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Not just for breakfast anymore: New cookbook taps versatility of a natural sweetener

maple syrup

By Joe Milliken | Special to the Vermont Guardian

posted October 20, 2006

Maple sugaring has been an early spring tradition in Vermont for generations, and pure Vermont maple syrup has become known throughout the food world as the “official flavor of Vermont.” In fact, the Green Mountain State produces more than 500,000 gallons of maple syrup per year, more than any other state in the union.

But contrary to what you might think, maple syrup isn’t just for pancakes and waffles at the breakfast table. Maple syrup is a perfect, and all too often overlooked, natural ingredient for a wide array of recipes.

So it only seems fitting that a cookbook concentrating on the many ways to utilize the natural sweetener, aptly titled The Vermont Maple Cookbook, would be presented by the Vermont Maple Foundation (VMF) with help from the Vermont Maple Sugar Makers’ Association (VMSMA).

“The original idea for the cookbook came out of an effort to promote the use of more pure maple syrup in food preparation,” said Jacques Couture, VMF’s president.

The VMF and VMSMA are non-profit entities which promote and protect the Vermont maple syrup brand, and work on its behalf with state officials and other appropriate organizations. The foundations also educate the public about not only the production of maple syrup and its importance to the economy, but also the overall working landscape of Vermont.

“This is the third edition of the book, with the first two editions published in the mid-80s and then in 1999,” Couture said. “The new book is completely revised with all new recipes, which are all relatively simple and encourage the use of pure Vermont maple syrup. Of course, the real message of the cookbook is to get the word out that maple syrup isn’t only to put on pancakes!”

The VMSMA, founded in 1893 and recognized as the oldest known agricultural organization in the country, is another non-profit that safeguards the state’s tradition of maple sugar making and the production of maple products.

Rick Marsh has been the VMSMA president for the past year, after serving as the organization’s vice president for five. Marsh has also served as Lamoille County’s sugar making representative for 11 years, and is a current member of VMF’s board of directors.

“We are always looking for ways to promote the Vermont brand of maple syrup all over the world, and one of the ways was the creating of this cookbook,” Marsh said.

“Three of our members, Marcia Maynard, Sam Cutting IV, and Catherine Stevens, volunteered to take this project on and have done a great job with it. The book is made up of new and delicious recipes for everyone to enjoy,” Marsh added.

The new edition of the cookbook unveils a wide variety of uses for pure maple syrup, including 76 mouth-watering recipes within several categories, collected from several sources.

“We collected over 200 maple recipes from many different sources throughout Vermont,” said Catherine Stevens, VMA’s marketing director and a board member. “We sent out e-mail requests to members of different maple-related organizations and businesses, and also spread the word by attending several maple-related events and functions such as the Maple Festival and the annual Vermont Maple Harvest.”

The VMSMA also included recipes from various Vermont chefs by tapping into the More Maple Magic cooking show, which recently aired on Vermont Public Television. “We wanted to offer not only the old-fashioned, family recipes that are passed down through generations, but also include contemporary recipes from a few of the many great chefs and maple producers throughout the state,” Stevens added.

“It was very difficult sorting through all the wonderful recipes we received, and picking out which ones to include in the cookbook,” she said. “Which, in fact, are all completely new and different recipes from the first two editions of the book. We are very proud of the final result and look forward to the positive response we know it will receive.”

The third edition of The Vermont Maple Cookbook ($2.50) is available at participating sugarhouses and various maple product-related businesses throughout Vermont. You can also order the book through the VMA website at or by calling VMSMA Treasurer Mary Croft at 763-7435.

Maple teriyaki salmon

Recipe courtesy of Catherine Stevens (Jericho)

1/3 cup apple juice
1/3 cup pure Vermont maple syrup
3 Tbs soy sauce
2 Tbs finely chopped onion
1-2 minced garlic cloves
4 salmon fillets

In a bowl combine the first five ingredients; remove 1/2 cup for basting (cover and refrigerate). Pour remaining marinade into a large sealable plastic bag. Add salmon to bag and seal it, then turn to coat both sides. Refrigerate for 1-3 hours. Drain and discard marinade. Broil salmon 4 inches from heat for 5 minutes. Baste with reserved marinade and broil 10 minutes longer or until fish flakes easily with a fork, basting frequently.

Seared sea scallops in a smoked bacon and maple cream sauce

Recipe courtesy of Aline Bouchard (Franklin)

2 oz. vegetable oil
1 lb. sea scallops
1/4 lb. bacon, diced and rendered
3 oz. maple syrup
3 oz. heavy cream
salt and pepper

Heat pan with oil in it. Place scallops in pan and brown on both sides. Drain off oil. Add bacon and syrup, and cook about 1 minute. Add cream, and cook about another minute. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately with rice or pasta, although my favorite is with a nice risotto.

Crucifer salad with maple syrup dressing

Recipe courtesy of Jim and Josie Ameden (Landgrove)

8-10 cups of your choice of crucifer(s) (broccoli,
cauliflower, cabbages, etc.)
1 cup raisins (optional)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
3/4 cup chopped red onion (optional)
1/2 cup dried cranberries (optional)
1/2 cup diced sun-dried tomatoes (optional)
1/2 cup cooked and chopped bacon (optional)
1/2 cup chopped apple (optional)


1/4 cup maple syrup
1 cup your choice of mayonnaise or salad dressing
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

Wash and then chop in bite size pieces the crucifer(s) you desire. Add the remaining ingredients. If you do not like certain ingredients, leave them out. If you like certain ones, add more of them. What is in the salad is preferential. Add the dressing one hour before serving. You can always make more dressing and use it at a later time.