Maple syrup is fascinating! Did you know that maple trees are tapped mid to late winter to get maple water which is cooked down to make the syrup that we all love? At this time of year, it is still cold at night but warm enough during the day for the tree to “wake up” – the sap isn’t frozen and travels up and down the trunk. It takes about 40 gallons of sap to make just 1 gallon of syrup.
You can check out these videos to learn how to tap a maple tree, and of course show the kids, it is really fun to watch.
Maple water (or sap) became a thing a couple of years ago, it is mildly sweet and rich in mineral and vitamins. If you don’t do your own tapping it’s a fun project to purchase some maple water and try to cook it down in your own kitchen to see how long it takes to get the golden syrup we all take for granted (or how little it actually makes!)
Of course we all love eating our pancakes and waffles with maple syrup, but you can also use the syrup to sweeten anything from baked goods, glaze some chicken or drizzle over some yogurt.
This time, I wanted to share a super quick recipe I modified from the cookbook “Oh She Glows Everyday” by Angela Liddon. I love this recipe because it is surprisingly easy, you can nibble and taste almost all the ingredients as you are making it, and when it’s ready you can have it by itself, over yogurt or ice cream too! Most importantly, for our purposes, it really celebrates maple, and its special flavor.
A great book to read with this lesson is Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf, by Lois Ehlert.
Maple Cinnamon Coconut Chips
2 cups unsweetened large coconut flakes
4 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon.
Pinch of salt
Pre heat oven to 300 degrees. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Place all of the ingredients on the cookie sheet. Mix well using a large spoon or your hands until well combined. The coconut chips need to fully be covered with maple and cinnamon.
Spread the mixture onto the sheet.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, until crisp. If you want your chips to be extra crispy, with a bit of a roasted flavor keep in the oven for another 5-7 minutes. Keep a close eye on them, as you do not want then to burn.
Let cool. Store in an airtight container, my chips usually don’t reach this stage….