Maple Syrup and Birthday Cupcakes

This past weekend a good friend from high school was visiting Boston. K had a conference here last week and stayed to hang out this weekend. On top of hanging out with friends, Butler made it to the Final Four! K went to Butler and is the president of his local alumni club!


On Saturday we decided to partake in some local fun by heading up to New Hampshire to go to a maple house where they boil maple syrup. We had beautiful weather on Saturday. It was a bit chilly but sunny and not a cloud in the sky. After arriving at the Grant Family Maple House, we had some food and got in line to learn all about how maple syrup is made.


What we learned is that the sap from the trees has about 2-3% sugar in it straight from the tree. At that percentage, it would take 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of maple syrup!! So they first condense the sap until it reaches about 8% sugar. The sap is then boiled to evaporate off the water.


Once the temperature reads 7 degrees above the boiling point of water, you have syrup! The guy in the maple house even explained how they use a baraometer on the wall to get the barometric pressure so they know the exact boiling temperature of water for that given day. It was all very scientific and extremely interesting.


The small bottles of maple syrup were a sample from each batch they had made at the maple house this season. The guy explained that as the season goes on, the syrup tends to get darker due to the change in the amount of sugar in the sap.


Of course, we had to get some maple products while we were there. Obviously, maple syrup. We also got some maple candies, some maple sugar, and some maple pepper. Can’t wait to find creative ways to use the sugar and pepper. If anyone has suggestions, please let me know!


Also, since K’s birthday was last week, I made him some cupcakes to celebrate. I went with my go-to chocolate cupcake recipe. I love that you can whip these up by dirtying only one bowl and using a whisk! I dipped them in some ganache and topped with festive sprinkles. Aren’t they pretty?

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14 Responses to “Spring M&M Pretzel Treats”

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    Sarah — April 9, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    I love this simple recipe, and it will be a great idea for my sister-in-law’s bridal shower (both she and her fiance have M names). You mention in your other posts about using a squeeze bottle – is this any particular type of squeeze bottle? I’m not sure how to find one that would work for this purpose. What do you use? Thanks!

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    mamakrystal — April 9, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    Awww, totally cute! It came up in my google reader and my stomach growled!!! YUM!

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    Teresa Bjork — April 9, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    Yum! I’m making these this weekend for birthday treats. Can’t believe you can’t find almond bark. There are stacks of it at our small-town grocery store in Iowa.

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    Jen — April 9, 2010 at 7:05 pm

    Sarah – I use squeeze bottles from Michaels. They look like this.

    Teresa – yes, it’s crazy that they don’t have almond bark out East. In the Midwest you can get it anywhere!

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    Sarah — April 10, 2010 at 3:37 am

    Thanks Jen! These are awesome. I have so many new pages bookmarked since finding your blog. P.S. I was in TJ Maxx tonight and found a jar of polka dot sprinkles, like true big polka dots, and I thought of you!

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    Baking Away — April 10, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    Do you have any Super WalMarts near you? I get them there all the time in Massachusetts. They are carried year round in the baking aisle. I’m not sure if regular WalMarts have them too.

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    mrs. c — April 11, 2010 at 10:16 pm

    These look yummy and I think that my college-age nephews would love them…how whould they travel? Have you got suggestions for things that will travel well in the mail? Thank you

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    Jen — April 11, 2010 at 11:08 pm

    mrs. c – these would travel really well. I like them straight from the fridge or freezer. I would freeze them for a few days prior to mailing. That’s what I do with anything I ship. I have great luck with cookies and brownies going in the mail.

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    KV — April 12, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    have you tried coloring almond bark before? I tried a couple months ago and it was a disaster, so just curious

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    Jen — April 12, 2010 at 6:23 pm

    KV – I have not tried to color almond bark. The Wilton’s candy melts do come in a variety of colors though, so you could use those. They are sold at Michaels or Hobby Lobby.

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    Baking Away — April 13, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    Just wanted to clarify that I meant I find almond bark at Super WalMart here in MA. I went back to see if you had responded, and I realized my comment didn’t really make much sense!

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    Jen — April 13, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    Thanks. I don’t shop much at Walmart… It’s probably better that I can’t find this stuff anywhere, otherwise I’d be making these all the time!

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