Have you ever eaten pancakes that just taste different? Have bites of particular pastries left you wondering what the special ingredient in them was? Did they somehow taste like they were baked in maple heat, or fried with maple oil? Did they taste like maple? That’s maple extract!
If you think that anything ‘extract’ will be a rare commodity, then you’re very right. Maple extracts are not any different. In fact, if you’re anywhere in the world asides North America, the chances that you’ll ever get your hands on maple extract are infinitesimal.
Luckily, there are as many substitutes of maple extract. While all of these substitutes pale in comparison to the original flavor and strength of pure maple extract, they are worthy replacements nonetheless.
What is the best substitute for maple extract? The best substitute for maple extract is maple syrup. Of all maple products, maple syrup has the highest concentration of maple. If you can’t find the extract, use the syrup.
An Overview of Maple Extract
Maple extract is a thick, super-concentrated liquid extract ‘squeezed’ from maple. Maple extract is described to explode in your mouth and in your meals with the beautiful maple flavor.
The best maple extracts are made solely from maple. No dyes, no intruding flavors, no corn syrup, nothing. Only maple. This way, when added to foods and batter, you can only taste them – you can’t notice any change in the color of your meal because there isn’t.
If you’re one to enjoy the conventional dark brown look many maple derivatives give your pastries, all you need to do is replace the white or light brown sugar with dark brown sugar. Another way to achieve this color is by replacing light brown corn syrup with the dark brown variant.
So how do you use maple extract? And what can you use it for?
You can raise your meal from an average 50 to an excellent 100 by adding only a teaspoon or two of maple extract to the mix. It’s truly amazing. Maple extracts are most commonly used for pastries: cakes, muffins, cookies, pancakes, pies… whatever you want. Some other common foods save pastries that blend perfectly with maple extracts are french toasts, chia pudding, maple pecan granola and coffee, to name a few.
Quote us anywhere: Maple extracts are likely the most underrated ingredients… ever.
Why Replace Maple Extract?
The most common reason to replace maple extracts in meals is its uncommonness. When you’re able to get it, amazing! If not, though they’re of lesser maple quality, you’d better use one of the more common alternatives.
Best Recommended Substitute for Maple Extract: Maple Syrup
When the sap of the maple tree is boiled to particular temperatures, it forms maple syrup. Though not nearly as strong and flavorful as maple extract, it is the closest thing to it you’ll find. In other words, don’t raise your expectations too high, and be prepared to add more quantities of the syrup to achieve the degree of maple flavor you desire in your pastry.
Getting even 100% pure maple syrup can be a daunting task. There’s so much fake, unhealthy, and artificial stuff out there these days.
As much as you want to go ahead and empty a bottle of maple syrup in your pancake batter, ensure you balance the mix with some more dry ingredients. What we mean is this: because maple syrup is watery, it tends to decrease the viscosity of your batter or meal, making everything watery. Everybody knows watery pastry isn’t particularly the best (and that’s putting it mildly).
Balance the compulsory addition of excess maple syrup with some more flour to re-thicken the mix.
Other Alternatives for Maple Extract
Some maple derivatives that we’re suggesting as replacements for maple extract can still be very useful. Maple flavored candies are quite common. Melt them, and use them instead of the extract. You won’t get the same strong maple essence, but it can still be very effective.
Maple better makes an ideal replacement for maple extract. The idea is to force in maple derivatives into the mix however you can. So instead of using normal butter for your dough/batter, simply use maple butter. Again, don’t be surprised how different the flavor is. You’ll notice the maple flavor, but it won’t be as pronounced.
Surely, you’ve heard of vanilla extract. It is probably the most common and most used extract out there. It doesn’t in any way taste like maple, but it does achieve the same effect: introducing amazing warmth and ecstatic flavor to your food.
And oh, with vanilla extracts, you can add as much as you like! Everyone appreciates vanilla flavoring.
Again, not the same flavor, but surely the same effect. This holds true because rum and maple are both gotten from plant sugars. You can add as much rum as you want.
There are many more substitutes for maple extract you can try out. Most of these options include traditional flavors (they confer the earthy and nutty flavor maple is known for) like roast pumpkin, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, etc.