Category: Featured Article
Maple Apple Crisp
Apple season in Vermont is one of my favorite times. There are several orchards nearby and we have both cultivated and wild apple trees growing on our farm. The combination of maple, spices and apples is amazing. Top with a crumbly, buttery oat mixture and you have a dessert that is sure to bring out autumn vibes!
6 apples of any variety, I prefer Macintosh or Paula Red, mixing varieties is also great
1 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon (divided)
1 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
3/4 cup of oats
3/4 cup of all purpose flour
1/2 cup butter
dash of salt
Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Butter an 8×8 baking dish, or spray with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl, add chopped apples, granulated maple sugar, 3/4 tsp of the cinnamon and lemon juice. Stir to combine, then transfer to prepared baking dish.
In a separate mixing bowl, add dry topping ingredients (oats, flour, 1 tsp cinnamon, salt, and diced cold butter). Use a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the oat mixture, using a slight downward twisting motion, until mixture resembled pea-sized crumbs. Alternatively, you can use two forks or even your hands to cut butter into the mixture. Once the butter is well incorporated, stir in maple syrup.
Spread topping over apples in baking dish, and gently pat to even it out. Bake 40-50 minutes, until golden brown and bubbly.
Serve warm with vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of maple syrup. Enjoy!
Maple Sugar Pumpkin Spice Muffins
This classic pairing of maple, pumpkin and spices comes to me from my sister, Juniper. She and her kids are always experimenting in the kitchen with their number one ingredient, maple!
1 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil (or melted coconut oil)
1/2 cup granulated maple sugar
1/2 cup Couching Lion Maple Syrup
1 and 1/2 cups pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling- you can find it canned or halve a pie pumpkin, remove seeds, bake in oven at 350 for an hour, scoop out flesh and puree)
2 large eggs
First, set oven at 425. Mix together the flour, baking soda, spices and salt. In a separate bowl combine vegetable oil, maple sugar, maple syrup, pumpkin puree and eggs. Make a small well in the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients in. Stir just until combined. Lumps are ok! Pour into prepared muffin tin (greased) or paper liners. Bake at 425 for 5 minutes. Then reduce heat to 350 and bake about 15 minutes more or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool muffins completely if using Maple Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting.
How to Identify a Sugar Maple Tree
If you’re visiting Vermont this summer, be sure you are able to identify our sweetest tree!
Look closely at the color of the leaves. Sugar maple leaves will have a dark green color on the outside, and a lighter green on the underside. In the fall, sugar maple leaves will lose their green color and take on a beautiful orange,» Read more about: Identify a Sugar Maple Tree »
Maple Syrup Grades
All Maple syrup is delicious! People tend to feel very strongly about their favorite grade, however. Learn more about the different grades to know what’s best for baking or pouring on pancakes.
Golden Color with Delicate Taste
Usually made at the beginning of the new maple season, this syrup was known once graded as Fancy. Subtle maple flavor is best appreciated when used on pancakes or waffles or paired with rich dairy items like yogurt or vanilla ice cream. Try it over Greek yogurt or for a simple but elegant dessert, simply pour this grade of Vermont syrup over vanilla ice cream.
Amber Color with Rich Taste
Usually made about mid-season and often seems to be the most popular for all-around use. Full of characteristic maple flavor, this syrup is equally as good over waffles as it is in salad dressings, cocktails, or in a maple-sweetened barbecue sauce. If you’re only going to have one grade of Vermont maple syrup in your kitchen, make it Amber Color with Rich Taste.
Dark Color with Robust Taste
As the maple season progresses, the syrup darkens in color and develops a more robust maple flavor. Good for all around use, its hearty flavor is a great choice for all kinds of recipes. Pour over baked apples or squash, use as a glaze for meats and vegetables, or sweeten baked goods. This grade pairs well with smoky and spicy flavors like chipotle peppers, sriracha, or bourbon.
Very Dark Color with Strong Taste
Produced at the end of the season, it’s perfect for cooking and baking. When you need a strong maple flavor in a bread or cookie, ice cream, or barbecue sauce, this is the grade of choice.
The Health Benefits Of Real Vermont Maple Syrup
Derived from 100% maple sap and minimally processed over a wood fired arch, our maple syrup is a healthy addition to your meals! Many people enjoy a few tablespoons each day in coffee, over oatmeal or yogurt, in salad dressing and marinades and of course with waffles and pancakes! It has a lower glycemic index than other sugars, making it a better choice for people with insulin resistance. Maple syrup is also packed with minerals and antioxidants. Swap out all your sweeteners for nature’s healthiest syrup!
|P e r 6 0 m l ( 1/4 c u p ) , i n % D V||Maple Syrup||HFCS||Honey||White Sugar||Brown Sugar|
Sugaring season in the northeast ended in mid-April. The taps have been pulled and our sugar maples are now in the phase of growing leaves which will begin the process of making next year’s sugar through photosynthesis. We are also continuing the cycle of preparation for next year’s season. Right now the most pressing job is to cut, split and dry wood to be used in our wood fired evaporator. Read on for more news from the farm and delicious, maple inspired recipes!
Sugarers were concerned when March started off with 60 degree temperatures, but the season quickly looked up as freezing nights returned.
Maple sap starts at 1% or 2 % sugar and the rest is water and various nutrients. Maple syrup is 67% sugar. The nutrients remain and a lot of water is evaporated. We boil over a wood fire for the best caramelized flavor. Matt is always a fast moving blur during sugaring!
After several hours…maple syrup is poured off!
The finished product is hot packed into our new custom glass.
All our firewood is sustainably harvested. Most comes from trees downed in windstorms. Being on a mountain means lots of wind damage!
Finally we are seeing spring flowers! Check out this fun guide to Vermont’s Spring Flowers.
The songbirds are back! Our sugarbush is certified as Bird Friendly through the Audubon Bird Friendly Maple Project. Every spring we are amazed at the number of birds who make their home on our hillside until late summer. Learn how to Bird By Ear in this fun article by Gwendoyln Causer.
King of the sugarbush! On April 1, we celebrated two years with our our little pandemic sugar dog, Archie. As a stray from Texas it’s taken a couple of years for Archie to feel comfortable in the woods and with Vermont weather. He has come around though, and spent lots of time helping with sugaring this spring.
Finally we’re getting some heat in Vermont! As a full-time teacher I spend most of the day inside. As soon as I get home, Archie and I head out to the sugarbush to look for Matt, check on the songbirds or just enjoy the beauty of quiet nature.
Sweet Treats for Spring
Maple Sugar Bars
These delicious bars are reminiscent of pecan pie, yet the maple and walnut create a much more robust flavor. Serve once they have cooled, maybe with a dollop of whipped cream to create a special dessert.
- ½ cup butter, softened
- ¼ cup Couching Lion Maple Sugar
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup Couching Lion Maple Syrup
- ¾ cup Couching Lion Maple Sugar
- ½ cup walnuts, chopped
- ¼ cup butter
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbsp flour
- pinch of salt
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine butter, maple sugar and flour and stir until the mixture is crumbly. Press mixture into an 8 inch greased baking pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove and set aside.
- In a saucepan, combine the maple syrup, maple sugar and walnuts and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add butter and stir until melted.
- In a bowl, beat the eggs with the flour and salt. Add egg mixture to maple syrup mixture and stir to combine. Pour over the base and bake for another 25 to 30 minutes, or until set. Cool completely before cutting.
Extra Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes
These pancakes are extra fluffy due to a shot of seltzer. See how it stacks up against your favorite pancake recipe!
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons Couching Lion Maple Sugar
1¼ teaspoons baking powder
1¼ teaspoons baking soda
1¼ teaspoons kosher salt
2 large eggs
1¾ cups buttermilk
½ cup cold seltzer water or club soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more
Pure Vermont Couching Lion Maple Syrup (for serving)
Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl and wet ingredients in a second small bowl. Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir. The batter will be slightly lumpy and should not be over stirred.
Heat a greased griddle or frying pan. Scoop out batter in 1/4 cups, leaving plenty of space for the pancake to expand. Look for bubbles to form and then flip.
We always heat the maple syrup for pancakes! Add about 2 tablespoons per serving to a small pan. Heat slowly and watch carefully. Maple syrup boils over quickly!
Serve immediately and enjoy the rest of the morning (or evening if you’re having pancakes for dinner….an actual real thing we do in Vermont)!
Enjoy springtime wherever you are! We look forward to sharing this season’s maple syrup with you. Click the green links or the button below to shop for your own springtime sweet maple syrup!
XO From Huntington,
Chaska, Matt and Archie
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Summer Newsletter 2021
It’s still…… Summer!
It’s been a very productive summer, here in Huntington, Vermont. While sugaring season lasts a few short weeks each year, the preparation happens throughout the summer and fall. Read on for news from the sugar farm and for some great maple recipes!
Firewood is on the agenda for the months following sugar season. It takes 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of maple syrup, so that’s a lot of evaporation. Our maple syrup is cooked over a wood fired arch and we generally need about 12 cords of wood per season.
All of our firewood comes from downed trees, or from trees that are shading trails and inhibiting undergrowth. We follow a forestry plan and the guidelines from Audubon’s Bird Friendly Maple Project to ensure we’re harvesting trees sustainably.
Trail mowing and line repairs are part of the sugarbush upkeep. We’re fortunate to have a trail network throughout our sugarbush that allows for access to the sugar lines. The trails have to be mowed each summer to keep the forest from taking over!
Summer is also the time to prepare for fall and winter mail orders! We’re excited about our new glass jugs with our updated logo. We hear from customers that these jugs are great as repurposed water bottles and vases!
The Maple Kiosk has had lots of visitors this summer! Stocked with maple syrup in all shapes and sizes, the kiosk sits in a picturesque field with mowed paths and mountain views. If you live in the area, let us know you’re coming and we’ll leave you a map for a sugarbush walk! You’ll find the kiosk at 50 Aestivalis Hill, Huntington, VT.
Animals in the Sugarbush!
Our sugarbush is home to lots of animals. While we see deer and all kinds of birds, the game cameras help catch the more stealthy residents. A healthy sugarbush means healthy animals!
Blueberry bushes in Vermont are laden with fruit this time of year. Try this Maple Sugar Blueberry Sauce and Blueberry Gin Fizz for a great way to use this antioxidant rich fruit!
Maple Sugar Blueberry Pie takes your regular recipe to the next level! Serve with vanilla ice cream and you will help ease all end of summer woes. Click on the picture for the recipe.
It’s also peach season in Vermont. Maple Sugar Peach Cobbler is a delicious blend of peaches, maple sugar and crumbly biscuits.
If you’re lucky enough to have lots of peaches, or you can buy a crate of fresh peaches, try canning them for a burst of summer flavor in the winter. Here’s our recipe for Peaches Canned in Maple Whiskey Syrup.
Lastly…..here are a few pictures from our neck of the woods.
Enjoy the last of summer!
XO From Huntington,
Chaska, Matt and Archie
It seems like yesterday, and yet also a long time ago, that the nation went into lockdown. Last March we were isolated on our hill in Huntington, Vermont, with only one task: boil the thousands of gallons of maple sap into maple syrup, one stick of firewood at a time. I have never been able to participate in the daily flow of sugaring so when school closed,» Read more about: January 2021 Newsletter »
-L.M. MontgomeryWelcome to the sugar farm in Autumn!
Lucy Maud Montgomery wrote about the splendor of October in Anne of Green Gables. We think our sugar dog, Archie, may be experiencing his own Anne Shirley moment! Archie came to Couching Lion Maple Sugar Farm in April, as a stray from Texas . He took a few months to get used to a life where food readily appears,» Read more about: October 2020 Newsletter »