i received a solid block of maple sugar (!!!) as a gift—what should i do with it (besides grate it over oatmeal)?
You mean besides popping little chunks of it in your mouth when you're alone in the kitchen?
Use it to make candied bacon in the oven, or grate it over anything you'd sprinkle with sugar before baking - cookies, muffins, tarts, etc. - an apple or pear tart sounds good this time of year. Dollop creme fraiche or sour cream over berries and grate it on top (one of my faves, usually with brown sugar, in the summer.)
Forgot - cut an acorn squash in half, scoop out the seeds, put a chunk of butter, a spoonful of unsweetened applesauce and s&p in the cavity, then grate the maple sugar on top. Bake until tender and caramelized on top. Trust me on this.
Make maple flavored anything you'd like. I love it in maple walnut ice cream, maple mousse, maple pound cake. Really good in a glaze for baked ham, or ribs..Walnut pie.
Use it in homemade BBQ sauces. add it to your pancake/crepe/french toast batter. add some in place of honey in vinaigrettes. make gravlax and use it in place of the white sugar (salmon + maple = ugggggh) or put some on top of salmon and smoke it on a cedar plank on the bbq. add it to a glaze for cinnamon buns.
i particularly like the maple flavor with grilled fish, especially salmon.
How about as the crust of of a crème brulee in place of white sugar. A crème brulee that has a flavored custard like pistachio or earl grey would be delicious topped with a maple sugar crust. You could also use maple sugar in place of white sugar in the custard and topping!
I love using maple sugar where I can't use maple syrup, such as in a crisp or crumble topping. It's got the right kind of sandy texture.
try my easy maple pecan polvorones!:
I love adding maple sugar to hot buttered popcorn, yogurt, BBQ sauce, pulled pork before or after I start the slow cooking, to grainy mustard, i.e. just about anywhere !