Ready to try maple syrup? We'll tell you want to expect from the taste and texture. We're also covering different kinds of maple syrup, what to do when you're out, and how to use it in your recipes from breakfast straight through dinner.
Let's dive right in...
What Does Maple Syrup Taste Like?
So that you can get to know the real maple syrup, we're not going to talk about artificial pancake toppers. Instead, we're going to tell you about pure maple syrup.
The all-natural stuff is incredibly sweet with a bit of a brown sugar flavor. The darker syrups have this flavor in higher concentrations than the lighter, golden to amber types. We'll be talking about what this has to do with grade selection shortly.
If you happen to get your hands on fresh, local maple syrup, you might notice a heavy molasses flavor that's usually very mild in even the darkest store-bought maple syrups.
Maple Syrup Texture
All maple syrups are sticky and thick, sometimes even honey-thick. They pour nicely whether they're cold or warm, though heating them up will make them runnier.
Some syrups are thicker than others. If they've been cooked down for some time, they can be so dense that they're a bit slow to pour, but you'll have a greater chance of coming across these types from a hyper-local source.
Is Maple Syrup Naturally Sweet?
When you first taste how sweet maple syrup is, you may think that there must be sugar in it. Would you be surprised to find out that the sweetness is natural?
Maple syrup is made by taking the sap of certain kinds of maple trees and boiling it until it's dark and thick, at which point it will also be very sweet. There's absolutely no need to add sugar.
What Is the Best Tasting Maple Syrup?
It's sometimes assumed that color indicates quality, but that's not necessarily the case. There used to be a grading system that sorted the lighter from the darker syrups with labels like grade A and grade B, but it's recently been changed.
The current grading system recognizes a wide range of "grade A" maple syrups, including golden, amber and dark syrups. All of these are good quality.
Which one tastes the best to you depends on whether you want a milder or heavier flavor. The lighter syrups are more delicate while the darker ones have deep molasses notes.
What Is a Good Substitute for Maple Syrup?
What you'd use in place of maple syrup can vary with what you need it for. It's a whole different scenario when we're talking about a waffle topper versus a pie sweetener.
For waffles and pancakes, agave syrup with a touch of brown sugar or molasses will come decently close to the flavor you're looking for.
If you're baking, you don't need to add these ingredients to the agave as the maple flavor probably wouldn't come through too strongly, anyway. You can also use brown rice syrup or simple syrup (sugar and boiling water to melt it).
Maple Syrup Recipe Tips
Maple syrup is really delicious. That's why we've chosen some recipes that showcase the flavor. Watch these videos to see how to use it in totally different ways.
Dessert feels like the right place to start. This salted maple pecan fudge recipe is so easy, so creamy and oh-so good for a sweet treat.
Here's what you need to make it:
- Cashew butter
- Any maple syrup you like
- Coconut flour
- Vanilla extract
Maple flavor is ideal for bitter vegetables like Brussels sprouts, and you'll see why when you try this miso and maple sprout recipe.
- Brussels sprouts
- Olive oil
- White miso
- Maple syrup
- Chili flakes
- Black pepper
Maple syrup is thick and sugar-sweet. It comes in light to dark varieties, the darker of which taste like molasses. You can use maple syrup in your coffee, on pancakes, in desserts and as a sweetener for any recipe. Reach for it when you're cooking bitter greens or roasting butternut squash and you'll see how functional (and flavorful) it is in both sweet and savory foods.