Even if scientists discovered that maple syrup caused cancer or Parkinson’s disease, I would have a very hard time giving it up, so I am predisposed to like anything called “Maple Syrup Cookbook.” And like it I did. Author Ken Haedrich lived in and wrote about food from New Hampshire for many years – he produced the first edition of this book from there in 1985. (These days he lives in South Carolina.)

Although “Maple Syrup Cookbook” has plenty of photographs – just about mandatory in cookbooks these days – it is not a sumptuous book. Neither the design, the font, the paper, nor the price ($14.95) feel expensive. Which is fine. I want this book to live in my kitchen, not on my coffee table.

Haedrich packs the book with tips, historical tidbits, maple lore and lingo, tales of sugarmakers and a brief treatise on how maple syrup has been made through time.

Perhaps Mainers imbibed all this information with their mother’s milk and don’t require it in book form. If so, stay for the recipes.

Haedrich makes a point of writing that maple syrup has uses far beyond the obvious ones – on pancakes and French toast. It is also, he tells readers, delicious in Salmon with Mango Salsa; Maple-Glazed Brussels Sprouts; and Sweet Potato and Bacon Bisque. No doubt. But for testing purposes, I found myself powerfully drawn to two chapters at the book’s start and the end – “Maple Mornings” and “Maple Sweets.”

After pooh-poohing the very idea that I needed – that anybody needed – yet another recipe for an old standby like pancakes, I tested Buttermilk Corn Cakes, as I was intrigued by Haedrich’s method of cooking the cornmeal with water before adding it to the rest of the batter. And after pooh-poohing the idea of adding molasses to the batter – after all I’d be eating the pancakes doused in maple syrup – I dutifully whisked it in as the recipe instructed.


Twenty minutes later, I ate humble pie with my pancakes. My handwritten note next to the recipe says, “These are ridiculously good!”

I also liked the Pear, Apple and Fig Crisp, which added a small dose of heavy cream with the fruit, an unusual touch. And I loved the Maple Sticky Buns, though I admit I monkeyed with the recipe to suit myself, adding a bit of wheat germ here and a dash of orange zest there.

I have my eye on many other recipes, among them Maple Cream Scones, Bacon and Egg Waffle Sandwich and French Canadian Maple Sugar Pie. Since, praise the lord, scientists have yet to discover that maple syrup causes anything but joy, I intend to be cooking and eating these all winter, and then replenish my supply of syrup when the new crop runs in the spring.



I made a few changes to the recipe, adding the zest of 1 orange to the filling, toasting the walnuts and substituting 3 tablespoons of wheat germ for the same amount of flour. Most importantly, I needed just 3/4 cup milk to form a dough, not the 1 cup called for. Blame it on differences in weather and flour?


Makes 9 buns

1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts

1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 1 tablespoon cold butter


21/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk (or less)

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Mix together the walnuts, brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, bring the maple syrup and 4 tablespoons of the butter to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 30 seconds, then scrape into a 9-inch square baking pan. Set aside.


Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Toss to mix. Cut 4 tablespoons of the butter into 1/2-inch pieces, add to the flour mixture, and cut it in until the butter is roughly the size of split peas. Make a well in the mixture and gradually add the milk. Stir gently, just until the mixture forms a damp, cohesive mass.

If the dough seems a bit wet, work in a tad more flour with the back of a wooden spoon. Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a small saucepan.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently 5 or 6 times. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into the best 9- by 12-inch rectangle you can manage; don’t worry if it isn’t perfect. Brush the surface with the melted butter.

Cover the dough evenly with the brown sugar mixture, patting it gently with your hands. Starting at the 9-inch edge, roll up the dough like a carpet, pinching at the seam to seal. Cut into 9 (1-inch) slices and lay them flat in the baking pan with the syrup. (The pan may seem too big but the buns will expand to fill it.)

Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and invert onto a large plate; do this quickly but carefully, being aware that the syrup is very hot. Oven mitts are a good precaution.

Scrape any syrupy stuff from the pan and spread over the buns.

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