Eight things that pair beautifully with maple syrup

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Sure, everyone’s familiar with the whole “put maple syrup on pancakes and French toast” thing. (Isn’t that why maple syrup exists?) Turns out that maple syrup’s rich, complex sweetness is really, really delicious in a whole lot of other things, too, and although you can certainly keep it on the breakfast table, you’ll probably want to break out the syrup jug at all your other meals as well. (Did we mention that it’s also full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals? There’s that too.)

Use it to give brussels sprouts a little extra something

Even if you’re not a fan of brussels sprouts normally, we think you might just change your mind when you taste them roasted with a glug of maple syrup. Roasting brings out sprouts’ natural sweetness and nuttiness, and tossing them with oil, maple syrup, salt and pepper just makes them that much more delicious. Try this recipe (add in some whole garlic cloves if you feel like it) or experiment on your own. REALLY don’t like brussels sprouts? Roast beets tossed in maple syrup instead.

Add it to a cocktail

Lots of cocktails call for simple syrup, so why not amp up the complexity by adding maple syrup instead? Maple pairs well with both rye and bourbon, making it a nice addition to an Old Fashioned or a Manhattan. You can also add it to mulled wine or hot cider spiked with rum. Feel like keeping it simple? Add a tiny dribble to single malt Scotch. It even goes well with champagne.

Make it into salad dressing

Maple stands up well to strongly flavoured, wintry greens like kale, so add it to your next homemade salad dressing to add a little interest. Maple and mustard go deliciously well together. Add a little vinegar if you like, some oil, and some salt and pepper, and you’re all set. Check out a nice recipe here.

Use it to make bacon even more awesome

If you like bacon, and you like maple syrup, then you’ll love maple-roasted bacon. (Be still our beating hearts.) These sweet, salty, bacony morsels are great with pancakes (with more maple syrup, of course) but could also be used to top salad or burgers. Or, you know, just eaten — preferably standing up in the kitchen, burning your fingers because you couldn’t wait for them to cool down.

Take salmon to the next level

It doesn’t get much more Canadian than salmon glazed with maple syrup. The syrup’s sweetness perfectly complements the salmon’s richness. Plus, and don’t tell anyone this when they’re raving about how delicious your dinner is, cooking salmon this way is dead easy. Just don’t overcook it, and your salmon will be lovely, moist and subtly sweet. Check out this recipe, which pairs maple syrup and grainy mustard.

Add it to barbecue sauce

Molasses and ketchup are the classic ingredients that add sweetness to Kansas City-style barbecue sauce, but there’s no reason you couldn’t add in some maple syrup too — just because Canada’s WAY north of traditional barbecue territory doesn’t mean we can’t have a regional barbecue sauce all our own. This recipe uses a maple chipotle barbecue sauce to add deliciousness to brisket, but the possibilities are endless.

Sweeten up sweet potatoes

As their name suggests, sweet potatoes are already sweet — but a little maple syrup jacks up that luscious sweetness to the next level. You can toss sweet potatoes with maple syrup before roasting them (add a little bourbon if you want to get really interesting), or mix together Dijon mustard and maple syrup as a dip for sweet potato fries — so much more interesting than that ubiquitous chipotle mayonnaise.

Amp up your party mix

Whether you call it nuts ‘n’ bolts, Chex mix or bits ‘n’ bites (or something completely different), party mix gets a nice warm sweetness when you add maple syrup. Of course, when you add bacon too, as this recipe does, the incredibleness just goes through the roof.

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