Maple Bars for Breakfast (Move over, Paula!)


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, 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…


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)

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

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

A breakfast masterpiece! Move over, Paula!


Maple Pecan Cake (with rum!)

Talk about “The Agony and the Ecstasy!” My emotions (that’s a nice word for temper) vary from minute to minute when I’m baking and decorating a cake. It’s not that I’m a diva…I just don’t deal well with distractions, and the phrase “GET OUT OF MY KITCHEN!” has echoed throughout the house more times than I care to admit. I’ve had more than my share of cake disappointments over the years,  though I wouldn’t call them failures since I usually managed to patch them up and turn them into something presentable-if not prizewinning. Happily, there have also been enough rousing successes to keep me coming back for more!

No celebration is complete without a cake, and that cake should be baked with love, rather than selected by its past-pull date at the grocery store. The exception might be a wedding cake; I’ve done a couple of these, and they are a royal pain in the ass rear. I’d definitely leave that for a professional – one who has teams of kitchen workers to clean up the gargantuan mess.

Every cake doesn’t have to be a creative masterpiece, but once your ideas get flowing it’s comparable to what I imagine an artist sees in a blank canvas: endless possibilities! My goal is to make a cake that’s so lovely no one will be able to cut into it. There have been some beauties, but never one that stopped the knife from descending. Yet.

If you’re used to cake recipes that begin: “empty 1 box of yellow cake mix in a large bowl”, you’re out of luck here. We’re going to make this baby from scratch, and when you take a big bite of maple-rum goodness, you’re going to thank me! (When you step on the scale…not so much.)

I love, love, love maple. My favorite treats are those little maple sugar candies from Vermont that are pressed into the shape of maple leaves or Santa Claus. They’re so rich you have to nibble them very, very slowly. One year I made them myself by boiling down pure maple syrup and pouring it into special little rubber molds. They turned out great, and I sampled them. I sampled them a lot. It was years before I could face anything maple again.

I’m happy to say that I’m fully recovered, and here is the perfect cake to prove it! (You’ll want to make one to celebrate the first day of fall, or to serve at Thanksgiving.)

1 cup butter, at room temperature
2 cups white sugar
5 eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons maple flavoring (“Mapleine”)
3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/8 cup rum (or skip this and reduce the flour to 3 cups)
1 cup chopped pecans (more for decoration if desired)

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

  • Prepare two 9 inch cake pans. You may simply grease and flour them, but I prefer to spray them with a flour-oil combination like “Baker’s Joy”, then put a 9 inch round of parchment paper in each and spray them again lightly.
  • Thoroughly cream the butter and sugar together. It should be very light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each egg is added. Stir in the maple flavoring.
  • Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • Add the flour mixture and the buttermilk separately, in 3 additions, beginning with the flour and ending with the buttermilk. (This means you’ll add a heaping cup of flour mixture and mix until combined. Add 1/3 cup buttermilk, mix until combined. Repeat until it’s all gone.) Stir in the rum, then fold in the pecans.
  • Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cake cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes, and then turn out on rack to continue to cool completely.

Put one cake on serving platter, flat side up. Cover with buttercream frosting. Place the other cake over the frosting, flat side down. Don’t worry if the top is domed a bit – this is one cake that doesn’t need to be level. The maple topping will “flow” better if it’s a little rounded.

Note: The top photo is a 3 layer cake, smothered in chopped pecans. You’ll have to make two batches of cake batter to make it look like that. (Freeze the extra layer for midnight snack attacks.) At the bottom of this blog is a photo of a two layer version topped with white chocolate leaves.

1 cup butter, room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons cream

  • With an electric mixer on low speed, beat butter and powdered sugar together until thoroughly blended.
  • Add the vanilla and cream and mix on medium speed for 2-3 minutes. If you need to adjust the consistency for spreading, use a little powdered sugar or cream to thicken or thin the frosting.

Once cake is frosted, top with maple icing. Ladle warm (not hot!) icing…or pour it right out of the pan, if you’re brave…on the center of the cake top and, with a knife or spatula, encourage it to cover the top of the cake completely and ooze over the edge. It hardens rapidly in the pan, so work quickly, but don’t despair if this happens. You can always reheat it very gently on the stove, adding more milk if necessary.

1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup milk
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon maple flavoring (Mapleine)
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1-2 tablespoons cold milk if necessary

  • Boil together brown sugar, milk, and butter for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Cool slightly.
  • Add vanilla, maple extract, and powdered sugar. Beat well to avoid lumps. This should be thin enough to ladle onto the top of the cake and have it drip appealingly over the edge, but not so thin that it pours down the sides all over the plate! Add a little cold milk if necessary, and stir well, cooling as much as possible without letting it harden.


Maple Pecan Cake decorated with white chocolate leaves.

Decorate however you wish. Consider candy corn, chopped or candied nuts, or (if you can find them) those lovely maple sugar leaf candies from Vermont! I drew leaf shapes on waxed paper and outlined the leaves with white chocolate. Once it hardened, I filled in the shapes with melted white chocolate in various autumn colors. Simple and fun!

The best thing is, there should still be plenty of rum left in that bottle to toast a perfect cake!