereal and oatmeal; sprinkled on top of toast, grapefruit, or cakes; and added to tea, coffee, hot chocolate, as well as those always-yummy hot toddies.
Maple Leaf Cookies
If you’ve never tried Trader Joe’s Maple Leaf Cookies, your taste buds are missing out on an amazing, life-altering experience. Seriously, these sandwich cookies, with their smooth, creamy (yet vegan!) filling, are just unbelievable. It’s true, I have yet to encounter a sandwich cookie I haven’t fallen in love with, but there’s something about these Maple Leaf Cookies that keep them securely atop my sandwich cookie list.
Maple Sugar Leaves
I totally saved my favorite for last. There are no words to adequately describe how purely amazing pure maple sugar candy is. I grew up in the northeast, so these little candies were always around. But I don’t know how popular they are in the rest of the country/world. If you haven’t been privileged enough to devour one of these bad boys, let me do my best to explain the experience. These soft candies have a ridiculously smooth texture with little bits of sugar crystals mixed in. It’s like eating fudge, but better, if you can believe it. They literally melt in your mouth, not to mention give you a sugar high like none you’ve ever felt before … which, of course, makes the overall experience that much better.
Happy Maple Sugar Month!
- Food & Wine