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Monday, January 27, 2020

Maple Sugar & Maple Syrup Review: Mohawk Valley Trading Company

My wife jokes that she has maple syrup flowing thru her veins. Give her a bottle of maple syrup and she'll have recipes for at least a hundred different items ready and waiting for you to try out, many of which we've already tried . I recently received some maple syrup and maple sugar from Mohawk Valley Trading Co. of Utica, New York to try out and she was in heaven.

As you may notice from the bottle above, their syrup is darker than your typical maple syrup. This makes it perfect for baking and cooking, as the flavor is less delicate and more robust. Dark, Robust Maple Syrup (formerly called Grade B Maple Syrup) from the Mohawk Valley Trading Company comes in glass bottles and is made primarily from sugar maple sap, which is preferred for maple syrup production because it has an average sugar content of two percent. Sap from other maple species is usually lower in sugar content, and about twice as much is needed to produce the same amount of finished syrup.
The first thing made were maple shortbread cookies. This involved both the syrup and the pure maple sugar.  Maple Sugar is made from the controlled crystallization of maple syrup and takes several forms. While maple sugar is hardly a health food it is better than most of the alternatives as it contains more trace minerals (including manganese, zinc and copper) and antioxidants than cane sugar. Cane sugar is refined from sugarcane, a tropical grass. Sugarcane refining includes several chemical processes to remove impurities and to increase the sucrose content. The sugarcane industry has a larger impact on the environment due to fertilizer run off, pesticide applications, and refinery emissions.

Since we don't (yet) have a shortbread cookie pan, there were no patterns on the cookies, but that didn't detract from the flavor. These didn't last long, especially once our son got home.
40° F weather didn't stop us from trying out the maple syrup and sugar in the next recipe, Maple- And Molasses-Glazed Baby Back Ribs. Two racks were done with the glaze while a third was done with just the rub. While we use our smoker a lot, this was the first time with this recipe, and it certainly won't be the last. We've tried out other recipes from Steven Raichlen in the past and this one certainly didn't disappoint. The maple flavoring was still distinctive, even given the other  recipe components. The racks with the glaze definitely had the stronger maple flavoring of the two, but neither disappointed. And the three racks lasted a couple days with just three in the household. 
Since we weren't in a diabetic coma just yet, it was time for more maple cookies the next night. This time just your basic chewy maple cookie. Of the two cookies, these definitely had the stronger maple flavoring, even without the maple sugar that the first one had. The shortening instead of butter probably was the reason for that. The cookies did spread a little bigger than expected. If you try out the recipe, my wife suggested adding some more flour or perhaps refrigerating the dough longer to make the dough easier to work with.
While I think we're taking Monday off from another maple syrup/sugar based recipe, there are plenty more to try out/make again, and we will. The maple sugar and syrup from Mohawk Valley Trading has held up quite well to the tests so far. While it might sound like we'll be running out of maple syrup soon, each recipe only calls for at most a half cup, and more likely just a couple tea or table spoonfuls. The maple sugar, on the hand, is apt to go more quickly.  And, if we ever have too much, there is always the Maple Syrup Diet for a deep cleansing.

The Maple Syrup Diet (also known as the Master Cleanse or Lemonade Diet) is a popular modern use for maple syrup. It was created in the 1940’s by the late naturopath Stanley Burroughs. Burroughs claimed to be a holistic healer and published a pamphlet titled “The Master Cleanser” detailing a 10 day detoxification program. It was originally intended to cleanse the body, especially the colon, of retained matter and toxins.

Our household tended to favor maple syrup from Vermont. After trying out several recipes with syrup and sugar from Mohawk Valley Trading Co., I don't think we're as biased any more, especially for baking. Their robust maple flavor certainly seem to make the baked goods have a more distinctive maple flavoring in the end product. To be sure, we'll be running some more tests, too.

Disclosure: I received the above mentioned product for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received. All opinions stated are my own and may differ from yours. See my disclosure policy for more information.

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