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Homemade maple bars

March 1, 2009


My view from the kitchen window while doing the breakfast dishes – the sun is now showing itself on the east side of the barn, which means spring can’t be far off… .

I used to bake a lot when I was more active in local community groups, and while we don’t really eat much bread or other baked goods, when I have to make something for a potluck I have come to the conclusion that I probably shouldn’t show up with sauerkraut or lacto-fermented pickles!  I also realize I can’t force people to eat the way we do – I do know that everyone is in a different place in their journey of preparing foods from scratch, so from time to time I will share recipes that don’t necessarily reflect the way that we eat every day, but can enable you to make a choice to maybe make something at home instead purchasing the finished product at the store.

At HD’s place of employment, the guys are always buying doughnuts, while they are fresh from a nearby bakery, they still contain ingredients like soy lecithin and way too much sugar.  So while I think they eat too many doughnuts, maybe if I sent some to work with HD, they could at least eat something homemade without too many harmful components. 

Maple bars!

While these are easy to make, they are time consuming, requiring 3 different rises.  So a snowy day was my excuse to dust off this recipe, since I would not be distracted by duties outside beyond my regular chores. 

I always proof my yeast before adding it to my dough ingredients.  I want to see this bubbly head on the yeast and water mixture before I proceed.  Water too hot will kill the yeast, and too cool will not activate it.  About 105°F is the correct temperature for yeast.  I don’t use a thermometer, if I can hold my finger in the water comfortably, I know that is about right.  

First rising of the sponge, which is the yeast/water mixture and some of the flour.  Let rise in a warm place until double in bulk.  I’m using the warming oven on my cook stove, this first rise takes about an hour. 

The sponge has risen and is ready for the addition of the final ingredients.  Namely, eggs, butter, sugar, salt and more flour. 

Beat down the sponge and add beaten eggs, then creamed butter and sugar.  Mix thoroughly and add the rest of the flour.  Knead the additional flour into the sponge until all the flour is worked in.

This dough doesn’t always turn out smooth and elastic, so this appearance is fine.
Cover and let rise until double in bulk.

Second rise complete. 

After the second rise, punch down the dough… 

and roll or shape into a square approximately 1/3″ thick on lightly floured board.  Usually instead of rolling I just shape with my hands – you can see my finger prints. 😉 

Cut into squares … 

and let rise again for about 20 – 25 minutes.  During this final rise, heat your cooking oil to 360°F.  I deep fry about once in a blue moon, so I use my candy thermometer(which is really my soap thermometer) for this.  If the oil is too hot, your bars will cook on the outside too quickly and leave the inside raw.  Too cold, and the dough will absorb grease, which is, well, too greasy. 

Fry 4 or 5 at time turning with tongs when brown on one side.   

Continue frying until both sides are evenly brown. 

Drain on brown paper or paper towels.  (I used a recycled grocery sack.) 

Cool and frost.

MAPLE BARS   about 30 small maple bars

9 cups flour – divided (4)(5)
1 T yeast
2 cups warm water
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup softened butter
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 t nutmeg
1 ½ t salt
Cooking oil sufficient for deep frying.

Dissolve yeast in warm water, add 4 cups flour and mix well to make sponge.  Cover and let rise until double in bulk. 

Add nutmeg and salt to sugar, and cream with softened butter.  Stir down sponge and add butter mixture, mix well, add 2 beaten eggs.  Mix well and add 5 cups flour and beat with spoon, kneading in flour.  Use your hands if necessary.  Put into a well oiled bowl and let rise until double in bulk.

Punch dough down and roll out to 1/3″ thickness.  Cut into squares, place on cookie sheets or large pans to rise in a warm place, about 20 – 25 minutes.

Heat oil to 360°F, fry until both sides are golden brown and drain.  Cool and frost bars.


2 pkgs cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioners sugar (or less)
maple syrup to taste.

Mix cream cheese and confectioners sugar until smooth, add maple syrup to desired consistency and flavor.

This recipe is from a booklet that our local historical society compiled from the members recipe files.  These bars freeze well in foil and reheat perfectly.

19 Comments leave one →
  1. March 1, 2009 11:27 pm

    Your hubby is a lucky man, as are his co-workers. That’s a lot of work to so generously give away. Great step by step photos. I really like the one where it shows the close up of the risen squares. They look like those fancy French beignets. I hope you snagged a couple for yourself and Ruthless. 🙂 Um, have pity on your Italian friend and feel free to send a couple my way, too.

  2. March 2, 2009 2:34 am

    Put the coffee on, I’ll be right over. Of course, I’d have to walk back to Maine to rid myself of all those colories but oh my, it would be so worth it!
    Thanks for the recipe – the look sinfully deliceous 🙂

  3. March 2, 2009 7:06 am

    Holy cow, those look amazing! I haven’t really done much for deep frying. Do you use a special pot? How deep does the oil need to be? Do you keep and reuse your oil?

  4. March 2, 2009 7:36 am

    Now that looks like something Mr Chiots would love to sink his teeth into.

  5. March 2, 2009 8:02 am

    Mmmmmm … thanks for the delicious pictures. I’m excited to have found your blog and look forward to taking a look back.

  6. March 2, 2009 9:38 am

    My my! Someone ROCKS in the kitchen! (wish it were me)

  7. Lauren permalink
    March 2, 2009 10:32 am

    So despite the fact that it is Lent and despite the fact that I am 36 weeks pregnant (which is why I’m not fasting, but I’ve not had the energy to be on my feet to make bread, as of late), after seeing your post this morning I pulled everything and started a batch. The pictures of those perfectly risen pillows of dough waiting for their hot oil bath … irresistible. Thank you for the inspiration this morning.

  8. March 2, 2009 2:12 pm

    Oh, my, that is yummmy!


    P.S. I like the photo, also!

  9. Lauren permalink
    March 2, 2009 5:32 pm

    They also make lovely soft dinner rolls (hot oven-425 or there abouts- for 15 minutes-or brown) . I made half cinnamon-sugar doughnuts and the other half dinner rolls. Thanks again!

  10. March 2, 2009 5:46 pm

    I’m making those next weekend! I wish I saw this post earlier today, it would have been great to do during the snow day. But I did make your ricotta recipe today and I also added in some flavorings. I posted about it if you want to check it out.


  11. March 2, 2009 11:58 pm

    I honestly thought I got a whiff of maple when I scrolled down.

    Store bought bars & donuts make me have a sick headache. I’ve always thought it was the grease and sugar. Maybe it is some of the additives.

    I should try and make those and see what happens. (my husband loves maple bars)

  12. March 3, 2009 4:45 pm

    Oh, Nita, those look fantastic. What type of oil do you use for frying?

  13. March 4, 2009 9:16 am

    Oh dear lawdy-miss-claudy, I think you totally have to make this again for your BEST FRIEND ROBBYN. Truly. (no really, you don’t have to thank me for the reminder…)


    (but laughing with purpose and intent and not having had breakfast yet…haha!)

    (this post is a form of long-distance blog torture. I swear I can smell these cooking!)

  14. March 4, 2009 11:58 am

    Paula, I’ll tell him you said he was lucky! They disappeared, but now everytime I come across this post, I want more!

    Deb, coffee’s on, I was looking for an excuse to make more… .

    Jen, I’m a novice too on the deep frying part. The oil needs to be about 4″ deep, so the size of your pan determines how much oil you need. I did let the oil cool and poured it back in the container. There was very little residue at the bottom, so the oil looked great.

    Chiot’s Run, they are so easily led aren’t they?

    Rebecca, thank you for stopping by.

    Meadowlark, don’t worry the brief moment of domesticity quickly vanished. How many bakers do you know who fry doughnuts in Muck boots? 😉

    Lauren, you’re entirely welcome! I didn’t feel that innovative at 36 weeks – trying new recipes and ways to use the dough – I’m impressed and Thank you for the great ideas!

    Dayphoto – thanks, I can’t get the bars out of my mind now…
    I feel like I’m gaining weight looking at the pictures!

    farmersdaughterct, your cheese looked great – I hate to wish more snow for you, but let me know how the bars turn out!

    Pamela, let me know how they turn out. This recipe isn’t too sweet, and you can experiment with the sweetness of the icing. If I eat store bought bread products, I end up having to sleep it off. It’s almost like a hangover, with out the cocktail!

    Sarah – Busted! I kiped my kids corn oil for her horse!! My bad, if I had enough coconut oil on hand I would have used that. I deep fry something about once every 3 years, so I never have enough oil on hand. Plus, corn oil is not considered a good choice because of the high Omega 6 percentage. So much for following Nourishing Traditions, these maple bars are totally bad, refined flour, sugar, and most likely GMO oil heated to a high temperature. All that aside, they tasted very good, and the corn oil has a great taste.

    Robbyn, you aren’t the only one, I wish I had one (or a dozen) right now! Sometimes a treat or snack of cabbage just doesn’t cut it!! :O

  15. March 4, 2009 7:38 pm

    Nice looking buns;) Your hubby’s gotta love that!

  16. March 5, 2009 9:30 am

    Thanks so much for the tip on the oil depth…that helps, definitely. Jen.

  17. March 20, 2009 9:55 am

    I’m going to make those today! They look sooooo good. My family (especially dad) loves maple donuts and so do I! 🙂 Cooking is so fun.

  18. March 20, 2009 2:35 pm

    I made the bars! Wow!!!! Are they good! I did not have any maple syrup so I used some carmel flavored coffee creamer and vanilla extract. Thank you for putting that recipe on your blog!

  19. March 17, 2012 11:11 am

    Can’t wait to try these! Yummy!

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