– By Christine Hinrichs
In the months between the end of winter and the beginning of spring, I start to break out of my February winter blues. Even with the occasional spring snowfall, there is still that hint of spring that makes you smile and dream about the days of lighter jackets and packing away those big sweaters.
But from a food perspective, these months also mean the beginning of maple syrup season. When I was younger, my class would take trips to the local nature center to see the maple trees tapped for syrup and we would enjoy some homemade maple syrup candy. These days I don’t have the time to tap my own tree and boil down the sap for syrup, so I make it work by buying some local maple syrup and cooking up some delicious syrup-themed dishes.
Here are two great recipes that feature maple syrup — one for breakfast and one for dinner. They are easy and oh-so delicious.
Maple Pecan Sticky Rolls
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa and Epicurious
Makes 12 sticky rolls
1 package (2 sheets) of frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 tablespoon melted butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped pecans
For sticky syrup:
1 stick butter, melted
1 cup maple syrup
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup pecans
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
Mix together the ingredients for the filling in a bowl, making sure the raisins aren’t stuck together.
Unfold your puff pastry sheets and brush each one with melted butter. Top one of the sheets with half of the filling mixture, leaving about a one-inch border on the sides. Pat the filling down with your hands. Roll up the dough carefully and seal the edge. Repeat on the second puff pastry sheet. Cut each roll into six equal pieces.
In the microwave, melt the stick of butter in a medium, microwave safe bowl. Add the brown sugar and maple syrup and mix together. Pour the mixture into the bottom of a 13’x9′ pan, and sprinkle the mixture with the chopped pecans. Place the rolls on top of the mixture, cut-side down, with space in between each one. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the rolls have browned.
Let the sticky rolls cool for 5 minutes, then place a serving dish or baking sheet covered in parchment paper on top of the baking dish and flip, allowing the sticky buns to fall onto the sheet. Don’t wait too long to complete this step — the syrup mixture gets very sticky!!
Serve warm and enjoy!
Maple Roasted Vegetables
serves 2-3 as a side dish
1 cup of carrots, peeled and diced (about 2-3 medium-sized carrots)
1 medium-sized yam, peeled and chopped into equal pieces
2 cups brussel sprouts, washed and trimmed
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoons salt & pepper
2 tablespoons of maple syrup
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
In a large baking dish, combine the vegetables, olive oil, and the salt & pepper. Put into the oven and cook for about 25-30 minutes until the veggies are softened and the brussel sprouts are browned on the edges. Shake the pan or stir the veggies every so often. Take the veggies out and add the syrup. Toss to coat. Put back in the oven for about five minutes. Stir again before serving.
Christine Hinrichs is a vegetarian who loves everything related to food. She daydreams about recipes, frequents the local farmers’ markets and reads cookbooks before bed. When not preoccupied with food, she enjoys running and helps rescue stray animals from local shelters. Read about her food adventures at ruminationsonfood.blogspot.com.