There's no denying that maple syrup is the perfect topping for many delicious breakfast foods. But that unique flavour you crave to sweeten up your stack of waffles can also add a lot to a variety of other dishes. It's delicious, flavourful and one of the healthier options out there for sweetening purposes.
Although maple syrup is ultimately a sweetener, unlike white sugar, it happens to be a source of maganese and zinc, and it also provides the body with fewer calories and a higher concentration of minerals than honey. So it really is an excellent option when it comes to sweetening your dishes. And, unlike honey, it does not involve animals at all, so it is great for vegan dishes.
A great way to start off your maple syrup experimenting is in a simple spinach salad. It's a great, light side dish that really lets the syrup shine — it truly doesn't taste the same if you sub in granulated sugar or honey. So this is the ideal way to get a sense of using maple syrup in a non sugary-breakfast-food kind of way.
If you want something warmer as your side dish, give maple syrup sweet potatoes or rosemary and maple syrup parsnips a try. Both dishes only use a touch of the stuff, so you don't have to feel like you're having dessert for dinner. And the natural sugars in the maple syrup and the root vegetables complement red meat and poultry very well.
If you really want to test out how your taste buds feel about maple syrup, an old fashioned cocktail might be just what you're looking for. You can't help but notice the unique flavour of the syrup when it's left to stand alone in this way.
When it comes to baking, maple syrup can act as so much more than just a topping. It doesn't have to be the only thing you taste, either. Just test for yourself how well it combines and complements this banana maple nut bread. Or, skip the morning baking and go straight to the evening treats with this pumpkin-maple pecan pie. And there are plenty more maple-flavoured baked goods where those come from!
Even if a recipe doesn't specifically call for maple syrup, don't be afraid to substitute it for honey or white sugar. It will add that special flavour and provide you with antioxidants not offered by the other sweeteners. Drizzle a touch of it on your plain yogurt in the morning, or let it highlight your dry granola. As with any sugar, it should be used in moderation. But don't be afraid to experiment and let maple syrup add something new to all your dishes!
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