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Jessica is the NH.com Editor and Producer. She has a BA in Creative Writing from Chester College of NE, and a M.Ed. specializing in Adult Education from Plymouth State University. She is happily married and a proud mama of two perfect little boys and is motivated to alert New Hampshirites to the hottest goings-on in the state. Her interests include cracking the spine of a good book, writing, painting and cuddling with her babies on the sofa while some terrible reality TV hums in the background.
What To Do With Maple Syrup: Recipe Contest, Win A 2-Night Inn Stay
Monday, March 11, 2013
We can say one thing for certain, NH, we know our maple!
While maple season officially begins next weekend, March 23-24, the sugary tree-nectar is already being siphoned and processed statewide! Many sugar houses are already offering tours and tastes to maple sugar lovers!
If you're looking for a sugar house near you, visit the NH.com Maple Sugar Page, sponsored this year by Sunset Hill House Inn, at http://www.NH.com/Maple-Sugar! Use our interactive sugar house map and browse out maple sugar events calendar for some sweet, sticky fun!
If the maple sap gets your creativity flowing, bring some syrup to the kitchen and whip-up a tasty treat! NH.com is looking for the best maple recipes for our Maple Sugar Season Contest, sponsored by Sunset Hill House Inn! Share your tastiest maple-flavored recipe for a chance to win a 2-night stay at Sunset Hill House Inn suite with recreation, and a $30 dining credit and $20 wine credit nightly in the main restaurant. This prize is valued at over $1000 and may be used on Maple Sugar weekend or any weekend afterward through May 29, 2013! One random winner will be drawn on the first day of spring, Wednesday, March 20th! Get ready, this should be tasty! Enjoy some maple sugar history, fun, and recipe below to get you in the maple-mood!
Nestled within maple sugar tapping and boiling procedures, is terrific history and Native American lore. I even found a quote from a 1685 British Royal Society newspaper recounting Native American sugaring processes: "in the time that the sap rises, in the Maple, make an incision in the Tree, by which it runs out; and after they have evaporated eight pounds of the liquor, there remains one pound as sweet ...." The Native Americans began trading "sweetwater" with the Europeans; Europe is unlikely to begin a large maple syrup production, because their weather is not generally conducive to significant sap yields.
When I was young, my dad use to jokingly refer to pancakes, French toast, and the like, as "syrup delivery foods." The idea that the food is not as important as the condiment is still hilarious... but also... true? I think we should let the evidence speak for itself... in past polls, NH.com Facebook fans fervently rejoined our quest for maple syryp "delivery foods," including snow, ice cream, seared scallops, mashed sweet potatoes, and of course, pancakes, waffles, and French toast! It seems we're just about ready to enhance any food with the saccharine goodness of maple syrup!
"Delivery food" or not, there sure are a lot of foods that benefit from a glossy maple glaze! It makes a snazzy sugar substitute, and even a great baking ingredient! Below is a recipe for Maple Pecan Cheesecake from one of our Facebook fans!
Maple Pecan Cheesecake-Kim
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (almost 1 pkg crushed whole graham crackers)
3/4 Stick butter, melted ( 5 1/2 Tablespoons)
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
1 teaspoon real maple syrup
Mix crumbs and pecans well, Mix syrup with melted butter. Slowly drizzle in to the crumb mixture. Press in bottom of 10 inch spring form pan. Bake at 450 for 5 minutes. Wrap bottom of pan tightly with foil and place in a larger pan with about 1/2 inch of water. (prevents cracking during baking)
4-8 ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
3 Tablespoons flour
1 cup pure maple syrup
1 cup creme fraiche (or sour cream)
1 whole vanilla bean, opened and knife scrape out the tidbits inside.
Beat cream cheese with mixer. Add the eggs and beat well. Add the creme fraiche (or sour cream) and vanilla bean. Mix well. Pour into the prepared pan. Slowly drizzle a bit of syrup onto cake if desired. it will sink in and give an extra zip if you have a sweet tooth. Bake at 500 for a full 10 minutes, turn oven down to 200 and bake about 1 hour and 40 min, or until a thermometer reads 150 degrees. Remove from oven and carefully run a knife or spatula around the inside edge of pan to loosen the cheesecake (helps prevent the surface from cracking as it cools for about an hour). Remove sides of pan.
Chill, they taste much better after sitting for a day. If feeling adventurous, pressed chopped nuts on sides and drizzle with maple syrup before serving. I make a whipped cream with heavy cream and just a touch of syrup.
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