Dear festive readers who love maple as much as I (shout-out to our Canadian brothers and sisters!),
Maple syrup is one of those treats that is so delightfully sweet, so distinguished in flavor, so romantic of history, and yet so tragically expensive.
I understand the high cost of maple syrup and don't argue with it one bit; I've visited a sugaring farm in Vermont and seen the processes involved in making maple syrup, and it is lengthy and fragile. The maple sap is mostly water, and must be boiled down to produce the thin syrup we all know and love. It takes approximately forty gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup, and the boiling process itself must be handled with caution to avoid spoiling a batch with a moment of inattention. Weather, humidity, creatures, infestations, so many factors and more are involved in the tender process of producing, procuring, and preparing maple syrup. A bottle of syrup is as complex in flavor and color, grade and uniqueness as a bottle of wine.
Sadly, it is just too expensive to keep around the house all the time in quantities we need. I had two boys over for breakfast one morning with Gary and I several days ago. I made a triple batch of pancakes (thirty) and I ate one myself. The boys ate the rest in less time than it took me to fix my plate and sit down. It took them approximately five minutes. I was flabbergasted; and we'd just gone through an entire pitcher of syrup! To keep up with their hearty appetites, I've come up with my own sugary gloss with the help of a family friend who raised twelve children and fed them with efficiency and economy, and some sweet experimentation of my own.
Imitation Maple Syrup
This syrup is, obviously, very sweet. I can't claim it has any nutritive value whatsoever. It is, however, good on pancakes, or used in recipes in place of maple syrup (when baking with it, I add extra Mapleine). If you want your syrup thicker, like high fructose corn syrup brands such as Mrs Butterworths, add more sugar or beat in a tiny bit of cornstarch.
2 cups of water
1 1/2 cups of white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 or 2 drops of Mapleine, to taste
Pour the water and sugar into a small saucepan; bring to a heat on the stove and stir continuously until the sugar melts completely. Remove from heat. Add a few drops of Mapleine to taste. Stir the flavoring completely through; store in the refrigerator.
You can make it with white sugar only, if you wish. The brown sugar will darken the color of the syrup and give it a richer flavor. You can store the syrup in any container, but it is especially pleasant to reuse the glass bottles from buying syrup. (I would not recommend reusing plastic bottles, however.)
Flipping flapjacks like Paul Bunyon,