I have to admit, my very favorite way to enjoy Bird-friendly maple syrup is directly from a spoon. You can taste all of the subtle, smoky, dark flavors without other tastes getting in the way. During maple season I'm usually leading maple sugaring field trips at the Audubon Center, so I get to enjoy all three grades of syrup side-by-side during out maple syrup taste test. The unique flavor notes of each grade never fail to impress me. The darker and more maple-ey the better.
But I do have a favorite maple recipe to share. I've been a huge fan of August First's Maple Biscuit for years. It's my go-to item when I visit the bakery. The flaky layers of light biscuit are topped by a sweet glaze of hardened maple syrup. I think it's also the butter that plays so well with the maple.
When I can't make it in to the bakery I've found a recipe online that's a pretty excellent homemade substitute. I find that the trick to getting flakey layers is to barely mix the dough and keep the butter pieces pretty big. I asked August First's owner, Jodi Whalen, for her advice on baking fluffy biscuits. Here's what she said: "The most important thing for getting flaky biscuits is how you handle the butter and dough. We take very cold butter and grate it, then mix it in with the dry ingredients and then freeze it. Then, the next day, just add the wet ingredients and bake the biscuits." I've never tried the frozen butter technique, but it's definitely worth a try. Click here for the recipe.