Maple syrup is nothing new and has been around for centuries with the earliest account being in 1557. The maple syrup we know today has been in production since the 1700s and was created and used by the early settlers so it's no surprise that it's synonymous with New England and, more specifically, Vermont. While it did start in Europe long before it came to the colonies, Vermonters have had a long history of using the sweet syrup to flavor many things that aren't limited to just pancakes and waffles... although we're not saying that's not delicious.
There's a difference between authentic, pure maple syrup and 'fake' syrup, and that difference is corn syrup. It's not hard to tell the difference when it comes to flavor, either - pure maple syrup is often thinner, not as sweet, and has a strong 'maple' flavor profile that's not nearly as prevalent in corn syrup-based syrups. So, when it comes to using maple in dishes other than breakfast, this is the syrup that foodies should be looking for. Cooking with it is better, it's healthier, and it just tastes better. It can be a bit pricier so for those who are seeking other ways to use syrup aside from at the breakfast table, here they are!
Drizzle It Over Ice Cream (Especially Maple Ice Cream)
One of the best ways to use maple syrup is to drizzle it over a few scoops of ice cream. In Vermont, many places sell actual maple-flavored ice cream which makes this a bit redundant, but for those who don't have the delicious frozen delicacy around, maple syrup and vanilla ice cream is just as heavenly a combination. It's a great alternative to chocolate or caramel while lending a flavor that's within the ballpark of both, but is so, so much better. Top it with a few sprinkles or some brittle and dive in!
Use It To Glaze Root Veggies
This was once a popular way to use maple syrup around Thanksgiving but it's not widely accepted as a way to roast vegetables any time of the year. The most common vegetable to be glazed with maple syrup is carrots but there's no reason it should be limited to one root vegetable group. Other vegetables, such as parsnips and beets, also take to maple flavor extraordinarily well. Experimenting with this can be a fun way to explore different avenues of flavor and roasted sweet potatoes are another great option.
Add It To Overnight Oats Or Hot Cereal
Rather than using sugar, maple syrup can be used to sweeten things, as well. In fact, it's a worthy alternative for those seeking healthier options than actual sugar and appears in many recipes for desserts. When used in something like oatmeal or even a chia seed pudding, it adds sweetness without being overwhelming and you won't need to use as much syrup as you would sugar. For those who are a little more daring, maple syrup can be used in smoothies, too... or coffee for a morning pick-me-up!
Incorporate It Into A Salad Dressing
Rather than using honey or sugar, maple syrup can be used to add a little boost to an average vinaigrette. While it will have a bit of a maple flavor, it's really the sweetness that helps to round out a vinegar-based dressing. Tempered with a bit of dijon mustard (which will also help the emulsification), this is an unbeatable combination. Try using apple cider or red wine vinegar and drizzle over a salad of baby greens, shredded carrots, beets, walnuts, and goat cheese. The tang from the goat cheese and the natural sweetness of the beets help to create a magnificent combination.
Turn It Into A Glaze For Fish, Pork, Or Duck
All of these proteins take extraordinarily well to sweeter glazes, especially salmon. Rather than teriyaki, which can be overly salty at times, try swapping it out for maple syrup. While it roasts, the sugars in the maple syrup will caramelize and stick to the meat, creating a beautiful coloring, crispy exterior, and act as a protective outer shell to keep the meat moist and juicy. A sauce can easily be created for pork or duck as well, with the same theory behind making a vinaigrette - a little dijon mustard, olive oil, and some fresh herbs. Maple syrup will always add that subtle flavor that makes diners sit back and think, 'Hm, what is that delicious flavor?' Don't knock it until you try it!