Along the Grapevine


Spicy Maple Pinwheels

DSC02939The sap is running from our maple trees, the buckets are hung, and we are keeping one eye on the pot (and the other up the chimney) when boiling the sap. I am also busy using up last year’s stock which gives me lots of opportunity to experiment with new recipes, and I am trying to come up with new flavour combinations. Maple syrup is such an icon in Canadian cooking we sometimes prefer to stick with the tried and true, but I felt adventurous with this recipe. Since I discovered that hot spices are the best addition to chocolate, why not do the same with maple syrup? Sweet and spicy are a good bet for me, and to experiment I used two flavours, ginger for half the recipe and chili peppers for the other half. If you choose to go with one, then double the quantity of that spice in the filling.DSC02943

These “cookies” are made with a yeast dough – neither very sweet nor rich. I also deliberately made them not too pillowy or sticky. I used spelt flour which has a delicious nutty taste, although regular wheat flour would work too, and I kept them vegan by using coconut oil just because. I expect butter would be just as good.DSC02945

Spicy Maple Pinwheels

Ingredients for the dough

2 tsp instant yeast (or the equivalent of fresh yeast if you have it)

1 1/2 cup warm water

2 Tbsp maple syrup

4 1/2 cups flour (approximately)

1/2 cup coconut oil, softened

1 tsp salt

Ingredients for the filling

1 cup coconut oil

1 cup maple syrup

1 tsp chili pepper flakes

3 tbsp chopped candied ginger

1/2 cup granulated maple sugar (or other granulated sugar)


Dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup of the water. Add to it the 2 Tbsp of maple syrup, 1 cup of warm water and 1 cup of spelt flour. Cover with a cloth and set in a warm place until it becomes spongy, about 2 hours.

Mix in the softened coconut oil, salt and the flour, a little at a time. When the dough comes together, turn it out onto a floured board and kneed for about 5 minutes. Place in a bowl and allow to rise for a second time until it has doubled in bulk. Meanwhile, make the filling by beating the coconut oil and maple syrup with a beater. Add the spices, chili to half the mixture and chopped ginger to the other half.

When the dough has risen, divide it in two and roll each piece into a rectangle of about 20 x 12 inches. The dough should be quite thin. Spread the filling evenly over the dough and sprinkle the granulated sugar on top.  Roll up from the long (20 in.) side. Slice the roll into 1 inch pieces and place them on a parchment lined tray to rise covered with a tea towel – about 1/2 hour.

Before baking, press each cookie down to flatten somewhat. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 to 35 minutes. Makes 24 cookies.



The pepper ones are pretty hot, but I was correct in supposing that spice and maple syrup is a winning combination for those who like a little piquant to our snacks. The ginger is also very good, and might be better for those who are not great fans of chili. DSC02947

Linked to Angie’s Fiesta Friday #110, Jhuls’ The Not so Creative Cook and Apsara’s Eating Well Diary.





Maple Walnut Cookies for Fiesta Friday #10


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.