You know when someone asks what you’d want to eat for your last meal? I never know what the heck to say. Umm, everything?! There are really so many foods I adore, such as this maple butter. To be honest, I’d love nothing more than a huge vat of maple butter on my death bed. Ok, and maybe some homemade almond milk to wash it down. I’d kindly ask someone to feed it to me with a big wooden spoon and I wouldn’t even worry about ruining my appetite or splitting my pants. What a glorious way to kick the bucket.
I’ve wanted to make maple butter since I had my first visit to a maple farm as a little girl. They sent us home with maple leaf candy (the start of a lifelong obsession) and I’d watch in awe with my classmates as the adults showed us huge pots of boiling syrup in the chilly Canadian outdoors. The best part was when they’d throw syrup onto the snow and it turned into big chunks of maple candy for us to eat. Us kids, of course, thought that was magic. Even though I was very young, this experience instilled a warm curiosity about food from nature and an interest in making things from scratch.
In case some of you aren’t familiar, maple butter (or maple cream) is pure maple syrup that has been boiled to a certain temperature, left to decrease in temperature, and then whipped/stirred like crazy for a good 30-35 minutes. This technique is hard-freaking-work, but I certainly don’t regret making it. I was thankful though that Eric helped me with the stirring. Every 5 minutes we’d switch so one person could rest and watch the other moan and complain about how long it was taking. Ok, ok, it was more like a 7 minute to 3 minute split, but who’s counting?
Twenty-five minutes into the 35-minute marathon stirring session, self-doubt crept in. I was sure that it wasn’t brought to the right temperature or we didn’t use the right grade of maple syrup.
Eric, as always, shows me why I shouldn’t give up so easily. Not just with cooking, but with everything in life.
“Oh it will work, keep the faith.”
Of course he was right.
Right before my eyes, the shiny amber candy turned into a beautiful tan matte butter. It was the most rewarding, magical thing.
And then I got to lick the wooden spoon! And then scrape the pot! Suddenly, I forgot all about my tired, weary arms. I could now climb mountains.
Then we had it on muffins. Needless to say, it’s “hidden” in the back of the fridge where I will obviously discover it multiple times per day just by coincidence. Did I mention it’s good on oatmeal? And by good on oatmeal I mean good on everything.
Anyway, there’s no need for me to re-write the recipe today. I’m not reinventing the wheel, just using a technique that has been explained wonderfully elsewhere. America’s Test Kitchen has a video and step-by-step photos on their site and it helped me a lot. You can find the directions here.
The only thing I would add to their directions is to test your candy thermometre before you start. Just bring a pot of water to a boil and make sure that your thermometre reads about 212 F (the boiling point of water). Once you know it’s working properly, you can proceed with confidence. Oh and it’s also worth mentioning that you shouldn’t have any kids or pets around when making this. The syrup is extremely hot and dangerous so be careful. My last tip is to increase the heat fairly gradually from the start. I, of course, cranked the burner heat to MAX and it nearly boiled over sending me into a panicked frenzy (as if I wasn’t already). I’m sure the next time will go much more smoothly now that I know what to expect.
One more thing. Sketchie says hi. ….and stop bugging me when I sleep.
Have you ever tried maple butter before or made any type of candy at home?