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Monday, March 30, 2015

Tapped Out

The end of Winter and the beginning of Spring mark the season for maple sugaring. Maple sap runs best when the temperatures are above freezing during the day, but still fall below freezing at night. During this time, sugar maple trees are tapped and the watery liquid collected in buckets, after which it is boiled down into the viscous, distinctively smokey natural sweetener we all love. Since maple syrup is so firmly linked to breakfast, I see no reason to try and alter that perception - although you can certainly enjoy these muffins any time!

Maple-Pecan Breakfast Muffin


Maple-Pecan Breakfast Muffins

Dry ingredients:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup chopped pecans, divided

Wet ingredients:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup whole milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with muffin liners; set aside.

Stir flour, baking powder, salt and 1/2 cup of the pecans together in a small bowl. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until fluffy, then mix in maple syrup, eggs, and vanilla. Blend in half of the dry ingredients, stir in the milk, then add the remainder of the dry ingredients and combine until just smooth. Divide evenly among the liners (about 2/3 full each). Sprinkle tops with remaining 1/4 cup pecans and bake for 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Notes: These muffins mix together quickly, and the simple flavors of the maple and pecans really shine through. If you prefer, substitute another kind of nut for the pecans, or leave them out altogether. I'd love to know how they would taste if you substituted cooked, crumbled bacon for the nuts - let me know if you try it!


>o<

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