Since starting this blog over a year ago, my technologically unadaptable mother has been snatching up cookbooks, yes people still use them occasionally, of note that she’ll think I might enjoy. With this one, she hit the nail on the head:
For real? This is so perfect. It was originally published in the 30’s and has all kinds of Yankee jargon that makes no sense to me but is a blast to read through.
Maple caramels. Growing up in New York, we had real maple syrup on the table and I remember actually driving to a maple tree farm to buy a gallon, as well as some maple candy which my dad adored. But that was New York, and I’m now in Tennessee with a fiance that grew up on Ms. Butterworth’s. That, and I’m not made of money. The good stuff is expensive! But every so often I treat myself…
But this isn’t about the syrup. This is about the maple sugar. Yup, sugar. I was concerned that it would be difficult to find as well as expensive but after a little Google hunt, I found that Trader Joe’s carries it for less than 5 bucks. Score!
Per wikipedia: “Maple sugar is what remains after the sap of the sugar maple is boiled for longer than is needed to create maple syrup”. Had I not decided to make this recipe, I would have never discovered the delightfulness that is this sugar. It’s exactly what you think it would be – sweet with a maple flavor. The possibilities of the things I’m going to make with this new treasure are endless.
Before we begin, it must be noted that my first batch did not turn out as well as I’d hoped. I halved the batch, and didn’t include ‘nut meats’ (hee hee). And although it was really REALLY good, it didn’t quite solidify like I wanted it to. It was still very sticky after sitting in the freezer overnight. I reheated it in a pan on the stove with a splash of cream, and now have an insanely good caramel syrup that is outrageous on ice cream. That, my friends, is what we call efficiency.
My second batch didn’t turn out so well either. I cooked it too long and it turned into a literal brick. When cooking caramel, temperature is everything so be sure to invest the 4 dollars for a legit candy thermometer and don’t rely on a meat thermometer that only goes to 220. Like I may or may not have done…
Either way, this is an edited version of the original recipe, tweaked a bit to ensure a better texture but retain all the original awesome flavor.
Yields: about 50 candies
Difficulty: Medium – candy making isn’t my forte (see above note)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup maple sugar
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup corn syrup
- 1/4 cup water
- Line an 8×8 baking dish with tin foil (my route) or parchment paper. DO NOT USE WAX PAPER! I did for my second failed batch – epic, sticky disaster. Whichever method you use, be sure to coat liberally with butter, just to ensure there is no stickage.
- In a small sauce pan, warm the cream, butter, and salt over medium heat until just melted. Remove from heat.
- In the large pan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, and water. Stir until all the sugar is moistened, creating a past-like consistency.
- Don’t stir the sugar mixture. Simply Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and heat over medium heat until it reaches 250 degrees.
- Once the magic temperature is reached, slowly pour the warmed cream mixture into the sugar syrup while whisking gently. Stop whisking once all the milk and butter mixture has been added.
- Bring the of the carmel come back up to 245°F.
- Once the ideal temperature is reached, Immediately pour the caramel into the lined dish. Don’t worry about the goo at the bottom of the pan.
- Allow the caramel to cool. This will take way longer than you would like. But it’s worth it I promise. Honestly, wait overnight if you can. If not, two hours might suffice.
- After waiting an eternity, lift the caramel chunk out of the dish and onto a cutting board. Cut with a pizza cutter or a very sharp knife.
- After doing some research, I decided to invest 5 bucks into some of those papers that the grocery store used to pick out your donuts at the bakery. This way, I didn’t have to cut individual pieces for the caramels. Brilliant. Roll up, and twist at the ends!
I seriously considered putting a small piece of bacon on top of these, discovered I was out of bacon, and cried a bit. Next time…