Vermont - The Green Mountain State
Official Motto: Freedom and Unity
Suggested Motto: Upside down New Hampshire
Two Truths and a Lie
Ethan Allen was not a furniture salesman, but rather the founder of Vermont. During the Revolutionary War, he led troops into battle against the traitor Benedict Arnold. His military victories earned him a near-unanimous vote to become Vermont’s first governor.
Today, the Connecticut River separates Vermont from New Hampshire, but millions of years ago, the two states lay on separate continents. This geographic history influences the rather pronounced political, economic, and cultural differences between these neighbors.
In 2000 Vermont passed landmark legislation to give same-sex couples legal rights in the form of civil unions. The debate leading up to this law was so contentious, the governor took to wearing a bulletproof vest.
The Recipe - Maple Sugar Cookies
Vermont’s name is French for “Green Mountains.” These famous mountains run north to south across the state. At the end of the last Ice Age, retreating glaciers depressed the Green Mountains allowing the Atlantic Ocean to rush in, deposit sediment then slowly retreat. Today Vermont is landlocked, but those oceanic minerals left their legacy in rich topsoil that supports lush forests of beech, birch, and maple. The sugar maple is the official state tree, and its delicious sap is the official state flavor.
I had a favorite maple shortbread recipe, but it involved reducing maple syrup by half which was always a messy, inconsistent step. If I waited too long for the maple reduction to cool, it solidified and refused to cream with butter. If I waited too little, it melted my butter, which ruined the consistency of the cookie. To avoid this problem, I purchased a packet of maple sugar straight from Vermont. Maple sugar forms when the maple sap is cooked beyond the syrup stage and then agitated as it cools so that it becomes granular.
I took a classic holiday cookie recipe and substituted maple sugar for white cane sugar. To make things extra special I browned my butter and let it cool before mixing; an annoying time delay but worth it for the flavor. I rolled the dough nice and thin and cut out arboreal shapes with a brand-new cutter. After six minutes in the oven, the aroma permeated my kitchen. Only six cookies were on the tray, but that maple was so powerful it smelled like a church hall pancake feed.
I made a green glaze to honor the green mountains and clumsily decorated the cookies. Admittedly, royal icing in a piping bag would have achieved a better result, but Vermont is a rustic place so I think my approach works.
My husband ate half the batch, claiming these just may be the best thing I’ve ever baked. The maple sugar is pricey, but definitely worth it for the exquisite flavor.
Want to experience Vermont for yourself? Then Teresa recommends ...
I have not had the pleasure of visiting Vermont. I have drooled over brochures selling bike tours along the shore of Lake Champlain with stops at multiple craft breweries. Until I can make that happen, I'll just enjoy the poems of Robert Frost and eat Ben & Jerry’s one pint at a time.
Time for the whole truth
Ethan Allen was a founder of Vermont, but he fought with Benedict Arnold to seize Fort Ticonderoga and died before Vermont achieved statehood.
(By the way, you can click on any of the 2 truths and a lie statements to visit the source of the trivia)