Infused Maple Syrup
One of my favorite memories from childhood is of making pancakes with my mom on Sundays. My mother is a self-proclaimed "bad cook". But I don't know what she's talking about. She had five or six pretty solid go-to dishes when we were young, and was the queen of banana and zucchini bread. And her chocolate chip cookies...just yum!
But I digress. Her Sunday morning pancakes were (and still are) the best. None of the fluffy buttermilk pancakes that came from a mix for our household. We had those thin, decadently eggy, Swedish pancakes. It was straight out of the Better Homes Cookbook. Sometimes we would have bacon or breakfast sausage, but we always had Funks Grove Maple Syrup. And I would drench anything on my plate with it. That sticky amber goodness that had a woody depth to it's sweetness. I savored each little (or big) bite, and when the pancakes were gone, and my plate licked clean, I would eagerly await the next week.
One year, we even took a trip to visit Funks Grove. I don't remember a whole lot from that visit. But I do remember walking through a forrest of statuesque Maple trees, a blanket of orange and brown leaves beneath my feet. It was a beautiful quiet sanctuary. I felt humbled, and comforted, and calm. I don't know if I developed a new appreciation for the sticky goodness that washed down my Sunday pancakes at the time, but I surely do now.
It's been 20 years since I've lived close enough to home for Sunday pancakes with my family. But Mom made sure I had a Better Homes Cookbook of my own (which I still have and reference to this day), and a seemingly endless supply of Funks Grove Maple Syrup. She sends me a jug on my birthday, and one for Christmas, and one for Halloween, and St. Patrick's Day, and....well, you get the picture.
Nowadays, I use my maple syrup more for making chocolate than pancakes. And one of the ways I like to incorporate more aromatic herbs into the chocolates is by infusing them into the syrup. By all means, use your infused syrup on pancakes too. I tried a Tulsi and Rose infusion recently. Good gracious, were those the most delicious pancakes!
When choosing your herbs, be sure that they are completely dry. Any moisture will result in mold. Also aromatic herbs work best: Tulsi, Lavender, Rose, and Rosemary are some of my favorites. Get creative and try some single notes, or maybe a blend of your favorites.
And there's no need to feel guilty about it. Maple Syrup is surprisingly good for you. It is lower on the glycemic index than honey and refined sugar. It is also full of essential minerals like Magnesium, Zinc, Calcium, and Iron. Plus it is an excellent source of antioxidants, and has anti-inflammatory qualities too.
Infused Maple Syrup
dried (chopped or whole) herbs
1. place herbs in a jar. For easier straining, place the herbs in a reusable teabag. The amount of herb is up to you. The more you put in, the stronger the outcome. Some of my favorites include lavender, rosemary, rose, damiana, and echinacea.
2. pour maple syrup over the herbs, making sure that there is enough to cover them. Your herbs will probably be partially floating. Don't worry. Place a piece of wax paper over the opening of the jar before sealing it.
3. turn or shake your jar every day or so to insure the most coverage.
4. wait at least 5 days to strain, and enjoy!
*I will often reuse the same herbs 2-3 times over. You will be amazed at the flavor you can get from one batch of herbs.