Sugaring Off and Bacon-Wrapped, Maple-Glazed Roasted Carrots

I grew up as the younger sibling to both a brother and a sister and everything happened to them first: sleepovers, concerts, dating, driving lessons…

It was one of those things I had to make peace with, knowing that eventually I too would be able to wear make-up, get a summer job, or go overnight camping with just friends and no adults.

Watching spring come to our Southern neighbours in a splash of vibrant colour on Instagram while we are still sitting in slushy mud requires a similar resignation. I know it won’t be long before I too am snapping the ends off of bright green asparagus or roasting strawberries for an ice cream sundae, but for now, I have to be patient.

Fortunately, here in Eastern Canada we have a fifth season to tide us over until the blossoms bloom and the bulbs burst – the maple sap run. It’s an utterly magical few weeks when the towering maples, which already give so much in shade, oxygen and sheer beauty, offer up their sweet, sweet sap for the taking.

Tapping maple tree

This is one harvest we’ve been reaping for the last few years, in our own small-scale way. A few weeks ago we tapped the trees, hung five buckets and waited. Each afternoon the boys would drop their school bags on the porch and run to check the buckets.

Marc's forest

Finally the sunshine warmed the trees enough for it to draw the sap up from the roots and we were in business. When the first bucket came into my kitchen, I poured ice cold glasses of the sap for everyone, and not just because it is trendy right now.

Maple sap is incredibly refreshing, and satisfying, in an unexplainable way. I imagine it tasting similar to the Last Sea water in ‘The Voyage of the Dawn Treader’. “Sweet! Sweet!” cheeped Reepicheep. Caspian compared it to drinking “light”. Lucy said it was the loveliest thing she had ever tasted.

bucket of sap

I boiled a large pot every day, with the overhead fans blasting on my stove. My afternoon ritual was to pour the boiling maple water over loose leaf Earl Grey tea and add a splash of milk. Pre-sweetened, maple-scented tea.

Reducing sap to maple syrup can be maddeningly slow, until, of course, you decide to slip away for a bit. I over-reduced two entire batches (about 10 gallons of sap), which isn’t necessarily a bad thing because the stuff is so wonderfully versatile.

One batch of extra thick syrup I scraped into the stand mixer and beat it until it was creamy, otherwise known as maple butter. It was consistency of churned honey, and utterly delicious slathered on biscuits, pancakes and cornbread.

The other batch turned grainy, so I cooled it in a jar where it hardened somewhat, but still remained scoopable. We stirred it into our morning oatmeal, and it’s been long gone for a while. A scrumptious mistake.

There were a few successful boils, too…

Sugaring off on SimpleBites.net

We ended up with these seven jars of pure maple syrup. Some are a little cloudier than others. A few have ultra fine sediment on the bottom, despite having been filtered three times. The colour varies from batch to batch. Even the taste is slightly unique to each jar.

It’s all such an utterly fascinating process, this maple syrup business. I honestly think I could devote my life to it and still learn something every season. Wouldn’t that be a sweet career.

The children love the fresh maple water, too, but hold out for the good stuff: maple taffy. Once we finally finish a boil, I shoo them outdoors to pack down the snow for a pour. This year I was all out of popsicle sticks, so we used paper straws to roll our sticky lollipops.

maple taffy

My ‘recipe’ and simple method for maple taffy on snow is in Brown Eggs and Jam Jars. I’m pretty sure it’s my children’s favourite page.

Maple syrup lends itself so well to cooking and baking, it’s no wonder I included an entire chapter ‘Sugaring Off’ in my cookbook. Those recipes such as Maple Pecan Butter Tarts and Maple Cider Baked Beans are just a few of our absolute favourites, and every season I develop a few more.

This year, the simplest recipe for Bacon-Wrapped, Maple-Glazed Roasted Carrots stole the show.

Maple Glazed Bacon-Wrapped Roasted Carrots :: Simple Bites #recipe

Bacon-wrapped asparagus is totally a thing (or proscuitto-wrapped) and for all the right reasons. But we won’t be seeing any of those spring greens for weeks and weeks. In the meantime, I suggest we substitute carrots in their place, roast them to a crisp and glaze them with maple syrup to finish them off.

Maple Glazed Bacon-Wrapped Roasted Carrots :: Simple Bites #recipe

Sold yet? It’s an utterly simple, three-ingredient recipe. Get ready to roast!

Bacon-Wrapped, Maple-Glazed Roasted Carrots

This simple, three-ingredient recipe is a decadent way to enjoy these somewhat tired root vegetables.
5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dishes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 2 people
Calories: 369kcal
Author: Aimee

Ingredients

  • 6 medium carrots
  • 6 strips bacon
  • 2 teaspoons pure maple syrup

Instructions

  • Preheat over to 425F.
  • Peel carrots and place whole in a large saucepan. Cover with an inch of water.
  • Bring the water to a boil and cook carrots for 5 minutes. Drain and cool.
  • Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil or parchment. Wrap each carrot with a strip of bacon.
  • Line carrots together on the tray and place in the middle rack of the oven.
  • Roast for 25 minutes (keep an eye on them as ovens may vary. Bacon should be slightly crispy, not burnt!).
  • Remove from the oven, then brush the bacon-wrapped carrots with maple syrup.
  • Return to the oven and roast for an additional 5 minutes. Stay close-by as the bacon can burn easily.
  • Remove from oven and serve hot.

Nutrition

Calories: 369kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 43mg | Sodium: 563mg | Potassium: 716mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 30570IU | Vitamin C: 10.8mg | Calcium: 68mg | Iron: 0.8mg

plated ham

Do you cook with maple syrup?

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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Comments

  1. I’ve never done, or even witnessed maple sap boiling, but I *love* that if you over-do it, you can make it into other delicious toppings!
    Sarah M

  2. Beautiful way to eat carrots….What other recipes have you used maple syrup in?

  3. What is the meat you served with them in the pic? I want that dinner…. Yuuuuummmmm…..

  4. Oh my goodness, yum!! The snow is slowly melting here and I’m more than ready for spring produce but this recipe looks like yet another way to love the winter carrots.

  5. Nice work! We love the darker, end-of-season syrup for glazing, pouring on vanilla ice cream, and secretly doing sugar ‘shooters.’ Keep an eye our for antique wooden maple sugar molds (my aunt has some from her family farm in the Townships so I am certain they’re out there) for the next time you make a delicious ‘mistake.’

  6. Great post! This is our first year sugaring off our maples- and we learned a lot along the way (we live in southern Ontario). I now will think of it as the sweet transition- when we started, we used snowshoes to set the tap and collect our first buckets but as the sap flows, spring emerges. What sweet way to say goodbye to winter and hello to spring. We have collected from 8 trees but it didn’t yield a lot- although it is amazing how much sap and time it take to render down- although, I suppose it depends in the season. It didn’t run very long here before things warmed up and the trees have begun budding. Our total yield was only 3600mL but it is so good. I must advocate for boiling down at least one batch on fire- it so lovely to tend a fire on a late winter day when you would so rarely find yourself lingering outside for so long- and the flavour is exceptional. I love the smokiness of the syrup boiled down on the open fire. So delicious.
    And that meals looks amazing- what a perfect hearty dish to serve after tending a winter fire all day!

    • Cred, you are exactly right. I think new year we shall host a little sap boiling party.

      Danny’s uncle still uses a wood fire for boiling and the flavour is extraordinary.


  7. I am so in love with the whole sugaring off tradition! It’s definitely on my list of things to experience. In the meantime, I love seeing your photos and living it through Simple Bites. We had so much fun making the maple taffy from your book – the kids are still talking about it! Now these carrots, bacon and maple!, need to happen here soon too. Thanks, as always, for so much happy inspiration.

  8. How fun! I love this post!!

  9. Love the reference to Narnia. Voyage of the Dawn Treader is one of my favorite books in the series and now I’m pretty sure I will always think of maple water. 🙂

    Fresh maple syrup seems like a pretty good trade-off for a few more weeks of snow too. It looks like a really wonderful family tradition!

  10. Aimee, I think I would trade you the Pacific Northwest early spring for the opportunity to make my own syrup…at least for one season. 🙂

    Enjoy!
    -Margaret

  11. A fifth season is such a wonderful perspective! My grandfather used to tap trees and make syrup. Though I didn’t live near enough to observe him in the process, I loved tasting the results!

  12. Now that is how you enjoy some bacon, no, I mean carrots! 🙂


  13. Dear Aimee, these carrots of yours are amazing. Love those maple hunting pictures so much. By the way, can I use honey instead of maple syrup dear? Because maple not always in hand, you know.

  14. beautiful recipe and very creative. nicely done!


  15. Wonderful!! I’m absolutely agree that cooking is a source of inspiration, may be the passion or creative. Preparing some delicious foods with easy recipes to serve for the picnic and wait for the time to say goodbye to winter and say hello to spring with your adult. So sweet.

  16. I’m absolutely agree that cooking is a source of inspiration, may be the passion or creative. Preparing some delicious foods with easy

  17. Alkaline Water says


    Thank for your nice posts! Have a good weekend!

  18. The combination of bacon and carrots is so good. They seems so delicious. I will try myself.

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