This week I have the honour of co-hosting the Novice Gardener’s 10th Fiesta Friday along with Julianna of Foodie On Board. This means that I will be an official rep of the party and will mingle with all the guests. For those of you who are not familiar with this weekly event, it is an opportunity for bloggers to come together at a virtual party and bring their recipes, crafts or fun ideas to share with each other. In the ten weeks since it began, I have made new friends in the blogging world, discovered some great ideas and recipes, and just generally enjoyed the up-beat atmosphere of this get-together. For those of you who are blogging and have not yet participated, you are cordially invited to join in the fun. Besides meeting a dynamic group of bloggers, you will benefit from a considerable increase in exposure and number of views, something every blogger can appreciate. The guidelines here will explain how easy it is to participate. My thanks to Angie, The Novice Gardener, for her inimitable hospitality. Pay her a visit and you’ll see what I mean.
For this Fiesta Friday, I bring recipes with my own home-made, home-grown maple syrup. I have just boiled down our fourth batch of maple syrup from our two sugar maple trees in the front garden. Who knew that all this delicious sweetness was there just for the taking? Each batch takes about two hours of cooking on our propane burner outdoors, and another hour or so on a gentle heat indoors to get it to the right heat (219 degrees F. if you have a thermometer). I’m not using a thermometer, and just guessing when it is ready, but so far the batches have been quite consistent.
Each batch gets a little darker, and eventually the sap will begin to be coloured when it runs, which means it’s time to stop. That will be a bit of a relief in itself – there will be other things to forage by then. Meanwhile, I have a good supply of syrup to do some experimenting in the kitchen, and this week I came up with a couple of cookie recipes.
The first was inspired by a recipe for walnut cookies I made last week from Fae’s Twist and Tango’s Naw Ruz roundup. With the extra liquid from the syrup, I had to add some sort of flour, so chose buckwheat because I love the flavour and texture of it when baking.
Maple Walnut Cookies
4 egg yolks
3/4 cup maple syrup
2 cups ground walnuts
1 cup buckwheat flour
Beat the egg yolks in a bowl. Add the maple syrup, walnuts and flour and stir to combine. Spoon onto a baking sheet, press down flat with the back of a wet spoon and decorate with walnut pieces. Bake at 350 F for about 20 minutes.
These are chewy, and not very sweet, although sweet enough that the taste of maple comes through.
Then I had four egg whites to use, so I went for a sort of macaron style cookie, which I wanted to sweeten with a maple walnut marzipan filling. I made the recipe from Buckwheat for your health which was the inspiration for this dish for New Year, and as a macaroon, it turned out beautifully following the recipe to the letter. However this time, with 4 egg whites, I had to do some difficult math. The result was not as elegant as the original recipe, but am posting it anyway, because it was considered a delicious cookie even if it was not exactly as I intended. And you can always follow the original recipe if you want something more resembling a macaron. I was particularly pleased with the filling, and will no doubt find many more ways to incorporate it into desserts and baking.
Maple Walnut Sandwich
4 egg whites
1 cup buckwheat flour
1 cup icing sugar
Beat the egg whites until stiff. Combine the flour and sugar. Gently fold in the egg whites. Spoon onto a baking sheet, and flatten with the back of a wet spoon, as this batter does not spread out much.
Bake at 300 F for 10 minutes. When cool, sandwich two together with some maple walnut marzipan between them.
To make the marzipan, simply grind some walnuts very fine in a food processor, until at least part of them becomes pasty. Add maple syrup while still processing until you reach the consistency of thick honey. How much syrup you add will depend on how sweet and how soft you want it. However you do it, it is delicious. I think even better than fresh home-made marzipan.