Maple Raisin English Muffins

Nothing beats an English muffin broiled to a crispy, golden brown and slathered with butter. Well, except for a maple-flavored English muffin! Raisins add a pop of flavor, and the fragrance of maple and cinnamon will make your mouth water long before the muffin hits your plate.

It took me a few tries before I got this right, but it was worth the effort. And now I have a huge bag of perfectly acceptable test muffins in the freezer, which will come in handy this winter.

I tried different types of flour (which made very little difference), muffin rings (meh – not necessary), and different rise times (this really mattered). I also tried many methods of shaping and cooking these babies, and here’s what I learned:

  1. You know those lovely little holes inside where the butter pools up? You get those by using a very soft dough and a long rise. It’s probably the only time you’ll ever hear me tell you to let the dough rise until it blows up and caves in. If you don’t want to let the dough rise overnight, at least give it 4 hours. This will add flavor, too.
  2. All maple flavoring is not the same. And in my opinion, none that I have tried is potent enough. I used a tablespoon of Mapleine in this recipe and it still was just barely maple flavored. (That’s why I added flavor to the cornmeal/farina too.) I’ve just ordered a couple of interesting brands of maple flavor that are supposed to be really strong. I’ll do a taste test and let you know. Until then, be generous!
  3. If you want to skip the rolling/patting/cutting step, you can use an ice cream scoop and drop the dough right on the cooking surface and pat it into shape. BUT there is a general lack of uniformity. If you can live with that, go the easy route! I just can’t. I like it when everything is the same size and shape. OCD much?
  4. These need to be cooked low and slow. Otherwise, the outside of the muffin will be dark before the inside is cooked, and no one likes a gooey center. I used an electric skillet set between 250 and 275 F. Since the muffins wouldn’t all fit on my skillet, I also used a cast iron skillet at medium-low heat. Both worked very well. You will have to adjust the temperature as you go because electric skillets aren’t very accurate. Shoot for 7 minutes on each side to get the color you want, and then turn the heat down and let them go another 3 minutes or so on each side. It’s not that hard – but it may take a little practice. Then you, too, will have a stash of muffins in your freezer.
  5. If it looks like the outside is done but the sides still feel squishy, you can cover the muffins with foil or a lid and cook a little longer at low heat; this will act like an oven. And, if all else fails, pop them in the oven at 350 F for a few minutes. I haven’t had to do this, but it’s perfectly acceptable. The Traditional English Muffin Police will not be visiting to chastise you. Honest.
  6. As hard as it may be, wait for the muffins to cool completely before separating them. And don’t use a knife. This thingamajig that I bought to help me slice onions without cutting off my fingertips? It works really well.

This works really well, but then – so does a fork. (Put that knife DOWN!)

So does a fork. Or you can just tear the muffin open with your fingers and go with the rustic look.

Maple Raisin English Muffins
Print
Author:
Makes twelve 3½-inch muffins For best results, make the dough at night and let it rise on the counter. Shape and bake in the morning!
Ingredients
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup (use Grade B if you can find it; it's more flavorful)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • ½ cup very warm water
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon maple flavor (This will be mild. Double the amount for a rich maple flavor)
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup cornmeal (Or try farina. I use Malt-O-Meal)
  • ¼ teaspoon maple flavor (optional) to mix with cornmeal
  • a small amount of butter
Instructions
  1. In a small pan over medium heat, cook the milk, syrup, salt, and cinnamon until bubbles form around the edge of the pan. Don't boil!
  2. Remove from heat. Add butter and raisins, stirring occasionally until butter is melted and the temperature is comfortably warm.
  3. In a small bowl or cup, combine warm water, sugar, and yeast. Let it sit until foamy - about 5 minutes.
  4. In a large bowl (a sturdy stand mixer is recommended) fit with a dough hook, combine the milk mixture, yeast mixture, egg, and maple flavor.
  5. Add flour and beat for 3 minutes
  6. Scoop dough into a large greased bowl. Use a rubber spatula to turn the dough over so that all sides are greased. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough sit on the counter overnight.
  7. Combine cornmeal (or farina) and maple flavor, if using. Sprinkle on a lightly buttered electric griddle(or cast iron skillets).
  8. Generously flour a piece of parchment and drop the dough in the middle. Sprinkle with flour and pat with your hand until it is approximately ⅓ to1/2-inch thick.
  9. Using 3½-inch round cutter, cut as many circles as you can. Lift each one with a spatula and place on prepared skillet. Press each round firmly with the palm of your hand. Gather the dough scraps and press to cut remaining circles.
  10. Cover lightly with a clean towel and let the muffins sit on the unheated griddle for 30 minutes.
  11. Remove cover and turn the heat on. An electric skillet should be turned between 250 and 275 F. A cast iron skillet on the stove should be turned to medium-low. Adjust as needed; it's better to cook too slowly than too fast. If heat is too high the outsides will be dark but the center will be doughy. At 7 minutes, the muffin should be golden brown and ready to turn.
  12. When the bottom is brown, use a thin spatula to flip the muffins over. Cook on that side until brown.
  13. Turn the heat down and flip the muffins over one more time, for about 3 minutes on each side.
  14. Allow the muffins to cool completely before using a fork to split. Toast under a broiler for best results.

Heat milk, syrup, cinnamon, and salt until bubbly. Remove from heat and stir in butter and raisins.

Combine milk mixture, yeast, and egg.

Add maple flavoring.

Use a big, greased bowl. Bigger! (Use a rubber spatula to flip the dough over to coat the whole surface.)

Here’s why you need a big bowl. See how full it is once you let it rise all night?

Optional: Add maple to the cornmeal or farina (I use Malt-O-Meal) for another layer of flavor. Sprinkle it on a lightly buttered griddle or skillet.

On floured surface, use your hand to pat dough 1/3-1/2 inch thick.

Place on the prepared unheated skillet, press down with hand (to enlarge and so cornmeal will stick) and cover. Let rest for 30 minutes. They’ll do more rising while they cook.

Cook on both sides until brown. Then turn the heat down and cook a few more minutes on each side to make sure the center is done. Let them cool before splitting.

I don’t suppose you need any suggestions for eating these bad boys, but just in case:

More maple to come!

Lorinda

 

Maple Marshmallow Treats

Okay, I’m not offering a stunning show of baking skills here; what I’m posting is pure comfort food, with a maple twist. I’ve always loved Krispie treats, as long as they aren’t so dry they tear your mouth up. My version has always included more butter and more marshmallows for a soft, chewy experience.

These are even better, because . . . duh . . . maple!

I cooked a very simple caramel-type syrup, using pure maple syrup, then stirred in marshmallows and MORE maple flavoring. Actually, in the pictured batch on this post, I was so intent on getting a photo of the maple flavoring being poured into the mixture that I jerked my hand and probably poured another tablespoon into the pan. It was wonderful, but you don’t have to use that much!

Whoops. I may have gotten a little carried away.

To do this right you will need pure maple syrup. Inexpensive breakfast syrup might not set up as well. You know those maple candies I blather on about every year? The ones shaped like leaves that melt in your mouth? Those are just pure maple syrup, cooked until it turns into sugar. You can’t make that happen with fake syrup, no matter how good it tastes. It’s just a different product entirely.

You’ll also want to buy maple extract or flavoring. I usually use Mapleine, but have been known to experiment with other brands. And, here’s news!!! (Can you tell I’m so, so, so excited about this?) Nestle has just come out with maple morsels. I haven’t seen them yet (we live in the boondocks) but my friend in Florida just bought some, and I’m so jealous. I will buy them by the case as soon as I find them. Anyhow, my point here is, if you want to skip the flavoring and just stir in a bag of maple morsels, I’ll bet that would be fabulous.

I cut most of the treats into traditional squares but couldn’t resist forming some into little balls, then rolling them in chopped toasted pecans. Yum.

Ready? This is easy. If you have a candy thermometer, cook the mixture until it’s about 260 F. It not, just boil for 6 minutes. This isn’t as touchy as fudge or peanut brittle – just get the temperature in the ballpark and you’re good.

Maple Marshmallow Krispie Treats
Print
Author:
Ingredients
  • 3 quarts (12 cups) crispy rice cereal
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup (If you can find Grade B, use it for more flavor)
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons maple flavoring (I use Mapleine)
  • A 10-ounce bag of mini-marshmallows
  • Chopped, toasted pecans (optional, if making pecan covered balls)
Instructions
  1. Line a 12 x 17 baking sheet with parchment. Butter lightly.
  2. Lightly grease a very large bowl (I use a stock pot). Put the cereal in this and set aside.
  3. In a large saucepan (3-quart size is best) over medium heat, cook and stir sugar, butter, syrup, and salt until it comes to a boil. Continue to cook and stir for approximately 6 minutes (it will get slightly thick) or until 250-260 on a candy thermometer.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in the maple flavoring and marshmallows. Pour over the cereal and stir well.
  5. Press into the prepared baking sheet and allow it to cool and set up. If you want to roll some into balls, simply spoon a little out at a time and roll, using buttered hands. Roll in pecans if desired.
  6. Cut into squares and store in an airtight container.

Bring the sugar, butter, syrup, and salt to a boil.

Boil and stir 6 minutes, or until it reaches 250-260 degrees.

Add marshmallows and maple flavoring

Stir the hot marshmallow mixture into the rice cereal

Press into prepared pan. Let them set a bit before cutting.

Or form balls and roll in chopped pecans!

Chewy, squishy, buttery. Yes, these are good. Very good.

Next up is a maple recipe that isn’t sweet! Wait for it . . .

Lorinda

Maple Leaf Wafer Cookies

maple-leaf-wafer-cookies-the-rowdy-bakerDelicate maple leaf wafers are perfect for decorating your favorite fall desserts, or, of course, for eating—one after another after another. They’re light and crispy, like the thinnest of potato chips, but the sweet maple flavor of these dainty cookies is even more addictive. (Bet you can’t eat just one!) Jazz them up with fall colors if you’d like, or leave them golden brown. Either way, these treats are quick, easy, and fun to make!

Crunchy brown leaves bursting with maple flavor.

Crunchy brown leaves bursting with maple flavor.

You will need either silicone baking sheets or parchment to bake the cookies on. Trust me on this! I was resistant to both for years, but have now fully embraced their usefulness. There are several ways you can make these leaves, and I’ll show you all of them, but my favorite method involves a stencil (I made my own by sacrificing a silicone sheet and cutting leaf shapes into it), parchment, and a broad pastry brush.

The photo below shows my stencil option on the top, and a simple printed template with parchment over it on the bottom. Both methods work, but the stencil definitely makes things go faster!

Two options: A stencil over the parchment or a template under the parchment. (For the template you would paint directly onto the parchment.)

Two options: A stencil over the parchment or a template under the parchment. (For the template you would paint inside the lines, directly onto the parchment.)

If you are making brown leaves, the maple flavoring will be added to the bowl along with the melted butter. If you are making colored leaves, separate the batter into small bowls (how many will depend on what colors you want to use). In one of the bowls, stir enough maple flavoring into the batter to achieve a rich brown color. Stir food coloring into the others.

This is pretty obvious, I guess, but it doesn’t hurt to mention: the colored leaves won’t taste like maple! If you add maple flavoring to the bright colors, they will turn muddy. And nobody wants THAT, so…if you want your leaves to taste like maple, you’ll need to use more brown batter in each leaf.

The leaves can be baked either on a silicone baking sheet or on parchment. I prefer parchment because the silicone sheet leaves a shiny, slightly bumpy texture on one side of each leaf. If you don’t mind that, the silicone sheets work really well. The parchment does tend to wrinkle slightly, giving some of the leaves a rippled effect, but I kind of like the look—like a soggy autumn leaf. And, having grown up in the Pacific Northwest, I remember a lot more soggy leaves than dry ones!

I brush the batter over the leaf shapes. Thin is best; they come out crispier, and can be beautifully lacy. But…they are also more fragile. Plan on losing a few. I think you’ll know what to do with the broken ones, right? Here’s a lovely brown leaf ready to go in the oven.

brushed-with-pastry-brush

Thinly brushed batter will result in a delicate, lacy wafer.

I’ll give you the recipe (oh, so easy) and then show you some fun options.

Maple Leaf Wafer Cookies
Print
Author:
Makes between 4 and 5 dozen wafer cookies, depending on thickness. You will need either a maple leaf stencil to go over the parchment (easily made by tracing a maple leaf cookie cutter onto a silicone sheet or cardboard and cutting shapes out with a craft blade) or a maple leaf template to slide under the parchment.
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 3 egg whites
  • ½ cup superfine sugar (or for more maple kick, use fine maple sugar!)
  • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream OR thick (Bulgarian style) buttermilk
  • ½ - 1 teaspoon maple flavoring (like Mapleine) if making brown leaves. If making colored leaves, maple flavoring will be added to a small portion of batter. See instructions below.
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 375 F. Cover two baking sheets with parchment or silicone baking sheets.
  2. In the microwave or in a small pan on low heat, melt butter. Set aside to cool slightly.
  3. In a medium bowl, beat egg whites and sugar together until foamy.
  4. Add flour and cream. Beat until smooth.
  5. Add butter and (if you are making brown leaves) maple flavoring. Beat on low until well mixed.
  6. If you wish to make colored leaves, separate batter into small bowls and add maple flavoring to one of the bowls until you get a rich brown color. Add food coloring of your choice to the others.
  7. If you are using a stencil, lay stencil on parchment covered baking sheet and brush batter over each leaf cutout. (Keep coating as thin as possible without leaving bare spots.) Carefully lift stencil onto the second baking sheet and repeat. If you are using a template, place it under the parchment and paint inside the lines, using a pastry brush or paintbrush.
  8. For colored leaves, dip the pastry brush into two or three colors at a time and brush onto stencils, keeping brush strokes to a minimum to avoid muddy colors.
  9. Bake one sheet at a time for approximately 6 minutes. Watch carefully and pull the leaves as they are beginning to turn a mottled brown. Even the colored leaves will pick up brown streaks.
  10. Remove from oven and quickly but carefully slide a thin metal spatula under each leaf, moving them to a cooling rack or a piece of crumpled up foil, to create a curled shape.
  11. If the leaves begin to harden before you've finished shaping them, they can be returned to the oven for 15 seconds to soften a little.
  12. Enjoy!

Brushing brown leaves on the stencils

Brushing brown leaves on the stencils

lift the stencil carefully and move to clean parchment for the next batch!

lift the stencil carefully and move to clean parchment for the next batch!

OR you can go with some bright fall colors. The best way I’ve found to make the colored leaves is to dip the pastry brush into two (or three) different colors, then brush onto the stencil, using the least number of brush strokes possible.

go-wild-with-pastry-brush

Go a little wild with the colors!

Ready to bake

Ready to bake

Remember that I told you there were other methods? If you are a free spirit, you can simply brush leaves free-style on your parchment, using a large artist’s paintbrush, or put a template under the parchment and use it as a guide.

Painting leaves.

Painting leaves. (These were filled in with streaks of color.)

Or…brush brown leaves onto the stencil and then highlight them with colors, using a paintbrush.

brushing-colors-onto-brown-leavesmaple-leaf-wafers

You can also use that paintbrush to paint different streaks of color onto the stencil.

Kids might have fun just painting random shapes. If you go this route, I’d advise using a silicon sheet, because the parchment will slide around on the baking pan.

They bake quickly – exactly 6 minutes in my oven. Yours might vary, so watch them closely. They go from anemic to charred very quickly!maple-leaf-wafer-cookies-from-the-rowdy-baker

HINTS:

  • Slightly crumple a big piece of foil and have it sitting on the counter. As you lift each leaf, immediately lay it on the foil. It will shape itself over the hills and valleys of the foil into appealing fallen leaf shapes.
  • If your leaves start to get too firm to shape before you can remove them all from the baking sheet, put them back in the oven for 15 seconds. OR lay them on a baking sheet with crumpled foil and return to the oven briefly. As long as they weren’t over baked to begin with, they should soften and bend into interesting shapes. Or just embrace flat leaves!
  • I learned that if I always had a parchment covered baking sheet on the counter I could lift the messy stencil from the pan I was finished with and move it to the empty sheet to wait to be painted. Otherwise, I obsessively washed the stencil between batches, wasting waaaay too much batter. OCD much?
  • You can make the batter several hours ahead and keep it chillin’ in the refrigerator, covered tightly.

Besides just eating these sweethearts hand over fist, I love to use them for decorating pies, cakes, or cheesecakes. Here’s a maple cheesecake with leaf decorations.maple-cheesecake-cut

(No…I’m not posting this cheesecake recipe. I’ve got to keep SOME of my good stuff for the cookbook I’m working on, and this is definitely one for the book!) I know, what a tease, huh?

Fun, easy, creative! This would be a wonderful project to do with kids. Perhaps to be arranged on little plates at each Thanksgiving place setting?

Or hey, just eat ’em!

Lorinda

 

Maple Streusel Rollups

Maple Streusel Rollups from The Rowdy BakerI guess it’s time to admit it: I think I need an intervention. This maple addiction has gotten completely out of control. I’ve replaced a lot of my processed sugar with maple sugar, and have developed a love affair (in moderation, of course) with maple whiskey. Pure maple syrup is my go-to sweetener for cereal and tea, though I add a little Mapleine to it for  more maple kick. Yep…I have it BAD!

Today I made Maple Streusel Rollups, which my husband said were “the best thing I’ve made in a long time”. There you have it, folks. You just have to make these!

I started with the recipe that I use for Maple Bars and Cinnamon Rolls,  but made it a wee bit richer with the addition of butter and buttermilk, and sprinkled maple sugar on the dough before rolling. Then I covered the raised rolls with streusel and drizzled the baked rolls with rich maple icing.

Do I have your attention yet?  If not, just look at THIS!roll

 

Light, fluffy, sweet and mapley (I’m pretty sure that’s a real word), and topped with a crunch pecan streusel, drizzled with a serious maple icing.

Oh.My.Word.

Here you go:

Maple Streusel Rollups
Print
Author:
Makes 24 rolls.
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup milk (I use whole milk)
  • ¼ cup shortening
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • ⅓ cup very warm water
  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 5½ cups all-purpose flour
  • FILLING:
  • ½ cup very soft butter (almost melted)
  • ½ cup maple sugar (or ½ cup white sugar plus ½ teaspoon maple extract)
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • STREUSEL TOPPING:
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup flour
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • ⅓ cup finely chopped pecans (I toast mine first, but you don't have to)
  • ICING:
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 teaspoons maple extract (I use Mapleine)
  • 1 tablespoon milk (more if necessary)
Instructions
  1. In a small pan on medium low heat, combine the milk, shortening, butter and cinnamon. Heat until shortening and butter are melted. Remove from heat and stir in the buttermilk. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl or ramekin, combine the warm water, yeast, and ½ teaspoon sugar. Allow the mixture to sit until bubbly (about 5 minutes).
  3. In a large bowl, preferably using a stand mixer, combine the milk mixture, yeast mixture, eggs, and ⅓ cup sugar. If using a stand mixer, switch to a dough hook.
  4. Slowly add flour and salt and knead by beating on low for 5 minutes. Dough should come cleanly away from sides of bowl, but still be slightly sticky. (If kneading by hand, knead for 7 minutes on floured surface.)
  5. Place dough in greased bowl and allow to rise until double - about 1 hour.
  6. Prepare a large 11x15-inch pan by either lining with parchment or spraying with an oil/flour mixture like Baker's Joy.
  7. Punch down dough and divide in half.
  8. Working with one half at a time, roll out on parchment (or lightly floured surface) to a 15x9-inch rectangle, with the long side facing you.
  9. Spread half of the butter (1/4 cup) on surface of dough and sprinkle with half of the sugar. Roll snugly.
  10. Cut roll into 12 pieces. and place in prepared pan, filling half of the pan. Repeat with the other half of the dough.
  11. Cover with a clean dishtowel or plastic wrap, and allow the rolls to rise until almost double.
  12. Heat oven to 400 F.
  13. Combine the streusel ingredients in a small bowl. Taste a spoonful (optional...just thought you might want permission to indulge) and sprinkle over the raised rolls.
  14. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the streusel is a browned - then remove from oven and place on rack to cool.
  15. While slightly warm, combine the ingredients for the icing in a small bowl and spoon icing into a piping bag or a plastic zipper bag with one corner snipped off. Drizzle over the top of the streusel.
  16. Serve!

Add buttermilk to heated mixture.

Add buttermilk to heated mixture.

Yeast mixture should be bubbly.

Yeast mixture should be bubbly.

The dough comes cleanly away from sides of bowl, but is still slightly sticky.

The dough comes cleanly away from sides of bowl, but is still slightly sticky.

Punch down the dough.

Punch down the dough.

Add maple sweetness and roll!

Add maple sweetness and roll!

Slice...

Slice…

Sprinkle risen rolls with streusel.

Sprinkle risen rolls with streusel.

Drizzle the baked rolls with icing.

Drizzle the baked rolls with icing.

This is where I should tell you I’m through with maple recipes for a while…but I’m not. I have another idea I’ve been playing with – not with great success – but it’s given me an idea. A mapley idea.

Oh, and if maple isn’t your thing, I AM working on a savory, hearty dish for the Super Bowl. Come back – please come back.

Lorinda

Maple Croissants (with a sweet, nutty filling)



Maple CroissantsFlaky, buttery, melt-in-your-mouth maple croissants – it just doesn’t get any better than this, right?

Oh, but it really does get better. Add a nutty filling and a drizzle of maple icing to create a perfect combination of flavors and textures…and be prepared for the clamoring for “MORE!” that will occur.

It’s no secret that I’m a maple fiend, and I’ve posted several croissant recipes over the years, like Chocolaty Croissant Puffs, Croissants – ooh, la la!, and Pumpkin Cronuts, but I never thought to combine my two passions until my husband suggested it. I guess he’s a keeper!

I’ve got to give you my standard disclaimer when it comes to croissants: they take some time. Not a crazy amount of work, but time. The dough must be chilled and rolled out several times, and though the rolling doesn’t take more than a few minutes, you have to wait at least 30 minutes between each roll. And then the dough should sit overnight. Once you shape them, they take a while to rise. You can’t try to rush this by putting them in a warm spot, because you do NOT want the butter to melt and puddle around the rolls.

So…ideally these should be started the day before you want to bake them. Or two, since the dough just gets more flavorful as it sits in the fridge. That’s a good thing, because it breaks up the process so you can do other things. A few hours before you need the rolls, fill and shape them and leave them to rise slowly. They only take 10-12 minutes to bake.

You won’t believe the fragrance that will fill your house while these beauties are in the oven!

Layers of flakiness surround that nut filling.

Layers of flakiness surround that nut filling.

This recipe makes 32 rolls. You could always cut the recipe in half, but you’ll be sorry! Remember, the dough stays good for days in the fridge, and I’m guessing you won’t let it go to waste. But…if that’s too many for you, freeze some of the filled croissants on a cookie sheet before they’ve risen, and then put them into an airtight container for another day. When you want to use them, simply put them on a baking sheet, cover with a clean towel, and let them thaw and rise slowly (approximately 6 hours) before baking.

I know this recipe looks scary, but it’s for the dough, the filling and the icing. And I’m kinda wordy.

Maple Croissants (with a sweet, nutty filling)
Print
Author:
Makes a lot - approximately 32 croissants. The recipe can be halved, or you can save some for later by freezing shaped rolls before they rise. To use, simply place frozen rolls on a baking sheet, cover with a towel, and let them rise slowly (about 6 hours) before baking.
Ingredients
  • CROISSANT DOUGH:
  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 2¾ cups warm milk (about 110 degrees)
  • 2 tablespoons Mapleine (maple flavoring)
  • 6½ cups bread flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt (I use Kosher)
  • 2 cups (4 sticks) cold butter, unsalted
  • egg wash (1 egg + 1 teaspoon water, beaten well)
  • FILLING:
  • 3 cups walnuts or pecans (raw, NOT toasted)
  • 1 tablespoon softened butter
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Mapleine
  • ICING (optional) :
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Mapleine
  • ⅛ cup water
Instructions
  1. CROISSANT DOUGH:
  2. In a large bowl (a stand mixer works best), mix the yeast and warm milk together. Allow to sit for 5 minutes.
  3. Using a dough hook, mix in the Mapleine, 2 cups of the flour, the sugar, and the salt. Beat until well combined, then add the remaining flour gradually.The dough should come cleanly away from the sides of the bowl. Cover with a dishtowel or plastic wrap, and let the dough rise for about an hour.
  4. Split the dough in half and on a lightly floured surface, form each half into a ball. Put each half into a heavy plastic bag and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  5. Bring one stick of butter out of the refrigerator at a time and cut lengthwise into 4 equal slices. Place them snugly together with two pieces end to end on top, and two pieces end to end directly below the first two on a piece of plastic wrap or waxed paper, forming a rectangle approximately 6-1/2 inches by 3 inches. Cover with plastic wrap and roll gently to make a solid rectangle, 6-1/2 by 4 inches. (If your butter comes in the long, skinny sticks, you'll have to improvise!) Wrap and place it back in the refrigerator while you repeat the process with the other 3 sticks of butter.
  6. Remove one bag of dough and two butter rectangles from the fridge.
  7. Roll dough out on a floured surface until it is approximately 13 inches by 8 inches, with the long side facing you. You may have to do a little stretching to get a nice rectangular shape.
  8. Place one piece of butter directly in the middle of the dough, with the short side of the butter facing you. Fold the right side of the dough over the butter and press all around it gently to seal the butter in. Put the other piece of butter on top, and fold the left side over it, pinching well to seal. So...your layers at this point are: dough, butter, dough, butter, dough.
  9. The short side should be facing you, and it should be like a book - with the open edge to the right. Now roll it gently, being careful not to squeeze butter out of the dough, until it measures 12 inches by 8 inches. Fold it in thirds again, press edges gently, and put it back in the plastic bag in the refrigerator. Repeat with the other bag of dough and remaining butter.
  10. Let dough rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, then remove dough, turn the open side to your right (like a book) and roll each one to 12 inches by 8 inches, fold into thirds, press edges gently, and return to the refrigerator for 30 more minutes.Oovernight is best.) At this point you can let the dough sit in the refrigerator for several days if you wish. The flavor just gets better.
  11. FILLING:
  12. Process nuts in a food processor or blender until finely ground. Add softened butter and brown sugar, and process briefly. Add Mapleine and process until mixture begins to stick together. Cover and set aside.
  13. FORM CROISSANTS:
  14. To form the croissants, work with one bag of dough at a time, leaving the other bag in the refrigerator. On a lightly floured surface, roll it out to about 12 inches wide and 20 inches long, trimming the edges to make them neat and tidy. Cut in half, lengthwise, using a sharp knife or (my favorite) pizza cutter. Working with one half at a time, mark the edges every 5 inches on one long side. Cut into triangles. This will give you 7 full triangles and 2 half triangles on each half of the dough. Press the small halves together for a total of 16 triangles per bag of dough
  15. I find it helps to lightly roll each triangle with a rolling pin so it is thinner and sticks to the counter a bit. It helps with the rolling process. Place approximately 1 tablespoon of filling along the wide bottom of each triangle, pressing the mixture gently onto the dough. Roll each piece up, starting at the wide end, and stretching lightly as you go. Place each croissant on the baking sheet, tip down to hold it in place, curving the ends to the middle. You can make them "hold hands" if you want. They'll come apart when they rise, but it helps them retain their crescent shape. Repeat with the other bag of dough, or save it for later.
  16. Allow the croissants to rise at room temperature. Depending on the temperature of your home, this can be anywhere from 1-1/2 hours to 3 hours. They're ready to bake when they're plump and doubled.
  17. Heat your oven to 400 degrees. Brush the croissants lightly with the egg wash, and bake for approximately 12 minutes.
  18. Remove croissants from the baking sheet and allow them to cool on a rack.
  19. ICING: Combine powdered sugar, Mapleine, and water. Beat until smooth, and drizzle over cooled croissants.

The dough should come cleanly away from the sides of the bowl.

The dough should come cleanly away from the sides of the bowl.

Form dough into 2 balls, bag them and refrigerate.

Form dough into 2 balls, bag them and refrigerate.

Combine ground nuts, butter, brown sugar, and maple flavoring.

Combine ground nuts, butter, brown sugar, and maple flavoring.

Filling should hold together when sqeezed.

Filling should hold together when sqeezed.

Cut each stick of butter into four slices. Roll between waxed paper to proper size.

Cut each stick of butter into four slices. Roll between waxed paper to proper size.

Place one rectangle of butter in the center of rolled dough.

Place one rectangle of butter in the center of rolled dough.

Fold the right side over the butter and press to seal.

Fold the right side over the butter and press to seal.

Fold the left side over. The opening will be on the right, like a book. Press edges.

Place second rectangle of butter on top. Fold the left side over. The opening will be on the right, like a book. Press edges.

Chill, roll, chill, roll, chill and then...this puffy dough gets rolled thin and cut into triangles.

Chill, roll, chill, roll, chill and then…this puffy dough gets rolled thin and cut into triangles.

Add filling to the wide end and roll 'er up!

Add filling to the wide end and roll ‘er up!

Maple croissants with a sweet nutty filling

So…I can’t promise I’m through with maple recipes, but I can pretty much guarantee that I won’t need another croissant recipe. This is my best friend forever.

I can assure you, though, that even though it looks complicated, it’s just one easy step at a time. You can do it! And because I’m not out to scare you away, my next post will be super easy – I promise!

Lorinda

Maple Nut Cupcakes



038
If you’ve been following my blog, you already know that I’m a maple addict. I fell in love with maple everything when I was very young, and my obsession hasn’t abated with age. Today I indulged myself in the kitchen, and used almost an entire bottle of my beloved Mapleine. May I just say it smelled like heaven in here?

Not only did I make Maple Nut Cupcakes, I made maple crumbles and hard candy maple leaves for decoration. The cupcakes delighted me, because they came out extremely light and fluffy. The crumble was just as I expected, too. The leaves – those were a bit of a challenge. I know what NOT to do now, and can steer you in the right direction if you want to try making them.

If you like to lick cake beaters, you are going to love this batter. Seriously. It tastes just like maple nut ice cream, and is irresistible.

I used cream cheese frosting for these cupcakes, adding Mapleine (my favorite maple flavoring) to about a half cup of it for painting stripes in my pastry bag…giving the frosting some pretty brown accents when piped.

This recipe makes at least 36 cupcakes – maybe a few more. I have a tendency to fill my cupcake liners too full, giving my cupcakes that dreaded “muffin top” look. If you are more restrained, you’ll probably get 40 much more attractive cupcakes. The folded in egg whites are what make the cakes so light and tender, but also a little more delicate, so I recommend that you walk gently and avoid slamming doors while they are baking, just as a preventive measure.

Maple Nut Cupcakes
Print
Author:
Makes 36-40
Ingredients
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups plus 1 tablespoon white sugar, divided
  • 4 eggs, divided
  • 1 tablespoon maple flavoring (more if you want a stronger maple flavor)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 3¼ cups cake flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup finely chopped walnuts
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350 F.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the butter and 2 cups of sugar together until very light.
  3. Separate eggs. Put whites in a small bowl and set aside. Add egg yolks to the butter and sugar mixture and beat until well combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl often.
  4. Add maple flavoring and vanilla and beat well.
  5. Sift the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together twice.
  6. Combine the sour cream and milk. Stir well, but don't worry about getting all of the lumps out.
  7. Add approximately ⅓ of the dry ingredients to the batter and stir until combined. Add ⅓ of the sour cream/milk mixture and stir until combined. Repeat until all has been added and mixed.
  8. Stir in the walnuts.
  9. Beat the egg whites until foamy and slightly thickened. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Gently but thoroughly fold the egg whites into the batter.
  10. Spoon into lined cupcake pans, approximately ⅔ full.
  11. Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center.
  12. Cool in the pans on a rack for 5-10 minutes, then remove from pans, letting the cupcakes cool completely before frosting.

 

Ingredients

Ingredients

Cream butter and sugar together

Cream butter and sugar together

Add egg yolks and flavorings

Add egg yolks and flavorings

Stir in walnuts

Stir in walnuts

Fold in egg whites

Fold in egg whites

Fill liners 2/3 full

Fill liners 2/3 full

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
8 ounces cream cheese (room temperature)
1/2 cup butter (room temperature)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 pounds powdered sugar, divided (about 7 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Beat the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until light and creamy.
Add salt, and gradually add 6 cups of powdered sugar, beating well.
Slowly add whipping cream, beating well for 1 minute.
Add additional powdered sugar if needed for desired piping texture.

 



maple nut cupcakes vertical

To make the Maple Crumble, all you need is a candy thermometer and pure maple syrup. I used Grade B organic syrup from Trader Joe’s for two reasons:

  1. Grade B maple syrup actually has a stronger maple flavor, which is a good thing in my book!
  2. My sister had just given me a bottle, so I didn’t have to go to town and buy some.

The recipe for making crumble is the same one you would use to make those lovely little Vermont maple candies that come out during the holidays. The pure-sugar-melt-in-your-mouth candies that many of us have overindulged in, making ourselves sick even after our parents warned us not to eat more than one or we’d be sorry. Whew. I feel better.

To make crumbles, you simply stir the mixture a little longer than you would if you were pouring it into molds. Spread out on a lightly buttered cookie sheet, it dries quickly and can be crumbled easily with your fingers. If you have any left over, it would be wonderful on hot cereal or mixed into a streusel topping for muffins!

MAPLE CRUMBLES:
1 cup pure Grade B maple syrup (don’t try using regular syrup – it won’t work!)

  • Lightly coat a baking sheet with butter.
  • Pour syrup into medium sauce pan (to give it room to foam) and turn heat between medium and medium-high.
  • Cook, stirring gently, until it reaches the soft ball stage – 235 F.
    Remove from heat immediately and allow the mixture to cool for 2-3 minutes.
  • Stir until the mixture begins to thicken. Spread onto the prepared pan. If it is too thick to spread evenly, cover with a piece of foil and press to flatten.
  • When dry and firm, crumble it with your fingers and keep in a airtight container until ready to use.
Syrup is at soft ball stage.

Syrup is at soft ball stage.

If too thick, cover with foil and press to flatten.

If too thick, cover with foil and press to flatten.

 



maple nut cupcakesHard candy leaves would have been easy if I’d had hard candy molds, but I had to improvise, using a small maple leaf cookie cutter. The recipe made a little more than I expected, so my candy was thicker than it should have been, making it hard to form the leaves. So…I learned how to get around that, and am passing it on to you.

You’ll need a small leaf-shaped cookie cutter, a large baking sheet with sides (think jelly roll pan) and a candy thermometer.

This recipe was slightly revised from a Taste of Home recipe.

HARD MAPLE CANDY
1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup water
4 teaspoons Mapleine (or other maple flavoring)
a stick of butter for greasing the cookie cutter

    • Butter a large baking sheet with sides.
    • In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, and water. Turn your burner to a temperature between medium and medium-high. Stirring constantly, bring the mixture to a boil.
    • Cook, stirring occasionally, until the candy thermometer reads 300 F. Immediately remove from heat.
    • When the bubbles have settled a bit, add maple flavoring. Stir well and pour into pan. Lift and drop pan several times to spread the candy. You may have to help spread it with a metal spatula.
    • Watch the candy carefully. Once it is beginning to firm, but is not yet hard, press the cookie cutter lightly into butter and then into the candy. Butter the cutter for each leaf. Once all of the leaves have been cut, go back over them with the cutter to make sure they are still cut clear through.
    • Once the candy is hard, carefully punch out the leaves. The extra candy can be eaten in broken pieces or crushed as a decoration for cookies or pastries.

      Too thick! Pan was too small, but you get the idea, right?

      Too thick! Pan was too small, but you get the idea, right?

Hard candy maple leaves

Hard candy maple leaves

The most important part of this post is the cake recipe. I loved eating mine without any frosting or decorations, which – with my sweet tooth – is saying a lot! Whether you use canned frosting, sprinkles from a jar, or jump through all the hoops above, what really matters is that cake. I think I’m in love!

Lorinda

 

Maple Bacon Pockets

IMG_0861Okay, I’m kind of cheating here, since I already posted a Maple Bar Recipe a while back, but this is a little different.

Maple Bacon Pockets are mini maple bars with a chewy piece of bacon in the center. For anyone who has ever dipped a piece of bacon in maple syrup, this is a flavor combination that is irresistible.

They are delicious when fresh, but also freeze well. They disappear quickly, so you might want to consider making a double batch!

Maple Bacon Pockets
Print
Author:
Makes about 30 pockets, depending on the thickness of your dough and size of the bacon!
Ingredients
  • 6-7 slices of bacon
  • 3 tablespoons butter or shortening
  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ cup warm water
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • Peanut oil for frying
  • ......
  • Icing:
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon maple flavoring
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • Pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. Slice bacon into 1" pieces and fry until cooked but not crispy. Drain well between paper towels and set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan on low heat, melt the butter (or shortening.) Add the milk, sugar, salt, and cinnamon, and stir until the mixture is lukewarm. Remove from heat.
  3. In a large bowl (a stand mixer is best) combine the warm water, yeast, and ¼ teaspoon sugar. Let sit until bubbly - about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the warm milk mixture, egg, and 1 cup of flour. Mix until well combined.
  5. Add the remaining flour. If using a stand mixer, switch to a dough hook and knead for 5 minutes. Dough will be very soft, but should come cleanly away from the sides of the bowl. If dough is sticky, add additional flour a little at a time until it can be easily handled. If kneading by hand, drop dough on a floured surface and knead for 7-8 minutes. Dough should be very soft and elastic.
  6. Place dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel, and allow it to rise until double, approximately 1 hour.
  7. Punch down dough and roll it out to a thickness between ⅛" and ¼" on a floured surface. Cut into strips a little wider than the pieces of cooked bacon. Cut each strip into rectangles long enough to fold easily over each piece of bacon. Pinch the edges to seal. HINT: Once the bacon is folded up in the dough, neaten up the sides of each pocket with a pizza cutter; they will seal better and look nicer when cooked. As each pocket is formed, place it aside on a lightly floured surface.
  8. When all of the pockets are made, cover with a kitchen towel and allow them to rest for 15 minutes.
  9. Pour at least 1½ inches of oil in a large pot and heat to 350 F. Watch the heat carefully; it can spike quickly. Reduce heat if necessary to maintain a 350 F. temperature.
  10. Beginning with the first pockets you formed, drop a few in the hot fat. They will puff up quickly, so don't put too may in at a time...they need room to move. When the bottom of the pastry is a rich golden brown (approximately 1 minute), flip each one over with a spoon. When both sides are brown, use a slotted spoon to move them to paper towels to drain.
  11. Combine all of the ingredients for the maple icing, whipping until light and fluffy, and spread on slightly warm pockets. You can also add a little more liquid to the icing and dip the warm pockets.
  12. Keep loosely covered.

 

Prettiest dough ever!

Prettiest dough ever!

Cut up the bacon

Cut up the bacon

Cut strips a little wider than the bacon

Cut strips a little wider than the bacon

Wrap that piece 'o bacon up nice and snug!

Wrap that piece ‘o bacon up nice and snug!

Trim the edges neatly with knife or (my favorite) pizza cutter.

Trim the edges neatly with knife or (my favorite) pizza cutter.

Frying in peanut oil.

Frying in peanut oil.

Ice them while slightly warm and enjoy!

Ice them while slightly warm and enjoy!

Is there anything that I haven’t already said about maple? If you’ve been reading my blogs, you’ve heard me wax eloquent on the subject over and over, and I think I’ve finally run out of new ways to praise it.

Did I mention I could just sit and eat the icing with a spoon, as long as I had a nice strong cup of coffee to go with it? True story.
Addictive little buggers. Betcha can’t eat just one!

Maple Leaf Sandwich Cookies

Blog6 038You will rarely find me in the cookie aisle at the grocery store. Oh, believe me…I love store-bought cookies. Chips Ahoy are my favorite road food! Vanilla wafers make a lovely dessert crust. Ginger Snaps really call to me once in a while. However, for the most part I avoid the temptation because I know I can make a better quality cookie for less money.

BUT (you knew that was coming, right?) occasionally I just have to buy a package of those lovely maple leaf shaped cookies with maple frosting in the middle.

I’ve posted my recipe for Maple Shortbread before, and absolutely love those cookies, but this time I wanted to make a sandwich cookie with a sturdier dough since shortbread is a little fragile.  My first batch was a flop. Too crispy and buttery, though definitely yummy (there were no complaints from the menfolk) but not what I was looking for.

So I played with my shortbread dough a bit and think I have found a winner. I’ll never get the dense crunchy texture of the store bought variety, but this is very close, and satisfies my craving in a big way. The dough itself has a very mild maple flavor, with the frosting in the middle carrying the maple “punch”.

I even thinned some of the dough and piped leaf veins on the top cookies. I love the look of it, and will probably play with the dough-on-dough decorating idea in the near future.

Piping dough accents.

Piping dough accents.

Baked and frosted.

Baked and frosted.

Maple Leaf Sandwich Cookies
Print
Author:
Makes about 18 sandwich cookies, depending on the size of your cookie cutter. Mine was approximately 3" x 3".
Ingredients
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • ............
  • Frosting:
  • ½ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 4 tablespoons milk
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons maple flavoring (like Mapleine)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • milk for thinning frosting
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350F.
  2. Lightly grease two baking sheets. (Or use parchment.)
  3. In a large bowl, combine butter and powdered sugar. Beat until light and fluffy.
  4. Add egg yolk, maple syrup, and milk. Blend well.
  5. Add the flour and cornstarch and mix until it forms a smooth dough. The dough should be very stiff. If it's sticky, add a little more flour.
  6. Working with half the dough at a time, roll the dough out on a generously floured surface. (To make it really easy, roll it out between pieces of floured parchment.) You want the dough to be no more than ¼" thick. A little thinner is even better.
  7. Cut out shapes with a maple leaf cookie cutter.
  8. In a small bowl, combine ¼ cup of dough with a couple of drops of maple flavoring and enough milk to make it easy to pipe. Put the dough in a pastry bag, or in a plastic zipper bag with the tip cut off, and pipe leaf veins on half of the cookies.
  9. Bake 9-10 minutes, or until the cookies are just beginning to show a little brown around the bottom edges.
  10. Cool completely on a rack. Frost the plain half with maple frosting (instructions below) and top with the decorated half.
  11. TO MAKE FROSTING:
  12. In a medium pan, combine the brown sugar, white sugar, milk and butter. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes.
  13. Add the maple flavoring and powdered sugar, beating well with a wooden spoon or whisk.
  14. Add milk, if necessary, a little at a time until the frosting has a consistency that's good for spreading. If it gets too firm while you're working with it, heat it on low or add a little more milk.

 

Flour generously. You actually want these cookies to be tough and crunchy!

Flour generously. You actually want these cookies to be tough and crunchy!

Cooking the frosting.

Cooking the frosting.

Add some frosting and top with another cookie.

Add some frosting and top with another cookie.

Now THIS is a cookie!

Now THIS is a cookie!

These are incredibly rich. Two is my limit, and I’m usually satisfied with one. They do disappear quickly though, so hide a few for yourself and savor the flavor when you have a peaceful moment.

Maple Pecan Spiral Bread

Blog4 070My love affair with maple just got wilder and more obsessive. Torrid, even! It knows no bounds, respects no limits, takes no prisoners. There…every cliché I could come up with at the moment. (Sorry, Mr. Bass. You tried to teach me better.) I truly have no self-control when it comes to maple.

Here is a tempting loaf of white bread with sweet swirls of maple and toasted pecans. Toasting the pecans is what really takes the flavor over the top, and is such an easy thing to do. You can use your oven, but I just put them in a skillet on the stove at medium low for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until the fragrance drives me crazy. They’re done at that point, but you might need to test them to be absolutely sure. Actually, you might need to test them a few times!

toasting the pecans in a ceramic skillet.

toasting the pecans in a ceramic skillet.

Although this bread is delightful just as it is, I recommend trying it toasted. Yum! It also makes scrumptious French Toast. Making a spiral bread is easy, and very attractive, but I wanted to try a layered bread because I envisioned stripes of maple pecan instead of a spiral. I don’t know why…sometimes I just have to do what the little voices in my head tell me to do.

Maple Pecan Bread - the layered version.

Maple Pecan Bread – the layered version.

Here’s the recipe in all its glory. I would like to mention that the filling calls for one tablespoon of Mapleine (a maple flavoring.) If you have plebian controllable maple cravings, this is the perfect amount to give your bread a pleasant maple flavor. Frankly, that’s like adding a precise jigger of vodka to a Bloody Mary. Adequate, but a little more is always better! I usually add a bit more (to both mixtures!)

Maple Pecan Spiral Bread
Print
Author:
Makes two loaves. Hide one. Trust me! Hide one.
Ingredients
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1¾ cups hot water
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • ¼ cup butter, softened (you may use oil if you prefer)
  • 5½ - 6 cups all purpose white flour
  • MAPLE FILLING:
  • 1½ cup toasted pecans, finely chopped (please don't skip the toasting step!)
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon Mapleine
Instructions
  1. Test the yeast by adding it to ¼ cup warm (not hot) water and a pinch of sugar in a small bowl. (Note: this water and sugar is in addition to the amounts listed above.) Stir lightly and set aside for 10 minutes. If it doesn't bubble and rise up, try again with another package of yeast.
  2. In a large bowl (a stand mixer is best) combine the hot water, sugar, salt, and butter. Stir well.
  3. Add 3 cups of the flour and stir.
  4. When your yeast mixture is bubbly, pour it into the flour mixture and mix well.
  5. Gradually beat in the remaining flour until the dough comes cleanly away from the sides of the bowl.
  6. Knead until smooth (about 8 minutes by hand, 5 minutes if using a dough hook.)
  7. Place dough in a large oiled bowl. Cover and set aside in a warm spot to rise just until doubled - about 1 hour.
  8. While the dough is rising, Make the maple filling by combining the toasted pecans, brown sugar, white sugar, flour, and Mapleine in a small bowl. (To make sure it's well mixed, use your hands!) Set aside.
  9. Grease or spray (I like Baker's Joy) two bread pans.
  10. Punch down the dough and let it stand for 5 minutes. Divide into 2 equal parts and, working with one at a time, roll out to a rectangle, approximately 12"x7", with a short edge towards you.
  11. Lightly brush (or spray) the dough with water. (This will help keep it from developing air pockets.)
  12. Cover generously with maple mixture and pat down firmly. Beginning with the short end, roll away from yourself. Don't worry if a little filling comes out the sides. Turn the seam to the bottom and pinch both sides to close. Set the dough seam down in prepared bread pan. Repeat with the other piece of dough. If you have leftover filling, put it in an airtight container - it's wonderful on hot cereal or as a streusel topping for muffins.
  13. Cover loaves with a dishtowel and let them rise until almost doubled - approximately 1 hour.
  14. Heat oven to 375F.
  15. Bake loaves for 40-45 minutes, until they're a rich golden brown. Let cool slightly, then turn out onto a rack to finish cooling. I like to butter the crust a little while the loaf is still warm.

 

Adding the yeast.

Adding the yeast.

Dough is kneaded.

Dough is kneaded.

Rolling up the dough.

Rolling up the dough.

and...in the pan to rise!

and…in the pan to rise!

Dig in!

Dig in!

To make layered bread, follow the recipe until step #10. After you divide your dough into two parts, roll each part into a 8″x16″ rectangle. Cut four pieces, each 8″x4″. Put one piece into the prepared pan, Lightly brush (or spray) with water, cover it with a layer of maple filling, and repeat, twice, with the fourth piece of dough on the top. Tuck the sides down gently, and allow to rise as usual. After baking, turn them out right away onto a rack. If you let them cool in the pans, the gooey sides will stick. Be gentle, and let them rest on their sides to cool completely.

Cutting strips of dough for a layered effect.

Cutting strips of dough for a layered effect.

Dough, filling, dough, filling...etc.

Dough, filling, dough, filling…etc.

I’ll admit it’s not the most attractive bread I’ve ever seen (maybe we can just call it “rustic”, ok?) but the slices themselves are very pretty!

Funny looking from the side!

Funny looking from the side!

Now I’m imagining the maple filling in cinnamon rolls, with a maple frosting. Oh oh…I barely get the kitchen clean from one baking spree and another is already building. Stand back – I’m going in there!

Maple Bars for Breakfast (Move over, Paula!)

MmmmMAPLE Bar

By now you know that I will eat just about anything if it’s dipped in maple, filled with maple, or has maple in its top ten ingredients. I didn’t ask for this addiction…just playing the cards that were dealt me. So (because I’m so rational) to celebrate a two pound loss at the weekly weigh-in of my weight watching club today, I decided to sabotage myself and make MAPLE BARS!

A truly fresh maple bar disappears in your mouth before you have a chance to chew, which is heaven. Pure heaven. I’ve also been known to eat maple bars that were so stale the only redeeming quality was the icing – which is all that matters, really. That’s where the maple flavor is…the pastry is just there to guide the icing to your mouth.

Even if you aren’t stoked about making fresh, warm, succulent maple bars, please scroll to the bottom of this blog. I’ll show you how to make a REAL breakfast sandwich. This started out as a spoof of Paula Deen’s horrifying video about making a hamburger with glazed doughnut buns, and turned into a new guilty favorite. Yummy and disgusting at the same time!

A good way to use those pesky leftover maple bars!

I found a maple bar recipe I liked on Food.com, and of course I tweaked it a bit. A little more sugar, a little more water, a little less cinnamon, rolled out a whole lot thinner…etc. If you have absolutely no trust in me, (pfffft!) here’s a link to the original. Maple Bars  This is probably a really old recipe because it has you scald the milk, which you rarely see anymore in recipes. They did it years ago (mostly to kill any bacteria) but it can make a little bit of difference in the rise of yeast breads, so we’ll do it just in case.

Grab your apron and let’s make some…

MAPLE BARS!

1-1/2 cups milk (2% or whole milk is best. I added a little half & half to my 2%)
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup shortening
1-1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup warm water
2 packages active dry yeast
½ teaspoon sugar
2 eggs
5 cups all-purpose flour
peanut oil (if you prefer to fry them)

ICING
4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon maple flavoring (like Mapleine)
Milk

  • In a small pan on medium-high heat, scald the milk. To do this, let the milk heat until there are bubbles all the way around the outer edge, but catch it before it boils. Remove from heat.
  • Add 1/3 cup sugar, shortening, salt, and cinnamon. Allow the mixture to cool down until it’s lukewarm.
  • In a large bowl (I use my stand mixer) combine the warm water, yeast, and ½ teaspoon sugar. Let it sit until bubbly – about 5 minutes.
  • Mix the lukewarm milk mixture into the yeast mixture. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well.
  • Slowly add the flour, mixing until combined. Knead well–5 minutes with stand mixer using the dough hook, or 7-8 minutes by hand on a lightly floured surface.

    Nice, soft, elastic dough.

  • Set the dough to rise in a large oiled bowl, turning once to coat the dough with oil. Allow to rise until double–about an hour. Punch down.
  • Roll out the dough into a rectangle. The dough should be a little less than ½ inch thick. Trim off the rounded edges to get nice straight sides, and cut into 12 rectangles. They will look thin, but trust me…they puff up like crazy when they’re cooked!

    Cutting out maple bar dough with a pizza cutter.

These can be baked or fried – they’re wonderful either way, though I’m partial to the texture and flavor of the fried version.

The bar on the left is baked, and the one on the right is fried. Your call – both are delightful!

If you want to bake them, space the dough evenly on a cookie sheet. cover with a dishtowel and allow them to rise for 30 minutes. They’ll still look a little skinny, but don’t worry! Heat the oven to 425 F.  Bake for approximately 8 minutes, (until golden brown) and move them with a spatula to a baking rack to cool.

If you want to fry them, just leave them right there on the counter. Cover with a dishtowel and allow them to rise for 30 minutes. Pour at least 2 inches of peanut oil in a large pan and heat to 350 F. Drop in a few pastries at a time, giving them lots of room to move around. Once the bottom is golden, flip the bars over. If yours are like mine, they’ll have minds of their own and might insist on flipping right back over. Don’t let them win! When both sides are brown, remove and drain on paper towels. Move to a baking rack to cool.

Fry, baby…fry!

To make the icing, mix the powdered sugar, butter, salt, and Mapeline in a medium bowl. Slowly stir in milk until it’s the consistency you want. (Make it thick for spreading, or make it thin for dipping.) I really like to use an electric hand mixer for this…it comes out so smooth and creamy that way.

Maple frosting makes me swoon!

Ice the bars (if you haven’t already eaten the icing) and leave them uncovered so they can dry a bit. If you plan to store them, cover them loosely; they’ll get really gooey if they’re covered tightly with plastic wrap or foil. My guess is they won’t be around long enough for that to happen!

Barely warm and beckoning to me…I obey.

So…I was watching this video of Paula Deen making a hamburger. She used two glazed doughnuts for the buns and added a fried egg and bacon. If that wasn’t funny enough, I saw her lick her finger while she was putting it together, and then she gave it to the other gal to eat. Here’s a link:  Paula Deen’s Mess  Even as I was busy being grossed out, I was thinking: “now if she had only used breakfast sausage…” Oh-oh, you know what’s coming, don’t you?

Oh, yeah. Slice the maple bar. ADD SAUSAGE!

And EGGS!

And BACON! Over the top? At this point, does it really matter?

A breakfast masterpiece! Move over, Paula!