Thanks to all those maple trees producing some sweet sap these days, fresh maple syrup is in abundance across the region and state.
You shouldn’t have any trouble finding a quart, pint or half gallon of the sweet sticky stuff for your next batch of pancakes or waffles.
And while we love those breakfast foods smothered in recently boiled syrup, it turns out that maple syrup also makes a great ingredient in many recipes.
As you can probably imagine, it works great for baked goods, like doughnuts, sticky buns and whoopie pies.
It’s also great for glazes, salad dressings and even in cocktails. A simple internet search will give you all kinds of ideas.
But you can also sign up for Maple Madness at the Concord Food Co-op to learn a couple recipes and tricks from the Co-op’s executive chef Keith McCormack.
It’s part of a new free monthly series the Co-op and McCormack are offering to bring more community members into the store. The classes are small, open to 15 people, so you’ll want to sign up for it as soon as you finish reading this story – maybe even sooner. As of Monday, about half of the slots were still open, but once the word gets out, they’ll likely fill up pretty fast.
In this month’s class, which will be held March 22 (next Thursday), McCormack will pay homage to what has become a huge event in the Granite State: Maple Weekend.
“It’s such a great ingredient and it’s way more than just a topping for pancakes,” he said.
McCormack has three recipes on the agenda for the evening, which he will actually make infront of the class. There’s whipped maple butter, maple candied bacon and a maple gastrique, which is a sweet and sour sauce that goes great on protein or can be mixed for a salad dressing.
“It’s stuff that people have probably had before and like, but don’t know how to make,” McCormack said.
Since it’s only one-hour long (5:30 to 6:30 p.m.), McCormack will do some things ahead of time, like make the bacon and have all the ingredients on the ready.
During the class, he will explain what he’s doing and why, but is more than willing to answer questions about the process or another recipe entirely. The whole point of this is to teach folks some tricks to cooking that they can then use at home.
“It’s just as a benefit for people,” McCormack said. “I love teaching.”
Each participant will receive copies of the recipes, which they can try to replicate at home.
“The value is what they can take away from this,” McCormack said. “It’s a really cool thing that’s free and a great community benefit.”
Did we mention there will be free samples at the end?
“I’ll start the candied bacon right away, but it will probably be the last thing we try,” McCormack said.
Like we said before, this class could and likely will fill up quick, but you can always get on the wait list and there’s little chance they will turn folks away.
Check out concordfoodcoop.coop/events for more information about this class and future ones.