I am not currently a pancake enthusiast, but I love the flavor of maple syrup. When I was a child, my father often made pancakes on Sunday mornings. I remember eating Log Cabin syrup saturated pancakes until my stomach couldn’t hold another. Sticky, sweet sugar syrup with maple flavoring was what I knew as maple syrup.
When I was 12, we were living in Europe where, at the time, American style maple pancake syrup wasn’t available. Our Sunday morning pancakes came to a temporary halt when my siblings and I refused to eat pancakes with jam. I suspect we dramatically complained. I have no idea where they eventually found it, but my parents came home one day with a can of pure maple syrup. Without a cookbook or internet for guidance, my father bubbled and boiled a sugar syrup that, combined with the can of maple syrup, turned into the pancake topping we were missing.
Now I prefer baking with maple syrup rather than pouring it over pancakes. I love the warm flavor and the intoxicating smell. Oddly, I think, the maple-ness of pure maple syrup isn’t as strong as the maple flavoring in pancake syrup. The first time I made these Maple Syrup Blondies, I followed the original recipe which called for only vanilla extract. I found the blondies to be missing maple-ness. I think adding a teaspoon of maple extract gives a more distinct maple flavor to the bars.
One of the things I enjoy most about this blogging adventure is discovering how to make things I never thought about making before. Things like graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate chips are supermarket staples, and I never considered how easy they might be to make at home. I had just such an “ah-ha” moment with the maple sugar candy for these blondies. Maple sugar candy is just boiled pure maple syrup which is beaten with a wooden spoon. That’s it! The recipe couldn’t be easier.
The chopped maple sugar candy melts into the batter while the blondies bake. That might be the reason these bars stay moist and chewy for up to 2 weeks! I was thrilled that the flavor and texture stayed the same over time. Try these Maple Syrup Blondies and add some maple warmth to your next care package, cookie tray, or snack time.
Adapted from TheKitchn.com
Makes about 24 bars
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup brown sugar (packed)
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
½ cup pure maple syrup, grade B
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon maple extract
2 ounces chopped maple sugar candy (see recipe below or store bought)
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup, grade B
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9” x 13” baking pan with parchment paper, overhanging the paper on the long sides of the pan. Spray lightly with vegetable oil.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, salt, and baking soda.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together butter, maple syrup, eggs, vanilla and maple extracts.
- Pour butter mixture into flour mixture. Fold together quickly until combined.
- Fold in chopped maple sugar candy.
- Spread batter in prepared pan and bake in preheated oven for 18-20 minutes or until center is barely set.
- .Cool completely in the pan.
- Prepare maple glaze: In a small bowl, stir together confectioners sugar and maple syrup until smooth.
- Lift completely cooled blondies from pan. Glaze can be drizzled before or after cutting the blondies into bars. Drizzling the glaze on individual bars will create drips of glaze down the sides of the bars.
- Allow glaze to set firmly before storing bars between layers of wax paper in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.
Packing tips: Mailing these bars uncut in a disposable pan will keep the blondies moist and chewy longer and make them sturdier for shipping. If mailing cut bars, place a small piece of wax paper between pairs of bars and double wrap in plastic wrap. Place wrapped blondies in an airtight container.
Maple Sugar Candy
Adapted from allrecipes.com
Note: This recipe makes more candy than you will need for the blondies. Extra maple sugar candy can be stored at room temperature for up to 1 month and frozen for longer.
1 cup pure maple syrup, grade B
- Make 3 small (about 2” x 3” with 1” high sides ) rectangular molds from foil.
- Pour maple syrup into a medium sauce pan. Attach a candy thermometer to the pan. Stirring occasionally, bring to a boil at medium heat until the thermometer reads 235 degrees F (110 degrees C).
- Remove from heat and allow to cool until the thermometer reads 175 degrees F (80 degrees C), about 10 minutes.
- Beat with a wooden spoon(about 5 minutes) until the syrup is thick, creamy, and lightened in color.
- Pour into foil molds. Allow to firm at room temperature or refrigerate.
- When firm, wrap in foil or plastic wrap for storage in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 month or frozen for longer.