I think I’ve done a pretty good job at keeping the sugar crazies at bay. Up until now. I’ve had little tastes of sweet things here and there but overall I’ve congratulated myself for a job well done. But old habits die hard and despite my best intentions, I caved and created a sweet condiment for today’s Meatless Monday post. In all fairness, my recipe for maple coffee popcorn drizzle doesn’t use any sugar — just pure maple syrup.
Let’s talk about maple syrup. Here in Cleveland, Ohio, we’re getting ready for maple syrup season — otherwise known as maple sugaring season. Beginning in February, maple trees will be tapped, sap will be collected and eventually the sap will be boiled down to the sweet maple syrup many of us use to top pancakes and waffles. Some may wonder, “does maple syrup go bad?” I don’t think it can with such a high sugar content, but I’m not 100% sure. Either way, pretty soon northeast Ohioans will flock to area high schools, fire stations, and villages to join in the maple sugaring festivities at the many area pancake breakfasts.
But what is it about pure maple syrup that sets it apart from other sugars?
There are different “grades” of maple syrup, and they range from Grade A fancy (lightest in color) to Grade B (very dark like molasses). The flavors of the grades vary slightly but the colors are attributed to the time of maple sugaring season they are harvested from the trees. The first tap of the trees generally produces the lightest color syrup and the darkest is at the end of sugaring season.
Pure maple syrup is never refined. In fact, pure maple syrup contains many beneficial minerals. Calcium, potassium, iron, zinc, and manganese are all found in maple syrup. Additionally, maple syrup has many antioxidants which are generally good for health — the darker the syrup, the more antioxidants it contains. Having said that, however, maple syrup is still very high in sugar and though delicious, should be consumed in very small amounts. It has a lower glycemic index than refined sugar so if deciding between refined sugar and pure maple syrup, syrup is the obvious choice.
In honor of the upcoming sugaring season here in northeast Ohio I thought I’d share with you an amazing, easy recipe for maple coffee popcorn drizzle. Using only the purest of Ohio maple syrups, I created this recipe to lightly sweeten a traditionally salty snack. It can also be used in smoothies, as a Greek yogurt mix-in, as well as with granola or as a dessert topping. It’s versatile, delicious, and has just enough sweet to satiate even the wildest of sweet teeth. 😉 Every time I eat it, however, I feel like I should pay a visit to my Dentist Endicott due to just how sugary these things are; they can’t be good for my teeth but everything in moderation, as they say!
Maple Coffee Popcorn Drizzle
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 1/4 C Grade A medium amber maple syrup
- 2 Tbsp half and half
- 2 Tbsp brewed coffee
- 1 Tbsp flour
- 1/4 C corn kernels (for air popped popcorn)
- fine-grain sea salt, to taste
In a small saucepan, heat butter and syrup over medium heat. Bring to a boil, whisking occasionally. Add half and half, bring back to a boil and stir frequently. Stir in coffee. Whisk for 2-3 minutes until well combined. Add flour, a teaspoon at a time, to thicken the mixture. Once it has thickened to desired consistency, remove from heat. Pop corn according to air popper instructions. Drizzle warm maple coffee syrup over top of air-popped popcorn. Sprinkle with fine-grain sea salt.
Can be stored in an airtight container for one week in the refrigerator. Reheat before drizzling on popcorn.
Disclaimer: Please remember to consume as little sugar as possible. It’s not good for our bodies. And although pure maple syrup isn’t refined and does have antioxidants and some minerals that are good for our bodies, it’s still a form of sugar. Use sparingly.
I hope you enjoy this tasty sweet snack. And you don’t have to wait for maple syrup season to enjoy it — you can serve it up for your sweetie on Valentine’s Day!
Not into sugar? Check out last week’s recipe for Heart Healthy Valentine’s Day Pancakes!
Have a wonderful day and Happy Valentine’s Day to those that celebrate!
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Do you live in an area with easy access to pure maple syrup?
Have you been to a maple sugaring festival or pancake breakfast?