Sunday, October 23, 2011

Maple Bars

Come the fall, I tend to crave comfort foods. Homemade maple bars are definitely on that list! I make mine with a slightly sweet yeast dough that I deep fry. I top it with a creamy frosting made almost entirely from real maple syrup.

First off, here is the dough recipe... It is based loosely on a recipe from my childhood called Monkey Bread.

Maple Bar Dough
1 cup warm milk
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons yeast
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup melted butter
3 eggs
5-6 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2-3 quarts of mild oil, for deep frying
(peanut, canola, soybean, coconut, safflower - just make sure you are not using extra virgin, as it will likely burn)

"Bloom" (fancy word for dissolve and let it do it's thing) the yeast in the warmed milk (110 degrees). I usually allow this to sit for a good 10 minutes. Add the sugar, oil, and 2 1/2 cups of flour, and the salt. Beat well to combine, then add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Add enough flour to form a smooth dough. I use my stand mixer to knead the dough, but you can do it on a lightly floured surface too. Place into a lightly oiled bowl and allow to raise in a draft free, warm place until doubled in size. Once it's raised, gently push to deflate the dough. Roll the dough out to about 1/2 - 3/4" thick, then cut into rectangles, about 3" by 4". I prefer to go smaller, then I don't feel so guilty eating them!  Allow to rest for about 10 minutes. Heat oil in a large, deep sauce pan. Make sure your pan is deep enough to only fill it 2/3 full of oil, so you don't risk overflowing the pan. Oil should be fairly hot, about 350 - 375 degrees. Drop a few dough squares at a time into hot oil. These will cook quick, so make sure you watch them. Cook about 1 minute one each side. If you aren't sure how long to cook them, just cook 1 to start with, then taste for doneness. Fry all the bars in batches, allow to cool, then frost with Maple Syrup Icing. The dough may also be divided and frozen, or baked up into a number of other items, such as dinner rolls, cinnamon rolls, or other sweet bread applications.

Fresh-made Maple Bars

And to top these off, a fantastic REAL Maple Syrup Icing. Why use maple flavoring when you can use the real stuff?

Maple Syrup Icing

1 cup of maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon milk

Bring the maple syrup and milk to a boil, and boil about 4 minutes. Pour mixture into a bowl and whip with an electric mixer until mixture is light colored and thickened. If icing gets too thick, just add a little more maple syrup. This icing will dry out as it sits and thicken dramatically, so try to use the icing soon after it's made. Remember, this is fairly sweet, so you don't need much on the maple bars.

Maple Bars

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