The following is an excerpt from Maple Sugar by Tim Herd (Storey, 2011). The excerpt is from Chapter 7: Maple Delights.
Good and Good for You
Maple syrup is a pure, all-natural sweetener, and other than honey and agave nectar, the only one in a naturally liquid state. It has no fat, no animal products, no artificial colors, and no preservatives. Unlike white cane sugar, which is stripped of its nutrients in its “refinement,” or brown sugar, which is simply white sugar mixed with molasses, maple syrup is packed with vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and antioxidants. A little daily dose is like downing a good-tasting multivitamin pill.
Vitamins in maple syrup include niacin (B3 or PP), pantothenic acid (B5), riboflavin (B2), and traces of folic acid, pyridoxine (B6), biotin, and vitamin A. Minerals in the brew include potassium, calcium, magnesium, manganese, sodium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, copper, and tin. These levels are 15 times higher than those found in honey.
The carbohydrate composition of maple syrup is generally 88 to 99 percent sucrose, 0 to 11 percent hexoses (fructose and glucose), and trace amounts of other sugars. One ounce of maple syrup has 80 calories (the same as molasses), compared with 90 for honey and 120 for corn syrup.
A quarter-cup serving contains 100 percent of the recommended daily allowance of manganese, 34 percent of riboflavin, and 11 percent of zinc.
Cooking and Baking with Maple
As a versatile ingredient in breads, desserts, snacks, beverages, vegetables, and meat dishes, as well as sauces, glazes, and marinades, maple syrup adds depth and intriguing complexity to the pleasure of the palate and contributes to the joy of zesty cooking. It easily substitutes for honey, molasses, and corn syrup in recipes on an equal basis and can be substituted for white sugar with minor adjustments.
According to the good folks at Michigan State University Cooperative Extension Service, you can substitute one and a half cups of pure maple syrup for each cup of granulated sugar and add one quarter teaspoon baking soda for each cup of maple syrup used. When maple syrup is substituted for all the sugar in a recipe, reduce the amount of liquid used by one-half. If maple syrup is substituted for half the sugar, reduce liquid amounts by one-fourth.
Excerpted from Maple Sugar (c) by Tim Herd, used with permission from Storey Publishing.