No trees were harmed in the making of this delicious breakfast condiment

By Rebecca Firkser
Updated February 13, 2018
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Credit: Photo by StephanieFrey via Getty Images

I read a truly disturbing warning a few weeks ago: to prepare for a maple syrup shortage in the United States. An unseasonably warm February slowed the sap flow of many American maple trees, which will likely lead to a dramatic drop in maple syrup production in the coming year. As if global warming weren’t horrific enough. What are we supposed to do now, settle for that thick, gooey, corn-syrupy gloop? I think not. There’s a solution to this dilemma; it involves the letters D, I, and Y. Oh yes, today we’re going to make our own maple syrup substitute. I like to call it sorta-maple syrup or faple syrup. You can also call it brown sugar syrup, but that would make you kind of a party pooper, so maybe don’t do that.

Using a blend of dark brown and granulated sugars, water, and maple extract, it’s possible to create a maple-flavored syrup quite similar to the original. The sugars create a thick, sweet caramel while the water thins the syrup to a familiar consistency. As for the maple extract, well, I’m pretty sure you can figure out why that’s included.

In a heavy bottomed saucepan, mix together 1¾ cups dark brown sugar and ¼ cup unbleached cane sugar (although if you only have the classic white stuff in your cabinet, it’ll be just fine) with a pinch of kosher salt and a cup of water.

Whisk the ingredients together and place over medium-high heat. Let the mixture bubble up to a boil, then lower the heat to medium. Cook for another few minutes, stirring constantly to avoid scorching the syrup.

Take the pan off the heat and whisk in the maple extract. Inhale deeply, because right about now your kitchen is going to smell exactly like that maple sugar house you visited on a family vacation to Vermont. Only this time, your mom isn’t around to tell you to stop chugging the syrup.

Let the syrup cool for five minutes or so, then pour it into a mason jar with a lid. If you’re one of those people who love warm syrup, now is a great time to toast a waffle (and while you’re waiting, can you explain to me why you think warm syrup tastes good?). If you’re like me and prefer maple syrup on the chillier side, store the syrup in the fridge until you’re ready to drizzle.

And P.S.: If you’re vegan and constantly trying to save cash by ordering maple syrup in five-gallon jugs online, you’ve got to get on the brown sugar maple syrup train. Unfortunately if you’re Paleo, you’ll have to keep shelling out the big bucks.