If you’ve never been to New England, trust us, there is literally maple syrup everywhere. It boils up from the ground, it comes out of every faucet, and it rains down from the skies and slickens the roads. Alright, maybe this is a bit of an exaggeration, but with almost three million gallons of the sticky stuff produced in the Northeast every year (41 percent from Vermont alone), it’s no secret that consuming maple syrup is a way of life in New England.
This doesn’t just mean pancakes, waffles, and French toast are served at every meal though, as locals have found an endless amount of crafty ways to work syrup into a variety of foods. If you live in New England, none of these dishes should come as surprises, but for outsiders, prepare to be educated.
Just to be safe, you might want to put on your Bean Boots and start dropping your R’s now.
Boston Baked Beans
Baked beans usually contain five ingredients: beans, molasses, brown sugar, salt, and dried mustard. Usually bacon is added, and often maple syrup too. As an easy rule, just split the molasses portion evenly between the maple syrup and molasses, and you should have a delicious version of a Boston staple, which pairs perfectly with the following food…
Essentially, brown bread is a name given to breads containing high amounts of whole grain flower, usually wheat, that use dark-colored ingredients like molasses as sweeteners. In New England, maple syrup is often used instead, and the flour can be a mixture of cornmeal, rye, whole wheat, and/or graham flour. A “Boston brown bread” or “New England brown bread” loaf will sometimes be cylindrical in shape, as it is popular to steam the bread inside tin coffee cans.
Yes, the same Grape-Nuts that come from a cereal box can be used to make a tasty pudding too. Although not aesthetically-pleasing, the all-day treat features a crust made of milk-soaked Grape-Nuts that’s topped with a thick layer of creamy custard. The idea may sound odd at first, but Grape-Nuts are so popular in New England that you’ll often find them in breads and even sprinkled on top of ice cream!
Boasting a crumbly-yet-creamy texture, this dessert staple makes waiting for maple season all the more difficult each year. As for preparation, the candy is made by continuing to heat maple sap beyond the syrup stage until it becomes crystalline, when it is whipped and poured into decorative molds to harden, and eventually be enjoyed.