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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

maple syrup dumplings with cinnamon candied pecans.

sorry for the horrible lighting- it was another breakfast-for-dinner day
This recipe caught my eye because I have yet another use for maple syrup and the word dumplings intrigued me. Just what kind of dumplings? The chewy kind made with glutinous rice flour or the... oh I don't know. What it actually is is a biscuit sort of dough boiled in a "soup" of maple syrup and water on the stovetop. Yep, that's right. No baking!

What I found really amazing is that even though the dumplings were semi-submerged in the maple syrup mixture, they didn't soak it all up. The outsides did drink in a little but the interior remained light, moist and fluffy.

Don't try to scoop huge balls of dough in because they do puff up a lot! I made mine mini to avoid that and so that they could cook faster. I wish there was more sauce in the end because the maple syrup managed to reduce down quite a bit, resulting in a sticky coating rather than a fluid topping. I added extra water to the pan after scooping out the dumplings to scrape out the sticky bits and also to add more sauce. A good thing too, since even after the extra water the sauce was quite sweet. I would suggest upping the amount of water added in the beginning, from 1 1/4 cup to 1 3/4 cup, the same amount as maple syrup.

I didn't stop there. I added some cinnamon candied pecans.

These pecans are not the usual sugar and water candied pecans but rather, they were coated in a mixture of egg white, brown sugar and cinnamon, among other things before being baked in an oven to dry out. I let my pecans go unattended too far and they look burnt. They weren't that bad, despite their blackened facade. I think this method makes super crunchy nuts because of the egg white coating- the craggy bumps form a really crackly outside.

To be honest, the maple dumplings didn't wow me, but the novelty factor won me over. Not to mention that they were extremely easy to make!

Maple Syrup Dumplings
adapted from Saveur.com

1 3/4 cups maple syrup
1 1/2 cups flour
4 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
4 tbsp unsalted butter, frozen
3/4 cup milk

Bring syrup and 1 3/4 cups water (originally 1 1/4 cups water) to a boil in a 6-qt Dutch oven over medium high heat. Meanwhile, whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl; set aside. Grate butter on large holes of a box grater into flour and toss to coat; add milk and stir with a fork until dough forms. When syrup mixture reaches a boil, use a spoon to drop large clumps (but not too large) of dough into syrup. Cover pot, simmer until dumplings are cooked through, 10-15 minutes. Smaller clumps cook faster. Spoon dumplings and sauce into bowls and serve.

Makes 6 servings.

Cinnamon Candied Pecans
adapted from The Yummy Life
makes 4 cups

1 large egg white
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tbsp water
4 cups raw pecan halves

Preheat oven to 300F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, whisk to beat the egg white until foamy, add the rest of the ingredients except the pecans and mix until well combined. Stir in the pecans until well coated.

Pour onto the baking sheet and spread nuts out in a single layer. Bake for a total of 40 minutes, stirring halfway through. Remove from the oven and cool. After cooling completely, break apart and transfer to an airtight container. Store at room temperature.

If the nuts loose their crispness, especially if they're left out uncovered for an extended period, restore their crispness by warming them in the oven again for 5-10 minutes.

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