Today, Tim (my country half) finished boiling down the last of the sap he’s collected from the maple trees on our Vermont property. For weeks he’s been lugging buckets filled with the barely-sweet tree juice to the shed. There, he would strain it through cheesecloth, load the old cook stove with firewood, and stir the sap for hours until it evaporated into a golden syrup. It takes about forty gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup, so I’m not exaggerating when I say he'd stand there for hours. I’m not sure we had a single phone conversation in the last three weeks during which he wasn’t collecting, straining, or stirring sap; it’s a long process.
As a kid, I loved making maple syrup with my older brother. This year, though I live and work in midtown Manhattan, I wanted to participate in the sugaring season in some way. Since I’m pretty sure it’s illegal to tap trees in Central Park, and my work schedule doesn’t afford much time for hanging out in jail (or tending woodstoves, for that matter), I decided to celebrate the glory of maple syrup with a simple new recipe.
Let me preface by saying that I’m a relatively restrained person in many ways—I don’t drink much, I don’t spend much, I don’t yell much—but you wouldn’t know it from this recipe. Maple syrup and peanut butter and coconut and chocolate? I know, it’s over the top! While it’s true that maple syrup is delightful all on its own and paired perfectly with pancakes, it also serves as a delicious and healthy sweetener. This recipe is very easy, very decadent, and a delicious way to celebrate the end of sugaring season.
Makes about a dozen bonbons
2 cups coconut flakes
½ cup peanut butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 ½ cups chocolate chips
3 tablespoons butter
1. Combine coconut, peanut butter, and maple syrup. Roll the mixture into small balls, place on a wax paper lined cookie sheet, and freeze for twenty minutes.
2. Meanwhile, melt chocolate chips and butter over low heat in a saucepan, stirring vigorously with a whisk.
3. Use a spoon to roll chilled balls in the melted chocolate. Return balls to the pan and freeze for at least half an hour. Keep the bonbons in the freezer or refrigerator.
Abigail R. Gehring is a bonafide homesteader and editor of several books, including Back to Basics (Third Edition), Homesteading, and Self Sufficiency. She divides her time between New York City and Vermont where she grew up and shares a home with her husband.