Maple syrup is a booming commodity in the U.S. According to the USDAâ€™s â€ś2011 U.S. Maple Syrup Cropâ€ť report, released in June, maple-syrup producers saw a 43-percent increase over 2010â€™s harvest. Total production this year reached nearly 2.8 million gallons, with Vermont being the state with the greatest production.
So maybe National Maple Syrup Day (Dec. 17) isnâ€™t an actual holiday (we canâ€™t find any official declarations of it), but production that significant is still worthy of celebration. Maple syrup can make appearances in recipes of all kinds, with more traditional pairings, like apples or cinnamon, or alongside unexpected ingredients, like mustard or horseradish. It can be used in marinades, glazes, icings and desserts of all kinds.
Click on the recipes below forÂ 17 delicious ways you can celebrate this (unofficial) holiday:
1.Â Maple-cinnamon Glazed Nuts
Beware: This sweet snack containing maple extract will having you munching all day long. Take it to the office for a mid-afternoon snack, tote it around the farm for a quick energy boost, or enjoy it as an after-dinner treat.
2.Â Maple-roasted Parsnips
Try this maple-glazed side with your favorite pot-roast preparation.
3. Pumpkin Cake with Whipped Maple Frosting
Thanks to Hobby Farm Home reader Koleen OConnor of Hanover, Mich., for bringing this sweet treat into our lives. Spread the maple frosting on a sheet cake or layer it up for a fancier lookâ€”whatever your choice, it canâ€™t be beat! You can use Koleenâ€™s pumpkin cake recipe, or test it on your favorite cake recipe.
4.Â Baked Beets with Maple Syrup and Horseradish
Beets take on a new dimension when roasted with maple syrup and horse radish. While the horseradish offers a spicey kick, the sweetness of the caramelized maple syrup will win over even the most skeptical beet eaters.
5. Maple Custard
Who can resist the creaminess of custard? Delight in this simple dessert that dates back to the Middle Ages by including part of your maple-harvest reserves.
6.Â Maple Mousse
Or give this mousse a try, instead. This dessert isnâ€™t likely to stay in your fridge longâ€”especially if you invite the Hobby Farms editors over for dinner. A favorite in our farmhouses, the light and fluffy maple mousse makes for a beautiful and tasty ending to any meal.
7.Â Maple Mustard Salmon
When the same old salmon wonâ€™t do, give it an update by pairing maple syrup and mustard in a memorable marinade.
8.Â Butternut Squash and Apple Soup
Maple syrup adds a touch of sweetness to this already flavorful (and nutritious) soup featuring farm-fresh produce.
9.Â Apple-maple Indian Pudding
Head to the Northeast, and youâ€™re likely to stumble upon this favored dessert that melds British, Colonial and American Indian traditions. At its most basic, the recipe must contain molasses and cornmeal, but recipes can vary to include flavors and spices of all kinds. This version is perfect to tie into your maple-syrup harvest.
10.Â Maple-mustard Ham GlazeÂ
Some folks like their meat smoky, and others like it with a tinge of sweetness. If you fall into the latter group, try out this glaze on your next holiday ham.
11.Â New England Maple Cream
Use this maple-inspired confection as a spread on anything from bread to pancakes, or try it as a glaze on your favorite pastry.
12.Â Maple DressingÂ
We like to use this Maple Dressing to spruce up salad greens, but you can try it as a condiment on your favorite sandwich, as a flavor-booster for cooked veggies, or as a dip for anything from cruditĂ©s to fries.
13.Â Apple Salad with Gorgonzola and Almonds
This apple salad uses another version of maple dressing. We suggest you give it a whirl.
14. Apple Granola Breakfast Casserole
Say goodbye to excess sugar and hello to a sweet and hearty farm-harvested breakfast. Prepare this recipe the evening before and set the slow cookerÂ on low. Your houseguests are sure to be swooning by morning.
15.Â Apple-croissant Pudding
Can you hear our stomachs rumbling? This hearty dessert is a great asset to the farm table, and as Paula in Plymouth, Mass., tells us, it goes great with a scoop of maple-walnut ice cream.
16.Â Boiled Cider Pie
Mix maple syrup with cider for a delicious alternative to your standard apple pie.
17.Â Pumpkin Pancakes
Of course, we couldnâ€™t wrap up this list without mentioning maple syrup as the perfect drizzle over pancakes. While youâ€™re sure to enjoy it over your favorite buttermilks, thereâ€™s no reason why you canâ€™t drizzle it over our Pumpkin Pancakes, too. What a great way to start the morning and celebrate seasonal harvests of all kinds!