Birch Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Birch syrup. In the cookies. Up until a few weeks ago, never heard of it. Never even knew it existed.

This all came about because a couple of weeks ago my coworker was eating a stew where he had put a little molasses in it as an ingredient, and so we were talking and wondering about where molasses comes from, where syrups come from, and whether other trees besides maple trees can be a source for other kinds of syrups. And the answer is…yes!

Yes, I made cookies on the first day of summer. It was hot and sunny, and there I was, turning the oven up. I’m kind of crazy, huh? This isn’t the first time. Oh well.

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I had to do a mountain of laundry, so I was probably going to be hot, anyway. Might as well make something, I thought. We’re going on a road trip today, so my rationale was that we will need cookies to take with us to snack on for the road trip!

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And so I went online and found some birch syrup that I could purchase. Which is a little indulgent of me, I know. But what a beautiful product. It makes me almost wish I lived up north so I could harvest my own sap and make it into my own batch of birch syrup. Maybe one day…

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The birch syrup I bought was made from the sap from trees near a family-run farm in the Catskills in New York State. Not as popular, because it requires more harvesting of sap to get a small amount of syrup, and the syrup has a low glycemic index, which means it’s not as sweet as other syrups. Which, I think, makes it more interesting.

As I continued to search online to find out more on birch syrup, I found many cool recipes that I wish I could try, and still might, but since I only had a limited amount of the stuff, I had to pick ones that seemed to be fairly easy that also allow its uniqueness to shine through without being overpowered by other ingredients. If only we had birch trees nearby where we could harvest the sap, then it wouldn’t be so expensive, and I could try more of these recipes, including the one where you just pour it over some vanilla ice cream!

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I happen to like it a lot. It was love at first whiff! It sort of has a scent similar to molasses, but isn’t as viscous, so it pours more like maple. It tends to bubble in its bottle when agitated. So, when I got it in the mail, I had to search for more information online on how it bubbles, because the bubbles almost made me think it might have gone bad. Thankfully, it wasn’t spoiled.

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It’s similar to maple syrup, but not as sweet, with indescribable subtle notes of flavor that can get lost in a recipe if one adds too many other ingredients with stronger flavors. That’s why I decided to make these cookies. Because even though there is only 1/4 cup, you can sense that there is something in this recipe that’s different. When putting it in the batter, it reminded me of angostura bitters, with a similar orange-ish color to it. I guess you could also describe it as earthy or spicy. So…this is a simplification but, think of it as sort of a cross between molasses and maple, with a brighter color, not as sweet as maple, but not as bitter or strong as molasses, with subtle indescribable notes of flavor. Does that help? Hope you enjoy!! Have a great week ahead!

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Birch Chocolate Chip Cookies (recipe from Alaska Birch Syrup Company)

ingredients

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 c butter, softened

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup Birch Syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 eggs

8 ounces semi-sweet mini chocolate chip morsels

1 cup toasted, chopped pecans

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method

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl.  Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, birch syrup and vanilla  in large bowl.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Gradually add flour mixture.  Stir in morsels and nuts.  Drop by rounded tablespoon onto un greased baking sheets.  Bake at preheated 350 F oven for 9-11 minutes.  Let stand for 2 minutes and remove to rack and let cool.

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13 thoughts on “Birch Chocolate Chip Cookies

  1. i never heard of birch syrup either. it sounds great in these cookies and i’d love to try it on ice cream!

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  2. They look great Dave! We use birch syrup in our desserts a lot at work, up here in Toronto. Pretty common here. Molasses is actually the bi-product of the sugar refinement process. It’s the part of the sugar that contains nutrients so-to-speak (and all the flavour!) I’m not sure about shipping prices, but you might be able to find birch syrup for a decent price through a Canadian vendor. I’ll check it out!

    Have a great vacation! These really look like the kind of texture I like in a cookie, crispy edge and soft center… might have to try them!

    Ciao! Ashley

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    • Thanks for the info, Ashley! I think There might be some from Alaska that might be cheaper, too. I appreciate you checking. Do you any recipes you can share that really showcase this syrup? I imagine most recipes with maple can be adapted for this.

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      • Definitely you can use substitution for many recipes that contain maple. It lends well to nut products, so a good old fashioned pecan pie filling can work deliciously with birch, as well as maybe swirling it into the top of a cheesecake, flavouring a pannacotta with it, or maybe even a quick batch of simple homemade granola.

        You can substitute it for the maple syrup in certain recipes, or you can just add it into things like a flavour extract!

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  3. Hi Dave!!! How cool are these cookies?! I’m getting so curious now about this birch syrup…mmm…I have to find a way to get it somehow :)!!! It must have a very interesting and quite different flavor! And the idea to add it into cookies batter is so good!

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    • It’s similar to molasses in flavor, but more mild, kind of tangy and spicy, and not as thick, but more like maple syrup. Having made these and some muffins, it’s a little challenging to use, because you don’t want it to disappear by using stronger tasting ingredients, but at the same time, you don’t want to use too much of it, because it’s kind of on the spendy side. I do like the taste of it, the more I use it. But it goes fast. I bought a cup of it for about $25 US, and it’s all gone already!

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