Maple Syrup – More Than a Sweet Treat

Posted on April 5, 2016 by wlda

There’s nothing better than maple syrup to satisfy a sweet tooth! We all know and love it, but did you know there are health benefits of maple syrup? It’s actually good to indulge in this sweet treat!

As part of a two-day symposium at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society, a group of international scientists presented findings on the benefits of natural products in preventing neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. For the first time, maple syrup was a product included in the studies shared by the scientist.

Dr. Donald Weaver found, that an extract of maple syrup may help prevent the misfolding and clumping of two types of proteins found in brain cells – beta amyloid and tau peptide. The protein clumping forms plaque. This plaque is involved in the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

Additional research showed that a pure maple extract prevented the fibrillation (tangling) of beta amyloid proteins and exerted neuroprotective effects in rodent’s microglial brain cells. This microglial brain cell function decrease is associated with Alzheimer’s as well.

These preliminary findings presented at the two-day symposium support discoveries that have been made in recent years on the inherent properties of pure maple syrup that comes directly from the sap of the maple tree. Maple syrup is now included with other all-natural products with unique health benefits. Sweet!

Now that you know it’s not only safe to eat maple syrup but could actually be good for you, enjoy this phenomenal pancake recipe with a butter pecan maple syrup.

Ricotta Pancakes with Banana Pecan Syrup Recipe

This is a perfect Sunday morning recipe. The pancakes and butter pecan syrup are easy to make, and they are decadent and delicious. The ricotta adds a wonderful lightness to the pancakes because they puff up as they cook.

If there is more batter than you need, go ahead and cook the pancakes. When they have cooled, stack them with parchment or waxed paper between the pancakes. Wrap them in plastic wrap, and place them in a freezer bag. They can be frozen for a month. When ready to serve, spread out the pancakes on a cookie sheet and place in the oven for about 10 minutes on 350˚F. While they are heating, make another batch of the Banana Pecan Syrup.

Banana Pecan Syrup

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 small bananas, thinly sliced (3/4 cup)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 cup maple syrup

Ricotta Pancakes

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, separated
2 cups milk
4 ounces ricotta, well drained (1/2 cup)

For the Banana Pecan Syrup, melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the nuts and sauté for about 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add the bananas and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring to combine the ingredients. Add the syrup and cook for about 1-2 minutes, or until syrup is well heated and thick. Remove from the heat and set aside in a warm place.

For the Ricotta Pancakes, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt together onto wax paper or plate. Beat the egg whites in a medium bowl with a hand beater until stiff, but not dry. Beat the egg yolks, milk and ricotta together in a large bowl until well blended and smooth. Add the dry ingredients and mix gently with a large spoon. Stir a spoonful of the egg whites into the batter to lighten it, then fold in the remaining egg whites with a spatula.

Warm a platter in a low oven. Heat a flat nonstick griddle or large nonstick skillet over medium heat, and grease with butter or vegetable oil. Pour 1/4 – 1/3 cup batter per pancake onto the pan when it is hot. Pour as many additional pancakes as the griddle will hold. Cook for about 2 minutes, or until air bubbles form on the surface, and then flip the pancakes over using a large flat spatula. Cook on the other side for 2 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove and place the pancakes on a warm platter. Serve immediately, or hold in a warm 200˚F oven while preparing the rest of the pancakes. Serve the pancakes topped with the syrup.

Banana Pecan Syrup: makes about 2 cups
Ricotta Pancakes: makes 16 (3 inch) pancakes
Serves 4-6

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