Maple-Mustard Barbecue Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons Dijon-style prepared mustard or other strong mustard
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed through a press
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves, crushed
  • 1/3 cup Maine maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup peanut oil or other bland oil

Maple-Mustard Glaze for Ham or Roast Pork

  • Follow the recipe above, but omit the oil and add 2 tablespoons grated lemon rind.

Crisp Edged Maple Oatmeal Cookies

  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup Maine maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup minus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon backing soda pinch of allspice
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats (not instant)

Sift or thoroughly stir together the flour, salt, soda, and allspice. Cream the butter, then beat in the syrup, lemon rind, and egg. Stir in the dry ingredients, then the oatmeal. Drop by teaspoons on a lightly buttered baking sheet and spread flat with a knife blade. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes, until the edges are well browned, then cool on wire racks. Centers will remain slightly cakey, edges will crisp as they cool. Makes about 3 dozen.


Downeast Company Coleslaw

For 6 to 8 servings:

  • 7 cups finely shredded cabbage — about half a 2-pound head
  • 2 large tart apples, peeled, cored and shredded
  • 1 small green pepper, chopped fine

Dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • 3 or 4 tablespoons Maine maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup whole milk yogurt

In the bottom of a large bowl, combine the dressing ingredients in the order listed, using a wire whip to blend the mixture thoroughly. Stir in the vegetables, making sure they are evenly combined with each other and with the dressing. Cover tightly and refrigerate for at least a couple of hours, so the flavor of the dressing has time to penetrate.


Old-Fashioned Baked Beans

  • 6 cups dried beans
  • 2/4 to 1 lb lean salt port or slab bacon on the rind
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1/3 cup Maine maple syrup
  • 1 medium-sized onion, peeled and stuck with 2 whole cloves

Cover beans with boiling water, soak 1 hour, then drain. (This will remove some gas-causing compounds.) Cover beans with cold water, bring to a slow boil and cook until skins split when the beans are blown on. Drain, saving liquid.

Drop the meat into a pan of boiling water, turn off heat and let sit for 5 or 10 minutes to remove excess salt. Drain and cut in half. Put half of the meat, rind down, on the bottom of your bean pot. Combine 1 cup bean liquid with the mustard, syrup, and pepper, then mix it into the parboiled beans.

Transfer this to the bean pot and bury the onion right in the middle. Pour in just enough additional bean-liquid or water to barely show through the top layer of beans. Cap with the remaining meat, set rind side out. Cover and bake 6 to 8 hours in a very slow (250 degree) over, adding boiling water if necessary to keep beans from drying out. Uncover for last hour so top can get brown and crisp.


Maple Cream Cheese Spread

This is good on just about any bread, including bagels, and can also be used as an icing. It’s particularly nice with carrot cake.

  • 1/2 cup Maine maple syrup — the dark kind is fine
  • 6 ounces cream cheese

Let the cheese soften at room temperature. Put the syrup in a small pan and simmer, stirring occasionally, over medium-low heat, until it is thickened to the texture of heavy honey — about 235 degrees on a candy thermometer. Let it cool, stirring once or twice, then beat the sticky substance into the cream cheese. You must reduce the syrup before combining it with the cheese or the mixture will curdle and separate. Store refrigerated, tightly covered and it will keep a long time — if it lasts.


Creamy Maple Cashew Bark

  • 1-1/2 cups Maine Maple Syrup
  • 1-1/2 cups cashew nuts, lightly toasted (do not use salted nuts)
  • 2 or 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Lightly butter a baking sheet and set it aside. Combine the maple syrup and nuts in a large, heavy pan and slowly bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring as little as possible, until the mixture reads 270 degrees on a candy thermometer. Stir in the butter and remove pan from the heat. Quickly stir in the baking soda, which will make the mixture foam. Pour it at once onto the prepared sheet and use the back of the spoon to spread the candy as thin as you can get it. Allow to cool, then break into pieces and store in an airtight tin.


Sugar on Snow (Leather Aprons)

In the old days, when syrup making was a community affair, children and adults alike enjoyed the taffy-like candy made by pouring hot Maine maple syrup onto well-packed snow. This first treat of the maple season should always be accompanied by plain doughnuts and sour pickles, which provide a necessary contrast to the sweetness of the maple.

Heat the desired amount of syrup to 22 degrees above the boiling point of water. Without stirring, pour immediately to form a thin coating onto packed snow or shaved ice. Wind the taffy onto forks for eating — it’s too soft to pick up. A quart of syrup is sufficient for 12 to 16 people, depending on how many of them are under 10.