When it comes to pancakes, I am a bit of an obnoxious purist. Though I appreciate the occasional chocolate and cheese flapjack (a Weencake, if you will), my favourite flavour of pancake is buttermilk, and my favourite toppers are butter and maple syrup.
The combination of maple and (salted) butter is incredibly popular because it is incredibly delicious. Fatty, salty butter and dark, sweet maple hit all the flavour notes — or at least all of the flavours you would want on a pancake (which itself provides a tiny bit of acid via buttermilk). It’s hard to improve upon, but Neil Kleinberg of Clinton Street Baking Company does just that with his maple butter.
Maple butter is just what it sounds like: maple and butter, whisked together to make a single sauce. This benefits the pancake in a few ways: Rather than having to spread a pat of solid butter across a tender pancake — potentially ripping it — and then drizzling on the syrup, you can evenly distribute both in a single pour, without worrying about the structural integrity of the pancake. It may seem like a silly detail, but it makes for a more consistent and delicious pancake-eating experience.
According to MarthaStewart.com, Kleinberg recommends a cup of Grade B maple syrup (now officially called “Grade A: Dark Colour and Robust Taste”) for every cup (two sticks) of unsalted butter. This can obviously be scaled up or down to suit your family’s pancake needs. The only change I’d recommend is using salted butter, rather than unsalted, because — to quote our very own A.A. Newton — “salt doesn’t just make food taste good; it makes food taste, period.”
Making maple butter is easy. Heat your syrup in a sauce pan over medium heat, and add pats of cold butter, one at a time, whisking after each addition until you have a tan, light caramel looking sauce. Serve warm (with warm pancakes) and store leftovers in a sealed container in the fridge where it can stay, ready to be re-heated when the pancake craving strikes, for up to two months.