Make it with Maple

courtesy Family Features

There are few gastronomic delights that say, “cold weather comfort” like maple syrup. The sweet, caramelized flavor pairs well with other winter staples. From spiced syrups to delicious dips, McCormick Executive Chef Kevan Vetter has an arsenal of tasty tips for incorporating maple into daily dishes.

• Maple syrup is a perfect complement to sweet banana pancakes. Mix mashed bananas into the pancake batter. Once cooked, top with sliced bananas, chopped walnuts and maple syrup.

• Add maple syrup to a melty grilled cheese sandwich. Layer cheddar cheese, bacon, sliced apples and maple syrup mixed with apple pie spice between two slices of buttered bread.

• For a twist on a traditional appetizer, drizzle maple syrup over a cheddar bacon dip.

• For a sweet treat, mix vanilla extract and pumpkin pie spice into maple syrup then drizzle over a coconut pumpkin bread pudding.

Maple Banana Bread Pancakes

Makes 3 servings

2 large ripe bananas
2 eggs
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 tablespoon McCormick Maple Extract
2 teaspoons McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract
1 teaspoon McCormick Ground Cinnamon
3/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder

Heat a lightly-greased skillet to medium heat. In a large bowl, use potato masher to mash bananas. Add eggs, brown sugar, butter, maple extract, vanilla and cinnamon; mix well. Add flour and baking powder; mix until blended.

Pour 1/4 cup of batter per pancake onto the skillet. Cook 1-2 minutes per side or until golden brown, turning when pancakes begin to bubble.

Maple Apple Grilled Cheese

Makes 4 servings

1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon McCormick Apple Pie Spice
3 tablespoons butter
8 slices whole-wheat bread
8 slices sharp cheddar cheese (1-ounce slices)
1 medium Golden Delicious apple, cored and cut into 16 thin slices
4slices cooked bacon, coarsely chopped

Mix maple syrup and apple pie spice. Set aside.

Butter both sides of each bread slice. Layer 2 slices of cheese and 4 slices of apple on each bread slice with buttered side down. Sprinkle with chopped bacon then drizzle with maple syrup mixture. Top with remaining bread slices with buttered side up.

Place sandwiches in large skillet or griddle on medium-low heat. Cook 3-4 minutes per side or until bread is browned and cheese is melted. Cook in batches, if necessary.

Coconut Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Spiced Maple Syrup

Makes 16 servings

Bread Pudding:

2 cans Thai Kitchen coconut milk
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 tablespoon McCormick Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 tablespoon McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract
8 cups cubed challah bread (or cubed French or Italian bread)
1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup chopped pecans

Spiced Maple Syrup:

1 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract
1/4 teaspoon McCormick Pumpkin Pie Spice

Heat oven to 350 F. To make Bread Pudding: Pour coconut milk into large bowl. Stir with wire whisk until smooth. Add eggs, sugar, pumpkin, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice; mix until well blended. Add bread cubes; toss to coat well.

Pour into greased 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Let stand 10 minutes. Sprinkle evenly with coconut and pecans. Bake 35-40 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool slightly on wire rack.

To make Spiced Maple Syrup: Mix syrup, vanilla extract and pumpkin pie spice in microwavable bowl or measuring cup. Microwave on high 1 minute, or until warm, stirring once. Serve with bread pudding.

Maple Bacon Dip

Makes 16 servings

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup milk
8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 package McCormick Original Country Gravy Mix
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
1/3 cup chopped red apple
2 tablespoons maple syrup

Heat oven to 350 F. In large bowl, mix cream cheese, mayonnaise, milk, bacon, gravy mix and 1 cup cheese until well blended.

Spray 9-inch glass pie plate with nonstick cooking spray. Spread mixture in plate and top with apple and remaining cheese.

Bake 25 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted. Drizzle with syrup.


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