Spring brings with beautiful flowers, green leaves on the trees, warm weather, and....maple syrup. It is the liquid gold gift from the sugar maple tree. Maple can go into so many things, and so many ways, from baking to cooking, and even drinks. The season is a brief one, it is the time between the daily warm up and cool down that causes the maple sap to start running, and it only goes for a few weeks. To celebrate, I have found a recipe in a brand new addition to my cookbook collection; one I think a lot of people would be very interested in owning. The title, 175 Best Small-Batch Baking Recipes by Jill Snider (see references below), fills an important niche in baking. Small batch refers to recipes that don’t provide enough cake or cookies or cheesecake or what have you to feed an army. If yours is a small household like mine, these recipes are ideal as, they are automatically geared to one or two eaters. As tempting as it may sound, after the fifth night of the same chocolate cake, it gets a little tired, not to mention stale. Then you end up throwing it away, which is a waste of your time and ingredients.
Before you start, make sure to have a greased and parchment lined 9X5 pan, with the parchment coming up the sides so that the bars can be lifted out of the pan after baking. Preheat your oven to 350 F, but in this case, I used my toaster oven, another benefit of small batches. You don’t have to fire up the big oven, thereby saving energy. Also note, you can use any combination of nuts that you like, for example, I used a combination of walnuts, almonds and pecans.
• ¼ cup butter
• 2 tbsp packed brown sugar
• ½ cup all purpose flour
• 1 egg
• 1 tbsp pure maple syrup*
• 1 ½ tsp. melted butter
• 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
• 1/8 tsp. baking powder
• ¼ cup coarsely chopped pecans
• 3 tbsp sliced hazelnuts
• 3 tbsp coarsely chopped walnuts
1. In a small bowl, using a wooden spoon, cream butter and brown sugar until smooth.
2. Gradually add flour and stir until thoroughly blended and crumbly.
3. Press mixture evenly into bottom of prepared pan.
4. Bake in the preheated oven for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden around the edges.
1. In a small bowl, whisk together egg, brown sugar, maple syrup and melted butter, until smooth.
2. Whisk in flour and baking powder.
3.Stir in pecans, hazelnuts and walnuts.
4. Spread evenly over warm crust.
5. Return to oven and bake for 13 to 18 minutes or until topping is set.
6. Let cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Remove from pan, using parchment liner, and cut into bars. Makes 9 bars. Keep in an airtight container for up to one week, or freeze for up to three months, with wax paper between the layers. Thaw and bring to room temperature before serving.
*You should always use real maple syrup in your recipes, as it truly is better. As Jill says, pancake syrup doesn’t always behave the same way. This, by the way, is also true for vanilla. Always use the real thing.
Snider, Jill. The Best of Small-Batch Baking Recipes. Toronto: robertrose.ca, 2017.
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