Tag Archives: maple

Maple Cupcakes

I know we’re past Halloween, but I’m not quite ready to dive into Thanksgiving food. Rest assured, I will be soon, but I need just one more minute to savor non-holiday food before we get to the pies and sides and then everything that Christmas requires. All of those things are wonderful, but let’s a moment for Maple Cupcakes first. I promise they deserve a second in the spotlight.

Maple Cupcakes

To me, Maple Cupcakes are the ideal treat to make the first weekend in November. Their hint of spice and natural colors make them seasonally appropriate, but they’re not associated with any holiday tradition I can think of. They’re just delicious—nothing more, nothing less.

Maple Cupcakes

Maple Cupcakes are a take on my reader favorite Maple Layer Cake. Like that dessert, they have maple syrup in a minimum of three elements; four, if you’re feeling kicky. Truly, these are a maple lover’s dream.

(It’s me. Hi. I’m the maple lover. It’s me.)

Maple Cupcakes

The cupcakes themselves are a lightly modified spin on my go-to vanilla recipe. They’re simple to make and the results are spectacular—soft and springy with the tiniest hint of spice to accent the maple. They bake up golden-edged and beautiful, with even surfaces perfect for brushing with more maple syrup and piling high with maple frosting. I like to finish them with coarse sugar, but an extra dab of maple syrup before serving is a nice touch, too.

In short, these are all maple all the time—it’s an approach I can get behind.

Maple Cupcakes
Maple Cupcakes
makes 14-16 cupcakes

Cupcake Batter:
1/2 cup milk, room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Frosting:
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
4 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
3 tablespoons heavy cream

For Assembly:
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
sparkling or coarse sugar (optional)

Make the cupcake batter. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 12-cup standard muffin tin with cupcake liners. Set aside.

Combine milk and sour cream a liquid measuring cup, then use a fork to whisk them together. Set aside.

In a small-medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy. Beat in sugar, followed by maple syrup. Add eggs one at a time, combining completely after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Mix in half the dry ingredients, followed by half the milk/sour cream. Add the remaining dry ingredients followed by the remaining milk/sour cream.

Fill liners 2/3-3/4 full. Tap full pan on the counter five times before baking for 18-19 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean. Let cupcakes cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely.

Make the frosting. In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy, about two minutes. Beat in confectioner's sugar in two installments, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Beat in salt, followed by vanilla. Beat in maple syrup, followed by heavy cream.

To assemble, use a pastry brush to brush the top of each cooled cupcake with maple syrup. Let soak in for 1-2 minutes, just so there is no syrup standing on the surface of the cupcakes. Spread or pipe maple frosting on cooled cupcakes. Finish with coarse sugar. Add a few drops of maple syrup immediately before serving, if desired.

Leftover cupcakes will keep covered at room temperature for a few days or in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Salty Maple Brown Butter Blondies

Salty Maple Brown Butter ​Blondies

This time of year, everyone seems to lose their minds for pumpkin and apples. I admit I am guilty of this too, but I think maple is truly my favorite fall flavor.

Yes, I know maple syrup is made in the spring, but it tastes like fall. It just does. It’s the color of the best crunchy leaves and it tastes like nostalgia and Saturday mornings in early November. Please excuse my waxing poetic, but you know I’m right.

Salty Maple Brown Butter ​Blondies

I’ve made tons of maple recipes over the years, including a layer cake, caramel corn, and some incredible sandwich cookies, but I never run out of new ideas for how to use it. Not gonna lie though, I think I’ve outdone myself with these Salty Maple Brown Butter Blondies.

You read that right. Salty. Maple. Brown Butter. Blondies. That’s like everything good in the world in one baked good.

The blondies themselves are a classic recipe with a little less brown sugar and a whole lot of maple syrup. They bake up without fuss and would be great by their lonesome, but then you’d be foregoing the magic of the Salty Maple Brown Butter icing. It gets poured on the blondies warm and settles into a thick layer reminiscent of maple candy. But, you know, with brown butter and flaky finishing salt.

Salty Maple Brown Butter ​Blondies

Salty Maple Brown Butter Blondies are sweet, salty, and very buttery, and have the textures of both a perfect chewy cookie and soft maple candy. Their maple flavor shines so brightly and just gets better and deeper as they age. Yes, I am telling you to take your time eating these, but I’ll be the first to admit that’s easier said than done.

Salty Maple Brown Butter ​Blondies
Salty Maple Brown Butter Blondies
makes one 8- or 9-inch square pan, about 16 blondies

Blondies:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup pure maple syrup (I use Grade A Dark Color, Robust Taste)
1 large egg, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
tiny pinch of ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

Salty Maple Brown Butter Icing:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt

For Finishing:
coarse or flaky salt (I used Maldon)

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8- or 9-inch square pan and line with parchment, leaving overhang for bar-removal. Set aside while you make the blondie batter.

Brown the butter. Place butter in a light-colored saucepan over medium heat. Let butter melt. Butter will bubble and crackle as the water content evaporates. Swirl the pan frequently for 5-7 minutes, keeping an eye on the color. When the solids are turning brown and the butter is nutty and fragrant, remove the pot from the heat and immediately pour the brown butter into a medium-large mixing bowl.

Whisk granulated sugar, light brown sugar, and maple syrup into the brown butter. Mix in egg and vanilla, followed by flour, nutmeg and salt.

Spread the blondie batter in prepared pan. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean (no raw batter). Let blondies cool 15 minutes in the pan on a rack.

Meanwhile make the icing. Place butter in a light-colored saucepan over medium heat. Let butter melt. Butter will bubble and crackle as the water content evaporates. Swirl the pan frequently for 5-7 minutes, keeping an eye on the color. When the solids are turning brown and the butter is nutty and fragrant, remove the pot from the heat. Immediately whisk in maple syrup, followed by confectioner’s sugar and salt. Whisk until smooth.

Pour icing over the the blondies (still in the pan). Tilt the pan back and forth and coax with the back of a spoon so that the icing covers the blondies. Sprinkle with a generous pinch of flaky or coarse finishing salt. Let blondies continue to cool until room temperature.

Run a small, thin knife around the edge of the pan, then use parchment to lift them onto a cutting board. Slice with a large, sharp chef’s knife, wiping the blade clean between cuts. Serve.

Blondies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Maple Sugar Cookies

Maple Sugar CookiesY’all, please believe me when I tell you these are *the* best and easiest Maple Sugar Cookies out there. They are so, so good. Throughout the pandemic, I’ve agonized over how best to distribute my blogging leftovers, but these? I kept them all to myself. I didn’t even give one to my roommate.Maple Sugar CookiesSo, what makes these Maple Sugar Cookies the best? Well, to start with, they’re chewy sugar cookies with big maple flavor–you can’t go wrong with that combo! In addition to maple syrup in both the dough and the glaze, these cookies are filled with a bunch of other very delicious things like nutty brown butter, light brown sugar, vanilla, and a pinch of nutmeg that really makes the flavors sing. Basically, there’s no way these were ever going to be anything but great.

As for the ease factor, these are the kind of cookies you can make on a whim. There’s no softening of butter, no chill, and the batch is only 1.5 dozen, so you won’t spend an hour baking off dough balls instead of eating cookies.Maple Sugar CookiesHeck, you don’t even need a bowl for this recipe! Nope, the dough comes together in a pot on the stove. I was inspired to try this method after seeing Lauren Brennan’s hot pot sugar cookies over the summer. I tried her recipe as-is and then did what I wanted, including browning the butter, adding brown sugar, reducing the sugar overall, eliminating the extra egg yolk, adding maple syrup and adjusting the bake temperature and time. You may have noticed that this stovetop mixing method has made its way into my favorite brownie recipe too—fewer dishes for the win!Maple Sugar CookiesMaple Sugar CookiesTo make Maple Sugar Cookies, start by browning the butter. Just when the milk solids turn golden, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the sugars and maple syrup. Let the mix cool about ten minutes before adding an egg, two teaspoons of vanilla and the dry ingredients. Then let the dough rest for ten more minutes before scooping, rolling and baking.

Don’t be alarmed if your dough feels greasy while rolling. It probably will. You haven’t done anything wrong and, no, more flour is not the answer. Rest assured that this is just how this dough feels, but it will bake into soft, chewy cookies that are anything but greasy. I wouldn’t steer you wrong—Maple Sugar Cookies are serious business.Maple Sugar CookiesWhile these cookies are delicious enough that they don’t need adornment, you know I love a glaze. This one is just confectioner’s sugar, maple syrup and a pinch of salt. Whirl it up and drizzle it on the finished cookies. You may drizzle with a fork, or follow my lead and use a piping bag with the tiniest corner snipped off. Hello, I am a control freak.Maple Sugar CookiesThe last step in making Maple Sugar Cookies? Wait, but not for long. Just for like an hour or so. As with many baked goods, the flavors need this time to meld and settle. Will your cookies be bad if you eat them right away? Of course not—they’re cookies!—but the maple flavor won’t shine through the way it will sixty minutes later. Trust me when I tell you that, after an hour, you will be rewarded for your patience with perfect chewy, mapley cookies with hints of brown butter and brown sugar. And while the batch makes plenty to share, I won’t blame you one bit if you hoard them all to yourself. Maple Sugar Cookies

Maple Sugar Cookies
inspired by & heavily adapted from Lauren’s Latest
makes about 1.5 dozen cookies

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 large egg, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
pinch of ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

Maple Glaze:
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
2-3 tablespoons pure maple syrup

Arrange your oven racks in central positions. Preheat oven to 350F. Line two rimmed sheet pans with parchment. Set aside.

Brown the butter. Place butter in a light-colored saucepan over medium heat. Let butter melt. Butter will bubble and crackle as the water content evaporates. Swirl the pan frequently for 5-7 minutes, keeping an eye on the color. When the solids are turning brown and the butter is nutty and fragrant, remove the pot from the heat. Stir in the light brown sugar, granulated sugar and maple syrup. Let cool 10 minutes.

Add the egg to the pot and whisk to combine. Whisk in the vanilla, followed by flour, nutmeg, baking soda and salt. Let dough sit for 10 minutes.

Scoop dough in 1 1/2 tablespoon increments (I use a medium cookie scoop). Roll into balls and place at least 2 inches apart on prepared pans. Bake cookies 9-10 minutes, or until puffed and no longer raw looking. Cookies will relax as they begin to cool.

Set a cooling rack over a pieces of wax paper or parchment.

Let cookies cool for 7 minutes on the pans before removing to a rack to cool completely.

Make the glaze. In a small bowl use a fork to whisk together confectioner’s sugar, salt and 2 tablespoons maple syrup. Add more maple by the teaspoon, until desired consistency is reached.

Drizzle glaze over the cookies. The glaze will be dry to the touch within 20 minutes and harden after a few hours.

For best maple flavor, let glazed cookies rest for at least 60 minutes before serving.

Cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Maple Sugar CookiesMaple Sugar CookiesMaple Sugar Cookies

Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Maple Frosting {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Maple Frosting {Vegan & Gluten-Free}A week on Swan’s Island is never enough time. It simply isn’t. Yes, there’s relaxing and hiking and quiet, but just when you start to fully decompress, you have to get back on the ferry, drive ten hours, and return to your real life. It’s the worst.Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Maple Frosting {Vegan & Gluten-Free}We keep saying “two weeks next year” but only getting half of that. I’m putting it out to the universe now: one month next year. That way, when we only get half, it’ll be two weeks. Am I trying to con the universe in to more vacation? Sure, why not. You can’t blame me for wanting to spend time with the friends we’ve made up there (even socially distanced) instead of carrying on entire relationships via Facebook.Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Maple Frosting {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Maple Frosting {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Maple Frosting {Vegan & Gluten-Free}I mean, would you believe that I’ve pretty much never baked for anyone on Swan’s Island? It’s true. I’ve been going there regularly for the last six years, made some friends, and know the people who own the general store well enough that they recognized me immediately with my mask on, but I’ve never really baked for any of them. They know, of course, that I bake and blog, and I always say I’m going to make something for them, but then time gets away and suddenly I’m on the ferry back to the mainland.Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Maple Frosting {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Maple Frosting {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Maple Frosting {Vegan & Gluten-Free}All that said, when we booked our trip in July, I decided this year was *the* year. I tested a recipe before I left Brooklyn, brought a box of potato starch and the vegan butter I like, and it took until the second-to-last day, but I baked this Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Maple Frosting for my Maine people. Finally.Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Maple Frosting {Vegan & Gluten-Free}I’ve never put a sheet cake on here. It’s not because I think they’re “less than” or something—I just have occasions for other configurations of cake and frosting far more frequently than I do for this super simple slice-and-share situation. But our annual Swan’s Island trip? That’s a slice-and-share situation if I’ve ever seen one. Especially in COVID, when get-togethers with people outside my immediate germ pod aren’t a thing, it was so nice to be able to wrap up and dole out slices of this Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Maple Frosting without having to worry about keeping layers intact.Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Maple Frosting {Vegan & Gluten-Free}As with most of what we eat on Swan’s Island, this cake was made with my trusty co-traveler/fellow Maine enthusiast, VJ, in mind. I’ve mentioned many times that she is a gluten-free vegan, and though I am not either of those things, I greatly enjoy the challenges and rewards of baking (and cooking) that way when we are together. It’s far more fun to bake when people can eat what you make…not that I’d be particularly mad about being saddled with all 15 slices of this cake. I mean, do you see that vegan Maple Frosting???Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Maple Frosting {Vegan & Gluten-Free}The pumpkin cake is a variation on the vegan, gluten-free chocolate cake I posted last year. It relies primarily on almond flour, potato starch and cornstarch for structure, and pumpkin purée and pumpkin pie spice for flavor. There are other things in the batter too, of course (granulated and brown sugars, vanilla, leaveners, almond milk), and they all bake up into a moist, tender, nicely-spiced sheet of cake. Vegan and gluten-free or not, this pumpkin cake is legit.Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Maple Frosting {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Believe me when I tell you that I understand wanting to eat this cake by its lonesome straight out of the oven, or with a simple dusting of confectioner’s sugar…but also? Believe me when I tell you that a swoopy layer of Maple Frosting takes this seasonal dessert from very good to fabulous. For real.Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Maple Frosting {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Maple Frosting is very good the day it’s made, but as with many pumpkin spice things, it’s actually more delicious the next day, after the flavors have melded. But with a cake this good around, I can’t blame anyone for not waiting to dig in. I mean, I certainly didn’t.Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Maple Frosting {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Maple Frosting {Vegan & Gluten-Free}
makes a single layer 9×13-inch sheet cake

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
~1 1/4 cups unsweetened almond milk
1/3 cup pure pumpkin purée
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups blanched almond flour (not almond meal)
3/4 cup potato starch
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 1/4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 1/8 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/8 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

For finishing:
Vegan Maple Frosting (recipe below)
sprinkle of ground cinnamon (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9×13-inch cake pan. Line with parchment and grease again. Set aside.

Pour apple cider vinegar into a liquid measuring cup. Add almond milk until liquid reaches the 1 1/4 cup mark. Stir and let sit for 5-10 minutes, until curdled. Stir in pumpkin purée and vanilla. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together blanched almond flour, potato starch, cornstarch, granulated sugar, light brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add liquid ingredients in two installments, whisking until combined.

Transfer batter to prepared pan and smooth to the edges with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon. Tap pan on the counter 5 times to release any large air bubbles. Transfer to the oven and bake 32-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of each layer comes out with only a few crumbs.

Let cake cool completely in its pan on a cooling rack. Run a thin knife along the edges of the pan before inverting to release onto a platter (alternatively, you may keep it in the pan and serve from there). Frost as desired with Vegan Maple Frosting (recipe below). Sprinkle with cinnamon, if desired.

Frosted cake will keep at room temperature for up to 3 days and refrigerated for up to 4. Unfrosted cake may be triple-wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen for up to 1 month. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before frosting.

Vegan Maple Frosting
makes enough for the top of one sheet cake

4 ounces (1/2 cup) vegan butter, room temperature (I like Miyoko’s)
2 ounces (1/4 cup) shortening, room temperature (I like Nutiva)
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat vegan butter and shortening until light and fluffy. Mix in confectioners sugar in two installments, mixing until combined and fluffy. Mix in salt, followed by vanilla and maple syrup.

Use to frost the top of the sheet cake.

Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Maple Frosting {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Maple Frosting {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Maple Scones

Maple SconesMaple Scones are one of my favorite things. They’re so simple and good, and every time I have one, I get nostalgic for the days when I was learning beginner baking basics in a studio apartment I shared with an ex-boyfriend.Maple SconesA lot has changed in seven years, and also very little. I moved into a larger apartment. I got over the boyfriend (finally, and to my great relief). I have a much larger kitchen now. In fact, it’s so big that my work station is in the living room/dining area, and my (second) pantry and a dedicated dairy fridge are in my bedroom. I have a great roommate, who more-than-tolerates my kitchen time and is one of my dearest friends. I’ve taken all those baking basics and built them into more complex things, the way people do when they’re really excited about something.

On that note, I’m still really excited about home baking. I still bake everyday while listening to The Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC—I never miss it. And in the fall, I still get nostalgic for Maple Scones which, in turn, make me nostalgic for that terrible, tiny, dark kitchen where I learned how to properly measure flour by volume.Maple SconesMaple SconesThe first scones I ever made were the very good Maple Scones from Dinner with Julie. I made them over and over as-written, but ever so slowly, I’ve experimented with different scone methods and transformed what was once her recipe into mine. Half-and-half has become heavy cream, I’ve reduced the butter and upped the baking powder, I’ve added butter to the glaze. I kept the brown sugar and maple syrup, obviously. The results are mapley, fluffy and flaky with edges that are somehow both nubbly and tender.Maple SconesWhat I’m saying is that I make a hell of a maple scone. And now, seven years into baking and almost five into this blog, you can too. And maybe one day, when this post is seven years old, you’ll look back and realize that my recipe has ever so slowly become yours.Maple Scones

Maple Scones
makes 8 scones

3/4 cup heavy cream + more for brushing, very cold
2 tablespoons maple syrup (I use Grade A dark amber, robust taste)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 tablespoons light or dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, very cold, cut into cubes

Glaze:
2 tablespoons maple syrup + more to preference
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt

Make the scones. Place an oven rack in the center position. Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Set aside.

In a liquid measuring cup, use a fork to whisk together heavy cream and maple syrup. Refrigerate.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, brown sugar, and salt. Add cold butter. Use a pastry blender or clean fingertips to cut the butter into the flour until the largest pieces are the size of small peas. Stir in heavy cream mixture until a shaggy dough forms.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Pat it to 3/4-inch thick circle. Use a large, sharp chef’s knife to slice circle into 8 wedges. Place scones at least 2 inches apart on prepared pan. Brush with more heavy cream. Bake 15-16 minutes, until puffed and golden at the edges. Let scones cool on the pan on a rack for 10 minutes, or until they can be handled.

Make the glaze. Combine maple syrup and butter in a microwave safe bowl. Heat in 20 second increments, stirring between, until butter is melted. Whisk in confectioner’s sugar and salt. Glaze should be very thick, but drizzlable. Add more maple syrup by the teaspoon until your desired consistency is reached. Drizzle glaze over scones.

Scones may be served warm or at room temperature. They are best the day they are made, but will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Maple SconesMaple SconesMaple Scones