If I was to endure yet another unfortunate casualty between a sharp kitchen knife, while slicing shallots or plundering through an acorn squash and my own thumb, I am almost positive the shock of discovering maple syrup bleeding out onto the counter top would not startle me in the least. My consumption of maple product is surprising even upon consideration of my location. It is based upon indulgences of this kind that give reason for the medical profession to preach practice of moderation. Sooner or later the apparent takes hold of our vitals and next thing you know blood becomes sap. It is quite easy for me to get carried away when Quebec is the largest maple producer in the world, supplying 80% of the world's maple syrup.
So, what is the deal? Maple sap is boiled to make maple syrup and syrup is boiled down to make maple toffee and when the toffee is boiled down again we finally achieve what we call maple sugar.
Maple sugar, however is not just for kids. It can be used in recipes as a replacement to common white sugar. One of my most recently acquired cookbooks, L'Orée du Bois & Formidérable, features such recipes, maple crème brûlée, maple tiramisu cake and maple butter filled dates to name a luscious few. According to L'Orée du Bois,
"[Maple Sugar] is another pure product, the only ingredient being maple syrup. It has a granular texture and a light brown colour. Top your ice cream, fruit and yogourt with this pure maple product, or use it to cook glazed carrots. Sprinkle some pure maple sugar on your cappuccino!"
Mmmmm...just imagine putting a button of this sugary rapture on a scoop of vanilla ice cream or adding a fine dusting to a thin crêpe in the morning.
When reflecting upon the gifts that trees bear unto us, our contemplation may lead us to consider the marvels of oxygen or robust, ripe summer fruit. In climates that allow for cold spring nights and mild days, like Vermont, Quebec and Ontario, our thoughts are more focused on the clandestine operations which lay beneath the bark of the great maple.