Maple syrup alternatives: find the sweetest substitutes for your desserts

Maple syrup alternatives: the sweetest substitutes for your desserts.

As a chef, it is possible to run out of maple syrup just when you need it the most. This unfortunate and unexpected incident has happened to most of us. But not to worry, there are amazing substitutes for maple syrup.

There are lots of maple syrup substitutes that could still make your food or snack taste perfect. Most people out of fear or ignorance do not appreciate maple syrup alternatives. This is because they think these alternatives may alter their recipe.

Before getting to know all the substitutes for maple syrup available in your kitchen, you need to understand everything about maple syrup.

maple tree

maple tree

What is maple syrup

Maple syrup is a natural sweetener that is incorporated into different dishes. This syrup is produced from the sap of the maple tree.

During the early spring season, from late February to early March, the sap is collected from a group of maple trees called maple orchard or sugar bush.

The sap is derived by tapping a hole in the tree and collecting a sweet liquid (sap). The maple sap is then cooked to make a syrup that is sweet, rich, and flavorful.

People in Northern America and the Eastern regions of   Canada mostly use and enjoy maple syrup.

There are lots of foods that pair perfectly with maple syrup. From roasted vegetables to milk to cocktails, ice cream, coffee, bacon, and popcorn.

You could even serve pancakes or waffles as breakfast and drizzle maple syrup all over.

Maple syrup is an important/key ingredient in most maple desserts like maple soufflé, maple syrup pudding, and maple-bacon walnut pie. It is also used in making sweet dishes and sauces.

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Varieties of maple syrup

There are varieties of maple syrup produced and marketed all over the globe. The reason for this variety is because of its color and the age of collected sap. After classification, it is graded accordingly and then marketed.

For instance, maple syrup will be darker if it is collected late in the sugaring season. The varieties of maple syrup and their grading are below:

  • Grade A golden maple syrup

This maple syrup is lighter in color, has a mild flavor, and is suitable for desserts like ice cream and yogurt or breakfast like oatmeal, pancakes, and waffles.

This syrup is produced during the beginning of the sugaring season.

  • Grade B Amber Maple Syrup

This maple syrup is rich in flavor and is processed in the middle of the sugaring season. It is best suitable for traditional uses and can be incorporated into breakfasts like pancakes and oatmeal. It can also be used in glazed or baked dishes and can be drizzled into tea, coffee, or cocktails.

  • Grade A Dark Maple Syrup

It is dark in color and has a very strong and deeper flavor, compared to other variants. The grade A dark maple syrup is preferably used to cook dishes.

  • Processing Grade Maple Syrup

This syrup does not meet the requirements for Grade A. it can only be used to manufacture other products. The processing grade is basically used as a commercial food ingredient.

It is dark in color and has a rich or robust flavor. Usually, it is produced late in the sugaring season.

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Health benefits of maple syrup

Although maple syrup is sweet and made of sugar, it is a healthy and natural sweetener just like honey and molasses.

Maple syrup is more nutritious and sweeter than refined sugar as it contains zinc, magnesium, manganese, calcium, and potassium. The 8 benefits of maple syrup are listed below:

  • Maple syrup is amazing for men’s health. It assists their reproductive health and aids the production of sex hormones.
  • It helps to boost energy in men and women, thanks to its rich manganese content.
  • Maple syrup protects and promotes cardiovascular health.
  • This natural sweetener has the ability to regulate blood sugar level and keep it in control.
  • Maple syrup contains up to 56 vital antioxidants that deliver numerous benefits to the body.
  • Maple syrup supports metabolism and also nerve function.
  • This syrup is an amazing alternative to sugar for improved digestion.
  • Although maple syrup is sweet, it has a low glycemic index which is perfect for health.

Nutrition facts of maple syrup

Maple syrup is mostly drizzled on pancakes, ice cream, oatmeal, waffles, and so many desserts. But, present in the maple syrup is numerous nutrients that are healthy for your body.

Let us explore all the nutrients available in this sweet liquid.

A tablespoon (20 gram) of maple syrup contains:

  • 52 calories
  • 1 g (0.2%) calories from fat
  • 0 gram (g) saturated fat
  • 4 milligram (mg) sodium
  • 2 mg magnesium
  • 1 g fructose
  • 4 g net carbs
  • 1 g sugar
  • 3 g glucose
  • 4 g carbohydrates
  • 7 g sucrose
  • 4 mg calcium
  • 0 mg caffeine
  • 2 mg calcium
  • 4 mg phosphorous
  • 3 mg zinc
  • Fatty acids
  • 5 g water
  • 3 mg choline
  • Amino acids

Uses of maple syrup

Maple syrup can be incorporated into lots of dishes. Most times, it is used as a preferable topping for waffles, pancakes, and ice cream. But, it can also be used in the dishes below:

  • Pumpkin soups
  • Mousse
  • Barbecue sauce
  • Bread pudding
  • Roasted vegetables
  • Maple and mustard glazed salmon recipe
  • Blueberry maple breakfast bake
  • Maple cinnamon applesauce
  • Olive oil and maple granola
  • Snacks mix
  • Maple syrup-soaked doughnut holes

Is maple syrup vegan?

Yes, maple syrup is 100% vegan.  But, commercial maple syrup may contain some artificial flavors and some ingredients that are not vegan.

Most maple syrup-producing companies do not include these non-vegan ingredients on their product labels. Nevertheless, the collection and natural processing of maple syrup is vegan since it is derived from a maple tree, boiled, and de-foamed.

Cooking with maple syrup

You are probably wondering how you can prepare dishes with maple syrup. Well, using maple syrup in your dish doesn’t require much preparation, just a few drizzles.

You may decide to use the maple syrup as a dressing for salad or a topping for any of your desserts (pancakes, beverages, yogurt, waffles). Plus, it is also a perfect addition to whipped cream, sour cream, or frosting.

If you are preparing a dish that requires maple syrup, just boil or cook maple syrup with the rest of the ingredients in your pan.

For baked items, just add the required quantity of maple syrup to the batter or dough. If you add this syrup to butter, it becomes maple cream and can be used in simmered barbecue sauce as a sweetener.

Most recipes usually indicate the grade of maple syrup suitable for the dish you are making. So, just add it accordingly.

Where can I buy maple syrup?

Maple syrup is sold in grocery stores but if you search properly, you can also find packaged real maple syrups. Most online stores also sell maple syrup.

You could buy maple syrup but buying pure maple syrup is better. It is usually on the products’ label. Pure maple syrup is more expensive and contains no vegan ingredients.

Maple syrup is packaged and sold in plastic jugs or bottles. It is also available in different quantities such as pints, quarts, ounces, and gallons.

How is maple syrup stored?

You can store maple syrup in a cool and dark place for as long as two years in an airtight container. If it is opened, it can be stored in the refrigerator for a duration of one year.

Pure maple syrup can be easily stored in the refrigerator. And although it does not freeze as solid, it could attract harmful toxins if not stored properly or for too long.

If you want to make use of the syrup, you can bring it to room temperature by warming it in a microwave. A half-cup of maple syrup can be heated for up to 30 to 60 seconds. But if it is colder, it may take a while.

Maple syrup substitutes

Most people prefer maple syrup because of its rich flavor and color. But if it is unavailable, you can use other ingredients that have similar flavor and color. The following list below are substitutes for maple syrup.

  1. Honey

The first on the list is honey. Honey is the best substitute for maple syrup, especially for pancakes.

Its consistency, rich and sweet flavor, and brown color are similar to that of maple syrup.

You wouldn’t regret using honey as a replacement ingredient while baking or as a topping for pancakes.

  1. Brown Sugar Syrup

Brown sugar syrup is another great substitute for maple syrup that is really quick and easy to make.

To make brown sugar syrup, simply add brown sugar in a quarter cup of water and add a half teaspoon of vanilla extract (flavor).

Heat the mixture on medium flame and keep stirring till the brown sugar is completely dissolved. Do not allow it to simmer as it could alter its texture, taste, and flavor.

  1. Molasses

Molasses is a good replacement for maple syrup. Just like brown sugar syrup, molasses has a brown color and a sweet flavor.

You could decide to use it as a flavoring agent to replace maple syrup since it has a sweet and caramel flavor.

If maple syrup is your go-to sweetener just because of its color, then molasses is extremely dark brown in color and may not be the perfect substitute for maple syrup. But, if you love using maple syrup because of its taste, molasses is a perfect alternative for maple syrup.

  1. Corn Syrup

Corn syrup is an inexpensive alternative to maple syrup. But, it lacks sweetness and is totally colorless. Corn syrup is easily available in the market. Both its texture and that of maple syrup are the same. Therefore, it is a perfect maple syrup alternative.

How to make a maple syrup substitute at home?

The substitutes of maple syrup are healthy sweeteners but, they may lack the intense flavors required for your recipe.

Below, is a simple syrup for a maple syrup substitute that you can quickly make at home.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of white sugar
  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of butter
  • A cup of water
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

You can double the recipe if you want to make a large quantity.

Steps

  • In a saucepan, caramelize the white sugar
  • Boil water in a separate saucepan.
  • Add brown sugar to the boiled water and stir till the sugar is completely dissolved.
  • Add the caramelized sugar to the melted brown sugar and stir thoroughly.
  • Pour the butter and vanilla extract to the mixture to improve its sweetness. Stir thoroughly till a thick texture and desired consistency is achieved.
  • Allow the mixture cool till it gets to room temperature.

Conclusion

The maple syrup substitutes in this article pair perfectly with pancakes, waffles, and other desserts. If you run out of maple syrup, you could try these 4 maple syrup substitutes.