Maple syrup is one of my favourite baking ingredients, I love the sweet slightly smoky flavour as it goes so well in both sweet and savoury dishes. I've used it in some of my favourite posts and have been experimenting with new combinations too. Recently I've been using maple syrup and balsamic vinegar together with extra virgin olive oil as a salad dressing. It's actually quite light and refreshing and not as sweet as it may sound as long as the balance is right. This is where tasting is key, my favourite part of playing around in the kitchen.
A few weeks ago I won a selection of maple syrups from Clarks Maple, as luck would have it, I found out I won the prize from Lancashire Food blog on the same day that I was arranging a review post with Clarks. So as they were going to be sending me the syrups anyway I agreed to do a review, in case you're wondering I only received one set of syrups.
|Left to right: Vanilla flavour, medium, amber, original.|
As there are 4 different varieties of maple syrup on offer I decided to do a taste test.
This syrup is a blend of pure maple syrup and carob fruit syrup flavoured with vanilla. It is by far the sweetest of the syrups and I think this one is probably best used in baking. The vanilla flavour is good and doesn't taste artificial so it would be a great way to add something a little different to your cakes. I baked some cookies at the weekend using this syrup which I will be posting soon.
The Clarks original syrup is also made from a blend of pure maple syrup and carob syrup. Now whilst the purists amongst you may be surprised by this, it's an affordable way of making maple syrup available to a wider audience. Unlike maple flavoured products which quite frankly are horrid and usually based on high fructose corn syrup or similar, this syrup contains 35% pure maple syrup. This means that you get all of the benefits associated with maple syrup such as the zinc and manganese, both good sources of antioxidants, along with the lower calories provided by the carob syrup. And it is cheaper to buy than pure maple syrup, this means you can have the maple taste without having to spend a lot of money. Now this is all well and good but of course you want to know what it tastes like. As with the vanilla syrup, I did find this one a bit too sweet to want to drizzle on my pancakes but it will definitely be used in baking as it means I can use less additional sugar. Although the syrup is blended it does still have quite a strong maple flavour.
For more info about Clarks original maple syrup see the video below.
The medium grade syrup is harvested from the maple trees during the beginning of the second half of the season and it has a dark colour. So far this syrup has been my favourite, it has a well defined maple flavour and this is the syrup that I have been using in my salad dressings this summer. I think it would also work well with pancakes or drizzled over ice cream. Definitely a versatile syrup to have on hand.
This is the darkest of all the maple syrups as it is harvested during the latter part of the season. The age of this syrup gives it a rich deep flavour which would work well in recipes where black treacle or dark brown sugar are used to add an extra layer of deep sweetness. I've tried this syrup in coffee and I think it works really well. I don't drink masses of coffee but when I do have it I enjoy my coffee black with no milk or sugar unless it's a strong coffee or I need an extra boost then I usually add sugar. Using maple syrup instead adds an extra richness to the coffee and of course maple syrup is healthier than sugar which makes my caffeine boosts even better.
Which would be your favourite?
Disclaimer: As always all views and opinions are my own.
- Entry via blog comment is mandatory if you don't comment then you haven't entered. If you previously commented on this post when it was first published then please click the green rafflecopter button if you wish to enter the giveaway.
- All other entry methods are optional but they will increase your chances of winning.
- All entries will be verified so please do not click to say you have tweeted etc if you haven't as your entry will not count
- There is one prize available which is a set of 4 maple syrups from Clarks Maple
- The giveaway is open to UK residents only
- The closing date is Wednesday 14th August 2013
- The winner will be contacted via email by Blue Kitchen Bakes and the prize will be sent to you from Clarks Maple.
- The winner will be chosen using the rafflecopter random number generator
- If you haven't used rafflecopter before then please watch this short video
a Rafflecopter giveaway