Our next stop on the 50 states, 50 recipes tour is;
State capital: Montpelier
Largest City: Burlington
Admission to the Union: March 4, 1791 the first state to join the Union after the original 13 colonies
An important and growing part of Vermont’s economy is the manufacture and sale of artisan foods, fancy foods, and novelty items trading in part upon the Vermont “brand” which the state manages and defends. Examples of these specialty exports included Cabot Cheese, the Vermont Teddy Bear Company, Vermont Butter and Cheese Company, several micro breweries, ginseng growers, Lake Champlain Chocolates, King Arthur Flour and Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream.
There were about 2,000 maple products producers in 2010. In 2001, Vermont produced 275,000 US gallons (1,040,000 L) of maple syrup about one-quarter of U.S. production.
In my research on the state of Vermont, like many other states, tourism is a vital part of their economy. Here are a few sites for information and tourism.
I cannot think of Vermont without being reminded of the movie “White Christmas” with Danny Kaye, Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen. For those of you who live under a rock and have never seen the movie- rent it! The story line is that of two World War II Veterans who through a series of failed matchmaking attempts end up in a ski lodge owned by their former General in Vermont. The veterans along with a duo of sisters who sing and dance put on a huge show to help save the General’s Inn from bankruptcy. Some of the best secular Christmas music written by Irving Berlin can be traced back to that movie- including; “White Christmas”, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” and “Snow” to name a few. And one of my favorite non-Christmas songs from the movie is “Gee, I Wish I was Back in the Army”. Vermont to me will always be Bed and Breakfast Inns, with skiing, maple syrup and colorful fall foliage. Comfort foods that revolve around breakfast seemed appropriate for a Vermont recipe- so let’s try Maple Sticky Buns or as they’ll be known in my house, the Buns that Burned down the house!
Maple Sticky Buns
Recipe courtesy Armande Tremblay
Prep Time: 30 min
Inactive Prep Time: 30 min
Cook Time: 1 hr 0 min
Serves: 12 servings
1 tablespoon yeast
2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons Vermont maple sugar (grade B)
2 tablespoons light oil
2 teaspoons salt
5 cups unbleached white flour
1/2 cup nonfat dry milk
2 tablespoons wheat germ
1 1/2 cups Vermont maple syrup (either grade A medium or grade B dark)
2 cups walnuts, chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Dissolve the yeast in the warm water and add maple syrup. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes until it builds a froth. When frothy, add oil, salt and 2 cups flour. Beat well. Add dry milk and wheat germ and mix, then add 2 to 3 more cups flour a little at a time. Knead dough for about 10 minutes. Let dough rise until it doubles in size and punch down.
Roll dough to about 1/4 to 1/2-inch thickness and spread butter and sprinkle maple sugar onto dough. Roll dough up like a jelly roll. Slice rolls about 1 inch thick and arrange into 2 (8-inch) round pan that have been prepared as follows:
In each pan, melt about 1 tablespoon butter. Add 3/4 cup grade A(medium) or grade B (dark) maple syrup and 1 cup chopped walnuts. Let the dough rise again until doubled in size. Bake until golden, about 30 minutes. Serve warm and enjoy!
To be honest I made 3 different recipes from Vermont… once I discovered maple syrup can be used in a lot of different ways, I couldn’t stop making things with it. It started with Sugar on Snow- which was delicious and very easy. Sugar on Snow is basically a Vermont tradition of pouring maple syrup directly onto snow, letting it set and eating it like a snow cone or popsicle. But because not everyone has snow in their area- including me aside from the one day EVERYONE got snow, it wasn’t feasible to use that recipe. My second attempt was a ham with a maple syrup glaze, which was basically 2 parts brown sugar to 1 part maple syrup with a splash of orange juice. That was delicious as well- but to really represent Vermont, I thought this recipe for Maple Sticky Buns was more authentic.
The original recipe I found was posted without as many details as the one I found on the Food Network so I had to guess on a few things which later proved to be my downfall. It started with the search for real maple syrup from Vermont, the difficulty of finding wheat germ right in front of my face, and ended with my stove catching on fire! Thankfully these buns were yummy enough to make up for the difficulties they created.
The ingredients were all found at my local grocery store. Originally I had called Vermont and spoke to a maple farmer about ordering syrup directly from Vermont- but because of the shipping time involved opted to search at my local store for Vermont syrup so I would have it in time. I still had to search for maple syrup from Vermont. All the pure maple syrups in the syrup aisle were from New York or other states. I ventured into the organic aisle and found maple syrup from Vermont and thankfully it was a grade B. According to my new friend in Vermont who makes maple syrup, Grade B is about a medium syrup… the grade reflects the consistency and color of the syrup, the darker/thicker the syrup the higher the grade evidently. So grade B is right in the middle.
My next issue was finding wheat germ. The last time I had purchased wheat germ was about 20 years ago when I was flirting with being a vegetarian in college- or was it that I was flirting with a college vegetarian? Either way it came in a jar and that’s what I was looking for to no avail. I described it in detail to a produce clerk who was not from around these parts and had no idea what I was talking about until I describe it as being the consistency of corn meal, like you use to make tortillas. Just as we were both about to give up, the clerk says- “It should be in this area I think.” and gestures toward the refrigerated section of the produce aisle where the wheat germ was right in front of us both the whole time! I should have taken this as an omen, but I was determined to try this recipe.
add wheat germ and flour to yeast mixture- mix to runny consistency- add more flour to create a dough-
knead for 10 minutes, let rise for about an hour or until doubled in size
roll out to 1/2 or 1/4 inch thickness, spread butter and maple sugar onto surface, roll into shape like jelly roll
cut into 1 inch rolls arrange into two 8-inch cake pans, DO NOT PUT SYRUP AND NUTS ON TOP- place in bottom of buttered pan and cook at 350 for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
The recipe I started with didn’t have as detailed instructions as the one above so I was working from experience, which was based on making cinnamon rolls from scratch once before. The most time consuming part of this recipe is the waiting. Waiting for the yeast to foam, waiting for the dough to rise, waiting for the stove to stop burning and the fire alarms to stop chirping, a lot of waiting. One of the other issues I faced was not having any maple sugar or access to maple sugar.
I also used pecans instead of walnuts in my recipe a minor substitution but still tasty. Let me be clear that good directions in a recipe are essential. And because the directions I had weren’t clear about putting the syrup and nuts on the bottom of the pan I had issues. Putting the syrup and the nuts on top caused the syrup to boil over onto the bottom of the oven, which in turn spilled down into the opening for the gas flame causing the oven to actually flame up, setting off my smoke alarms, but luckily not causing any long term damage to the oven. About halfway into the cooking time the whole kitchen filled with smoke and I was forced to continue baking at my neighbor Cheryl’s house- bless her heart she didn’t mind at all! But it was a close call for a bit- and I almost had to share my sticky buns with the boys at the fire department.
Review: scale of 1-5 stars; the more stars the better
Ease of preparation: ** very time consuming with all the waiting but easy to follow
Cost of ingredients: *** Maple syrup from Vermont is a little expensive, but worth the price
Taste: ***** DELICIOUS- according to everyone, including my neighbor and the kids! The boys at the fire department missed out!
Nutrition: ** because of the high amount of sugar and butter not the most nutritious even if it’s got wheat germ which is a great source of folic acid
The other issue I had was with the yeast. I will admit I’m not much for baking with any kind yeast product, although I love breads of any kind. I put the whole package of yeast in the mixture when it actually called for just a Tablespoon of yeast. I could taste the yeast in my end product and SGM Martha described the texture as a little chewy. Nobody is perfect and I’m the first to admit to my mistakes. Granny Martha used to say that a recipe is a lot like a grand experiment and if they won’t notice it from a galloping horse, no sense in worrying about it! So until next week when we head South to Massachusetts may all your journeys be safe and your eats be good!