Maple sugar recipes are in season now

At this time of year when the sap is beginning to run, we think more about maple syrup and some of the sweet ways to serve it.

It goes without saying that Sunday morning wouldn't be complete without hot pancakes or waffles and maple syrup. But these recipes from the Maple Valley Sugar Farmers of Williamsville, Vermont will give you more ways to enjoy this natural sweetener.

When cooking with maple syrup, the Maple Valley Sugar Farmers say that for most recipes, maple syrup may be used by substituting 3/4 cup of syrup for 1 cup of refined white sugar.

In baking you would use the same proportions, but reduce the other liquid called for in the recipe by about 3 tablespoons for every cup of syrup substituted.

Although it is often stored, covered, at room temperature, after it is opened it must be stored in the refrigerator. Should the syrup crystallize, set the jar in hot water and it will quickly become smooth and liquid again. Maple Baked Beans 2 cups navy beans 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 pound salt pork, in small cubes 1/2 cup maple syrup 1/4 cup cider vinegar 1 teaspoon dry mustard 1 teaspoon ginger 1 cup hot water

Soak beans overnight. Drain and cover with fresh water. Add soda, bring to boil. Simmer 10 minutes. Drain and rinse. Turn beans into pot, stir in remaining ingredients and bake, covered, for 6 hours at 275 degrees F.

Maple Ice Cream

3 eggs, separated

13/4 cup maple syrup

3 cups heavy cream

11/2 teaspoons vanilla

Beat yolks. Beat in maple syrup, then the cream and vanilla. Freeze mixture until nearly firm. Beat egg whites until firm and whisk into frozen mixture. Freeze again. After an hour, whisk again, then freeze until firm.

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