Maple syrup of Olympic proportions

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What better way to enjoy the Olympics then with some good, ole Canadian maple syrup? Maple syrup is a MUST in our house for pancakes and waffles. But do find yourself wanting to add a little somethin' somethin' just to have a little variety to your breakfast? Well, so have I!  And these are some of the recipes I've come up with.
First of all, maple syrup is a wonderful ingredient for all kinds of things. I have even used it in a vinaigrette in a Fall salad. It's fun to add different flavors to the maple syrup to give your family and friends a different taste.
Strawberries and raspberries are good fruit to add to the syrup. Some recipes instruct us to add sugar but I have found this to be too sweet and actually over-powers the maple flavor. When you make these recipes, I would suggest you add sugar in small amounts until you reach the sweetness you desire.
Another good fruit for maple syrup is the orange. This is a nice, light flavor that adds a little tang to the syrup without overwhelming the maple flavor.
Maple syrup is a good ingredient for recipes for grilled fruit or fruit salad. Two of my favorites are Nutmeg-Cinnamon and Apple. Both of these are easy to make at the last minute and pour over whatever fruit you have on hand. I have also made these flavored syrups for the breakfast menu and were big hits.
So here is the challenge! Next time you're planning breakfast for the family, try one of these recipes and see how much your family's eyes light up enjoying their syrup that's a little different. And delicious!

Strawberry Maple Syrup

1 16 oz. frozen strawberries, sliced or whole, thawed
1/4 cup maple syrup
sugar, to taste
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Heat thawed strawberries in saucepan until completely thawed and the juices just start to simmer. Place strawberries in a colander (lined with cheesecloth, if you prefer) and mast the berries with a large spatula or wooden spoon. Strain the juice from the strawberries into a bowl and then a glass measuring cup. You should have about 1 cup of juice. If you can't get a cup, add enough water to make it that measurement. Place the mashed fruit in a separate bowl to be used later.

Place strawberry juice and desired amount of sugar in saucepan. Bring mixture to boil for one minute, constantly stirring until slightly thickened.

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract, maple syrup and mashed strawberries. Cool for 10-15 minutes and serve over pancakes, waffles or ice cream (yum!)

Yield: 2 cups

Raspberry Maple Syrup

1/2 cup raspberries, fresh or frozen
1 cup maple syrup

Combine maple syrup and raspberries in a small saucepan. Heat until the mixture begins to boil. Cool slightly. Press through a colander (lined with cheesecloth, if you desire) to puree the berries into the syrup. Serve warm.

You might want to add some whole, fresh raspberries to the syrup for those who are crazy about raspberries!

Orange Maple Syrup

1/4  cup butter
1  Tbsp. flour
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup orange rind, grated

Melt butter in small saucepan over direct high heat. Stir in flour and sugar; stir and heat until bubbly. Stir in remaining ingredients. Heat; simmer 2-3 minutes.

Nutmeg Cinnamon Maple Syrup

1/4 cup maple syrup
1/8 tsp. nutmeg, ground
1/8 tsp. cinnamon , ground

Combine syrup, nutmeg, and cinnamon in small saucepan. Cook over low heat for 10 minutes to infuse the flavors into the syrup, stirring occasionally. Serve immediately.

This is a terrific syrup for fresh fruit. A good combination is sliced Granny apples, sliced pears, sliced strawberries and sliced bananas. Put fruit in a bowl and toss lemon juice. Spoon maple syrup over fruit and gently toss.

Apple Maple Syrup

1/2 cup apple juice or cider
1/4 cup maple syrup

Combine apple juice and syrup in small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to boil; reduce heat to low and cook for 5 minutes or until slightly thick. Remove from heat and cool slightly.

This is a good syrup for those pancakes and waffles that have fruit added. I have used canned apple pie apples and put those in the pancakes and then used this syrup. YUM!

This is also a great syrup for grilled fruit. Sliced pineapple and/or peaches are good recommendations. Brush fruit slightly with syrup, grill for about 2 minutes per side or until nicely browned. Brush fruit with syrup a couple times during the grilling. Put the fruit in bowls, top with a scoop of ice cream and drizzle with a little syrup. And you can thank me later!