On wintry mornings when the thought of putting your feet on the cold bedroom floor and forcing yourself up and out of bed just seems like too much to bear you may want to consider a maple-laced breakfast. The flavour is familiar, it’s sweetness feels like a treat and in the case of these tiny parfaits, the maple off sets the tang of the yogurt nicely. In short, it’s the perfect combination of up-and-at-’em and being sloth-like and bed-bound. Just add tea for a perfect morning. I recommend it for a weekend along with something good to read.
Speaking of reading: I recently read an article in a magazine that made an apology to the state of Vermont regarding maple syrup. The writer acknowledged Vermont’s sugar maple’s contributions, but quickly followed with “…it’s [maple syrup] a Canadian thing.”
I tend to agree, and gee-golly did my little Canadian heart swell with pride to read an American publication crediting our diligent and hardworking maple syrup producers.
I have never personally experienced the whole song and dance of maple syrup production in person, but the very concept is fascinating. To think that a cold, barren tree, in the peak of winter, with precisely perfect climactic conditions, will freely bleed thin, clear sap in relatively large amounts to be boiled and processed into maple syrup as we know it, is amazing. How can tree sap be so delicious? And how could the iconic flavour of Canada be anything but this miraculous elixir?
I’ve read many recipes in which maple syrup is used ‘creatively’ (i.e.: not on pancakes) and many are good in the sense that it’s an opportunity to swap in a less refined (though equally glycemically detrimental) sweetener, and sometimes in the most thoughtful of these recipes the unique flavours of the maple really shine through. My opinion is that maple syrup tastes best straight up and does not need to be used in excess, just a drizzle here and there is all you need. Combine it with banana, yogurt and walnuts you get a little layered pot of creamy banana bread-type flavours that will not only be worth rolling out of bed for, but will get your day off to a sweet start.
Maple Walnut Breakfast Cups
These little breakfast parfaits remind me of banana bread. Play around with the proportions and ingredients to suit your taste. The amounts listed here make two small dishes; enough for a light breakfast or a snack.
½ C walnuts, chopped
1 banana, sliced into ¼” thick coins
6 tsp pure maple syrup
½ C plain Greek-style yogurt
Using 2 small dishes or glasses (half the fun is seeing the layers so clear vessels work well here), divide the chopped walnuts to cover the bottom of each glass. Reserve a couple pieces of walnut for garnish, if desired. Add 2 tsp of the maple syrup to each glass. Arrange the sliced banana on top, dividing evenly between glasses. Add ¼ C yogurt to each. Spread the yogurt so it touches the glass all the way around, making a barrier. Add remaining 1 tsp maple syrup to each parfait and garnish with remaining nuts.