Recipes with Julie Van Rosendaal: Get the best out of maple syrup

Recipes with Julie Van Rosendaal: Get the best out of maple syrup

This spring was colder than usual, which is good news for maple syrup farmers in Quebec and Ontario — it extends the freeze-thaw period, which usually happens between February and the end of April, giving them more time to tap trees.

The successful season follows a particularly bad year in 2021, when Quebec was forced to drain about half of its strategic reserve and source nearly 50 million pounds of maple syrup.

We talked this week about the many ways to use maple syrup on the Calgary Eyeopener.

And while it’s no substitute for the real thing, you can make your own pancake syrup by boiling a 2:1 ratio of brown sugar to water, then removing it from the heat and letting it cool (although yes, you can also serve it warm).

Add a few drops of vanilla or maple extract if desired and store in the refrigerator for a month or more.

Frying Pan Granola

You can make any amount of granola in a skillet on the stove. No need to turn on the oven or make a huge batch.

I’ll give approximate measurements here for those I know, like those guidelines, but you can really just do it – toast oats, nuts, and seeds, then add enough maple syrup (or honey, golden syrup, or brown rice syrup) to make it begin to clump together, usually about a quarter the amount of oats.

Feel free to add a large spoonful of nut butter as well, if you like.

Cook until golden brown and cooled!

Skillet granola can be customized with all different types of dried fruits, chocolate, seeds and nuts. (Julie van Rosendaal)


  • 1-2 cup(s) old-fashioned (large flake) oats
  • ½ cup nuts (chopped, sliced, or grated)
  • ¼-½ cup seeds (sesame, sunflower, pumpkin, flax, chia)
  • ¼-½ cup coconut (optional)
  • 1-2 tablespoons butter, vegetable oil or coconut oil
  • 1/3-½ cup maple syrup (or golden syrup, honey, etc.)
  • a shake of cinnamon (if you like)
  • a pinch of salt
  • a handful of dried fruit or chopped chocolate (raisins, cherries, cranberries, chopped apricots – optional)

Place your oats in a large skillet (not too full; you’ll want room to move everything around) with the nuts, seeds, coconut, and butter or oil.

Put on medium heat. Roast for a few minutes, until it starts to turn pale golden and fragrant.

Drizzle over the syrup, add a shake of cinnamon and salt and stir frequently until the mixture turns a deep golden brown. The oats will absorb some of the syrup, which will caramelize in the hot pan as well.

Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool in the pan, adding dried fruit or chocolate if desired.

Store extras in an airtight container.

Make as much as you want!

Maple Syrup Cake

There are so many recipes for maple syrup pie (Quebec cookbook author Ricardo Larrivée has a great one that calls for only maple syrup, no brown sugar).

This recipe is slightly adapted from Anita Stewart’s 2008 book, Canada

Settle your sweet tooth with a maple syrup cake. It only takes a few ingredients and about an hour in the kitchen. (Julie van Rosendaal)


  • 1 cup packed golden brown sugar
  • 1 cup heavy (whipped) cream
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla or maple extract
  • pastry for a pie with one crust

Roll out your dough and place in a 9-inch pie plate, crimping the edge.

Cool while preheating oven to 350 F and stir filling.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, cream, maple syrup, eggs, and vanilla.

Pour into the dish and bake for 45-50 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through. It should be capricious but uniform.

Before serving, cool on a wire rack, preferably with whipped cream.

Serves: 8.