Maple Alps

summer

Untraditional Simple Syrup

RecipesAmanda Walter | Maple AlpsComment

Summer for me means a lot of fresh lemonade and iced tea. I remember the days of powdered mixes in a can that you mixed with water and at the end of the drink there would be little granules at the bottom - and it would get sweeter as you got to the bottom. I know I’m not the only one who was annoyed with that.

Besides canned and powdered mixes being full of chemicals and dyes and sugars that are not the best options during the summer, it is incredibly easy to make your own drinks that contain less ingredients and taste just as great - if not better!

Untraditional Simple Syrup | www.maplealps.com

A couple of things makes my simple syrup untraditional, the first being that instead of white refined sugar, I use raw organic cane sugar. The reason I use raw organic cane sugar is not necessarily for health reasons (gasp!). First off, I find white sugar a little bland. It’s just sweet and there is no depth of flavor. Maybe it’s just a personal preference, so feel free to use white if that is what you so wish. Organic cane sugar just means that the sugar cane used for the sugar was grown organically and is produced without any synthetic pesticides and herbicides. Which is nice to know. Not only does this decrease the amount of pesticides you are potentially intaking, but it is a step towards lowering the pesticide load on the environment.

In conclusion, there really isn’t a difference nutritionally between the two sugars, and you should be careful to not intake too much of a good thing anyway ;-)

Simple Syrup-2.jpg

The other thing that makes my simple syrup untraditional is the ratio of water and sugar that I use. Usually, there is a 1:1 ratio. I, however, use 2 parts water to 1 part sugar. It’s a small difference, but still a difference nonetheless. I’ve been curbing my sweet tooth, I guess. Don’t worry. It is definitely still sweet enough!

This simple syrup is perfect for lemonade and sweet tea and anything else you may want sweetened - without the granules in the bottom of your glass!

The best part? It’s quick and easy to whip up! And even easier to store in the fridge for up to 4 weeks!

Untraditional Simple Syrup | www.maplealps.com

Simple Syrup

what you need:

  • 2 cups water

  • 1 cup raw cane sugar


what to do:

1) Add all ingredients to a pot and bring to boil

2) Simmer for about 3 minutes, until syrup is clear

3) Allow to cool down before using in the drink of your choice

4) Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about 3-4 weeks (if it lasts that long!)

 

What are your go-to summer drinks? Have you ever made a simple syrup before?


 

Maple Alps Roundup: 6 Sweet Treats for Summer Days

RecipesAmanda Walter | Maple AlpsComment

It is hard to believe that Summer is here again! It has been another eventful year - a lot of things have happened and changed - and I think that goes for pretty much all of us!

To kick off the Summer season, I thought I might share some the sweet, cold treats we’ve shared before for you to enjoy over the next weeks! It will be a pretty hectic summer for us while we transition to a new state and I take two classes and get ready for a brand new type of school year, but the best thing about these treats is that they’re relatively quick to make and easy to keep in the freezer!

Maple Alps Roundup: 6 Sweet Treats for Summer Days | www.maplealps.com

I’ll be releasing some new goodies over the summer, but just in case you forgot about these ones, here you go!

 

This mango swirl ice cream is delicious and easy to whip up! All you need is a pot and an ice cream maker! Well, and the ingredients, but that’s a given….right?

Chocolate Chai Ice Cream? Yes, please! Also, I just realized that 'chia' and 'chai' are basically the same but just with the last two letters rearranged. Okay. Go make this ice cream already!

 

Speaking of chia….these chia peach frozen pops are perfect for those days on the porch. Bonus: they're low in sugar and high in fun! Also, they’re highly customizable. Don’t like peaches? Pick a different fruit!

You won't find a tastier vegan Fudgsicle! These frozen chocolate pops are creamy and delicious and you can bet I'll be keeping my freezer stocked with these - they’re my personal favorite actually.

For those days you're feeling a little fancy: try this strawberry cream dream cake! You’ll need to do a bit of planning, but it will be worth it! Again, customizable. Don’t like strawberries? Pick something else!

It’s not summer without a good chocolate cream pie! I love cream pies - especially when I get to enjoy them out on the deck with a good friend. What about you? This one is gluten free, has little sugar, and vegan, so less guilt, right? Maybe. Still tastes great.

 
vegan pantry | www.maplealps.com
 

Mama Mia! & A Private Beach

TravelAmanda Walter | Maple Alps9 Comments

The first year I studied abroad, I was able to spend some time in Denmark with family friends of ours. It was a fantastic experience, except for when I wanted to watch television, I couldn't understand a thing. One day, after exploring the city, I was flipping through the channels trying to find something to watch. Suddenly, I heard familiar words - Mama Mia! was on in German. Despite not loving the movie, I was bored and I watched the whole thing, just happy to have something on with words I understood. This last summer, some friends of ours took us to where some scenes from the movie were shot, and it was really spectacular to see- not just because it was filmed there, but because it was so beautiful!

mama Mia! | www.maplealps.com
mama mia and a private beach | www.maplealps.com
mama mia and a private beach | www.maplealps.com
mama mia and a private beach | www.maplealps.com
mama mia | www.maplealps.com
mama mia | www.maplealps.com

Seeing it almost made me want to watch the movie again, but I haven't seen it since 2010, and I think I'll keep it that way. There were definitely fewer people there than I had expected.

After we were finished at the chapel, we drove and hiked a bit and found a private beach to lay at for the day. Not one soul showed up the entire afternoon and the [long] nap I had and the warm water was glorious. 

mama mia | www.maplealps.com
mama mia and a private beach | www.maplealps.com

Somehow, picnic lunches taste better and naps are sweeter with views like these.

 

Chocolate Chai Ice Cream (vegan + gluten free + nut free)

RecipesAmanda Walter | Maple Alps18 Comments

Summer is here and I fully intend on enjoying every last second of it! The problem, however, is that summer only lasts a few weeks before Autumn comes creeping along and I have to break out the coats again. I do love the Fall, but I have been waiting and my body has been aching for sunshine that comes right now. The Winter was so long. So, so long. Thankfully, one can still eat ice cream in the Winter. It's just that it can be enjoyed outside in the Summer. 

Chocolate Chai Ice Cream (vegan + gluten free + nut free) | www.maplealps.com

The other day, I decided to break out my ice cream maker. You have to understand that I bought it years ago on a whim because it was a good deal. Since getting it, however, I have used it probably a grand total of….thrice. I was never able to achieve the creamy goodness that comes from the store, so I gave up. And then I had no time to experiment. And then it was in our basement still in the box. So yes, it was really time to either use it or lose it. I decided to try my hand at homemade ice cream again. I tried and tried some more until I finally came up with what I’m sharing with you today: a tasty chocolate chai ice cream.

The best part is that there is no dairy in it! I do love ice cream, but the dairy stuff makes me ill.

Chocolate Chai Ice Cream (vegan + gluten free) | www.maplealps.com

The base is a coconut cream and chai-infused soy milk mix that is pretty tasty if I do say so myself! It’s also creamy and has the right texture. Beyond that, it is inexpensive to make and will save you $5/pint of the dairy-free stuff at the store. You can’t get much better than that, really.

I wasn’t actually planning to make a chai-infused ice cream. I was just brainstorming flavours and I looked over and saw some loose tea that I had picked up a while back and it hit me:

chai + chocolate = seconds, please!

Chocolate Chai Ice Cream (vegan + gluten free) | www.maplealps.com

I already have a ton of ideas for future flavours, so stay tuned as I experiment and develop ice cream-making skills. 

Chocolate Chai Ice Cream (vegan + gluten free) | www.maplealps.com

Chocolate Chai Ice Cream (vegan + gluten free)

What you need:

  • 2 cups soy milk

  • 1 can (15 ounces) coconut cream

  • 1 TBSP chai tea (loose tea or 1-2 tea bags)

  • ⅓ cup arrowroot powder

  • ¼ tsp salt

  • ½ tsp vanilla

  • ¼ cup cocoa powder

  • 2-3 TBSP maple syrup or agave (depending on how sweet you want it)

 

What to do:

  1. Heat 2 cups of soy milk

  2. Steep the chai tea in the milk for 10-15 minutes, depending on how strong you want the chai flavour (I used a loose-leaf decaffeinated chai from Teavana)

  3. After the tea is done steeping, add it, along with the rest of the ingredients, to a high speed blender. Mix well until there are no clumps

  4. Add mixture to a large saucepan, and heat up slowly, continually stirring, until you have a pudding-like consistency.

  5. Completely cool the mixture (about 4 hours in the refrigerator)

  6. Put into ice cream maker and churn according to instructions

  7. Add ice cream to a shallow container and freeze for a few hours. It will stay creamy for a few days in the freezer- just let it sit out for a few minutes after the first day till it softens a bit!

 

Have you ever made your own ice cream?


 
Chocolate Chai Ice Cream (vegan + gluten free) | www.maplealps.com

Creamy Chocolate Ice Pops (vegan + gluten free fudgsicle copycat)

RecipesAmanda Walter | Maple Alps12 Comments

I remember when I was young, my grandparents owned and operated a convenience store in town. In the summer, they would let us have some treats from the freezer and I would always choose a chocolate popsicle. No, this was not a Fudgsicle, but rather a chocolate flavoured popsicle. I don't know if any of you have ever had one, but I loved them.

Then, one day, I did try a Fudgsicle, and I loved it. It was creamy and soft and had so much chocolate goodness - not the watery hardness of my former love. 

Trying to come up with replicating this delicious cold treat has proved quite the task, but I took a cue from my Chocolate Cream Pie and came up with something quite tasty!

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Creamy Chocolate Ice Pops (vegan + gluten free fudgsicle copycat) | www.maplealps.com

Because of the added arrowroot powder, it helped make it much more creamy and gooey, which, in my humble opinion, is the best part about Fudgsicles. It feels just like eating an actual one - the texture is perfect.

Creamy Chocolate Ice Pops | www.maplealps.com

I had some issues getting these babies out of the mould, so they aren't the prettiest, but they sure are tasty!

The best thing about making cold treats is how easy it is to mix things up and come up with fun combinations. I added almond flavour to these pops to add a chocolate almond flavour (my fav!), but you can do whatever you want! I notice that I don't really taste the coconut from the coconut milk when I add flavouring, so I like to skip it sometimes and have a more coconut-chocolate flavour.

Creamy Chocolate Ice Pops

Creamy Chocolate Ice Pops

What you need:

  • 1 cup coconut milk (full fat works best)

  • ¾ cup unsweetend soy milk

  • ¼ cup cane sugar (or less, depending on how sweet you want it)

  • 1 TBSP arrowroot powder

  • 1 ½ TBSP cocoa powder

  • ½ tsp almond extract (if you don't like almond flavour, skip this ingredient, or substitute with vanilla or something fun!)

 

What to do:

1. In a saucepan, whisk together all ingredients, constantly stirring until thick to avoid clumps. 

2. Pour into popsicle mold (I use this one from Amazon) and freeze for at least 6 hours, or overnight.

3. To remove, run mold under hot water for 10-15 seconds and pull out carefully. To store, I wrap the pops in parchment paper (separately) and keep them in a freezer bag.

 

**Note: I like making these in small batches when I want to make other flavours as well. For a full tray, simply double the recipe!

 
Staying cool and refreshed is easier now than ever with these tasty vegan fudgsicles!
 
Creamy Vegan Chocolate Ice Pops | www.maplealps.com