These baked pears with blue cheese encompass so many flavors and textures! Tender, juicy pears are baked with maple syrup and thyme sprigs, then stuffed with blue cheese and walnuts, a bit of salt and pepper, and drizzled with more maple syrup. Sweet, savory, tender, and crunchy all in one baked fruit! They make an elegant and delicious appetizer or snack, and they are even quite healthy!
These cookies are delicious. Downright delicious. They are soft and moist, with the deep, rich flavors of maple syrup and molasses blending together beautifully.
Since it is maple sugar season here, I thought I would share a recipe with maple syrup in it. One of my favorite cookie recipes of all time is one of the first ones I ever posted on this blog–the recipe for molasses snaps. I modified that recipe just a bit for these cookies, and put in some maple syrup in place of some of the brown sugar. This change made the cookies even moister and gave them a richer flavor.
There is something so satisfying about using natural sweeteners like molasses (especially blackstrap molasses, which I like to use) and maple syrup. Maybe it’s because I know they contain important minerals found in the good earth (potassium, zinc, manganese, and iron, to name a few), so it feels like these coookies are quite healthy. Or at least nourishing. Perfect for a snack or to stick in the kids’ lunches. They have definitely been disappearing quickly around this house.
It’s March now, and outside my windows the snow is lightly falling. We had another snowstorm a couple of days ago, resulting in another snow day for the kids. Much of our half of the world is thinking about spring, yet we in Michigan are still blanketed in snow. For now, I will take the soft snow. It will be gone soon enough, and my upper body feels stronger from all of the shoveling!
1/4 cup of dark molasses (preferably blackstrap molasses)
1 teaspoon of ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon of salt
2 cups of all-purpose flour, unbleached
1 and 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Beat (or stir vigorously) the butter in a large bowl until creamy. Gradually stir in the brown sugar, maple syrup, and molasses until fluffy. Add the egg, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves and salt. Stir well to blend.
In a small bowl, combine the flour and baking soda. Slowly add this mixture to the butter mixture, stirring well until just combined.
Drop the dough by rounded teaspoon onto an ungreased baking sheet. Bake in a preheated oven (375 degrees) for about 7 minutes, or until cookies are firm, yet still moist. Let cookies sit on the baking sheet for a minute or two, then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Repeat until all the dough is baked. Enjoy!
The snow is melting, the sun has a promise of warmth, but the wind is still chilly and the nights are cold. The sap is running in the sugar maple trees. In celebration of maple syrup season, I made a delicious smoothie today, sweetened with pure maple syrup from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. My brother and his wife live up there, and gave us this syrup made by a friend of theirs. It is so flavorful and pure, I feel like I am walking in the fresh north woods when I taste it. I love using pure maple syrup as a sweetener. It is a welcome alternative to refined sugar, and it contains minerals and antioxidants as well. Maple syrup has gained popularity in many recipes, and I am enjoying experimenting with it. The smoothie I made this morning is full of soothing, creamy, rich nutrition with banana, yogurt, oats, and walnuts. To me, it is the perfect combination of sweet and nourishing. Goodness knows I needed a boost of energy this morning, and this smoothie has enough protein from the yogurt, oats, and walnuts to provide lasting energy. My sweet son has been quite sick this week, and I have needed all the energy I could get to help take care of him. Fortunately, he is feeling much better. I am sharing this recipe, because I hope this smoothie will help you face whatever lies ahead with strength and some enjoyment thrown in along the way. That’s where the maple syrup comes in. It is such a lovely, natural treat. “When made in small quantities–that is, quickly from the first run of sap and properly treated–it has a wild delicacy of flavor that no other sweet can match. What you smell in freshly cut maple-wood, or taste in the blossoms of the tree, is in it. It is then, indeed, the distilled essence of the tree.”–John Burroughs, Signs and Seasons, 1886. I love the phrase “wild delicacy.” Those two words seem to be opposites, and yet together, they describe some of the best things in life. Have a wonderful weekend! I am sharing this recipe with the many talented bloggers at Angie’s The Novice Gardenersite for Fiesta Friday, hosted today by Jhuls at The Not So Creative Cook and Mila at Milkandbun.
Directions: Place the oats and walnuts in a blender or food processor. Blend until the mixture resembles coarse sand. You may need to scrape the sides and stir the mixture a bit between blending. Then add the yogurt (Greek yogurt is great too), banana, milk, maple syrup, and vanilla. Blend again until smooth. If this is too thick, you can add a couple ice cubes and blend again. If you prefer it on the thicker side (like I do), simply pour into a glass and sip with a straw and/or spoon. Enjoy!