Can you guess Wisconsin’s state tree? – That’s right, -the SUGAR MAPLE! And our governor has declared March 15 to April 15 as MAPLE MONTH! We all can revel in the fun of tapping the maple trees, catching the trickles of sweet, sticky sap, watching it boil down into delicious maple syrup, and feasting on maple syrup-coated pancakes and french toast, maple muffins, maple scones, maple candies, maple-flavored meat glazes, and any other maple-inspired food which the creative cook can create! Check out the S & S Sugar Bush maple syrup farm, where visitors can take hayrides through the maple woods, eat pancakes and maple-syrup sundaes, drink maple root beer, and win free bottles of hand-crafted maple syrup. This map from the Wisconsin Maple Syrup Producers Association shows the abundance of ‘sugarbushes’ (maple-tree farms) throughout the state.
What a wonderful way to connect kids to Wisconsin’s past. For centuries the Chippewa, Menominee, and Winnebago peoples set up spring sugaring camps in the Great Lakes region to tap the maple trees and stock up on the delicious sweetener. They later showed European settlers how to tap this natural delicacy. And since then, the family-farm, artisanal crafting of maple syrup has become a defining feature of Wisconsin’s culture.
The White Gull Inn in Door County, Wisconsin serves up maple decadence for breakfast with their homemade, maple butter spread on homemade maple pecan scones. Keep reading to learn their recipe.
Maple Pecan Scones with Maple Butter
- 3 cups flour
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup butter, chilled
- 2/3 cup maple syrup, plus additional syrup for brushing scones
- 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
- 3/4 cup maple syrup
- 9 Tablespoons butter, softened
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray and lightly dust with flour; set aside.
Using a fork, stir together flour, pecans, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. In a medium bowl, whisk together maple syrup and cream. Make a well in center of dry ingredients. Slowly pour in cream mixture, combining with swift strokes just until dough sticks together. (Dough will be firm).
On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to a thickness of 2 inches (scones will not rise much higher than this when baked). Cut scones with a round biscuit cutter and place on prepared baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Brush tops with additional maple syrup. Bake 15-20 minutes, or until tops are lightly browned. (Yield: 12 scones)
To make Maple Butter, cook maple syrup over low heat in a heavy saucepan without stirring, until it reaches the soft ball stage (234 degrees on a candy thermometer). Stir in butter. Pour mixture into a deep bowl and beat with electric mixer until thick and creamy, about 4 minutes. Serve with warm scones.
Baked goods have the richest maple flavor when high-quality maple syrup is used. (The “maple-flavored” corn syrup found on most supermarket shelves just doesn’t make the grade.)
Wisconsin Maple Syrup transforms ordinary pancakes into a gourmet breakfast.
.If you’re looking for a gift that says ‘Wisconsin’, maple farmers, Ken and Ruth Krupp of Ocooch Mountain Acres LLC. in southwest Wisconsin can prepare a variety of maple syrup, coffee, and pancake mix gift boxes. They even offer a maple syrup cookbook!