I know, too much maple talk from us. I’m well aware. But seriously, how great is maple syrup and maple sugar and sugar on snow and maple sap? The sugaring season is completely over here, so maybe this is one of the last times we’ll bring it up. And this post is worth it, really. I had no idea just how dismal that cheap white granulated sugar stuff is until I looked into it. Maple sugar is a better alternative in virtually every single way.
//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.jsFirst, some honesty. I cannot deny that we have used regular white table sugar in this home. Between Amy’s baking and my, well… baking too, we can’t help but use some sugar. Brownies need it, cakes need it, heck, even some breads need it! But that’s because we’re operating on recipes optimized for that cheap white junk. What if we opened our minds and our ovens (and our coffee cups!) to a new sweetener? A sweetener that has an actual flavor of its own? A sweetener that you probably already know and love the taste of? A sweetener that you might even be able to harvest in your own back yard? Here are the key differences you need to know about when we’re talking about maple sugar compared to sugar made from sugarcane or even sugar beets:
Maple Sugar is Less Processed
Table sugar is a great example of ultra processed food. The procedure to extract the sweet juices from a sugarcane or sugar beet is complex and done completely in a factory setting. Various chemicals are used to aid in extraction, processing, and filtration. Maple sugar is minimally processed. It is made by boiling and stirring maple sap, which is easily harvested from maple trees without hurting the tree. The processing is so basic you could do it in your kitchen, no machinery or chemicals required.
Maple Sugar is Local
Speaking of your own kitchen, did you know that maple sugar and syrup are only produced in the northern USA and Canada? For many of us it essentially comes from our own back yard. On the other hand, the sugarcane and beets used for table sugar are grown and processed in countries all over the world. Manufacturers almost never share the true origins, instead just noting where it was packaged. Weird how that’s legal.
Maple sugar is more nutritious
Going back to the crazy amount of processing sugarcane and beets undergo… all traces of nutritional value are erased from the final table sugar product. Whereas maple sugar’s minimal processing actually preserves some nutrients that feed the maple tree. These nutrients are actually considered essential to human health, and include: iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, zinc, manganese, and copper.
Want to try some of our maple sugar? Ashera Fine Baking will be using and selling some of our harvest at the Tamworth Farmer’s Market on Saturdays this summer!
Bonus: Maple sugar can Salvage bad maple syrup
Oh, and for any folks out there who make their own maple syrup and found themselves with some buddy or unpleasant syrup or sap, processing maple syrup into granulated maple sugar eliminates that aroma! And, unlike maple syrup, granulated maple sugar is totally shelf stable and won’t spoil.
How do you use Granulated maple sugar?
Replace White Sugar
Because all the moisture is removed, maple sugar (unlike syrup) can be used in place of regular sugar in virtually any application, which is a great way to keep baking sweet treats without depending on lame old cane sugar. Maple sugar can be a 1:1 replacement for adding to coffee, tea, sauces, baking, etc. But hey, before you go nuts, it is worth noting that the flavor can be somewhat strong when replacing 100% of the sugar in a recipe with maple sugar. I’m talking some of the more delicate baked treats out there, like sugar cookies and white cakes. My recommendation is to start slow and replace 25-50% of the sugar in the recipe with maple sugar, and if you think you want more maple flavor, adjust to your tastes the next time you bake!
To me, maple sugar is at its absolute best when used delicately, sprinkled onto a bowl of wild blueberries or onto buttered toast. You can even sprinkle it on pancakes to keep with tradition. You’ll really enjoy the textures and flavors achieved like this, I promise.
Believe it or not, maple sugar is considered the optimal sweetener for making chocolate. It’s considered a truly “raw” sweetener, making it excellent for truly raw and vegan chocolate making.
Reconstitute into maple syrup
And hey, if you find yourself in a french toast emergency, you can even add some water and reconstitute maple sugar back into maple syrup! This makes maple sugar one of the most versatile foods ever!