In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Using your fingers or a fork, work the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Add the milk and vanilla, stirring until the dough is smooth.
In a large, wide saucepan or deep skillet, combine the maple syrup and water and bring to a boil. Using two spoons, drop 1-2 Tbsp spoonfulls of the batter in to the boiling syrup mixture. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes.*Do be careful here. Allow to cool slightly before tasting. Hot syrup can burn your lips!Serve warm dumplings over a scoop of vanilla ice cream, drizzled with some of the maple sauce from the pan.
Use a wide skillet or pan, as you'll need the surface room for the dumplings, as they float as they cook.