Oh hello, maple cream. I’ve missed you!
For those of you that are unfamiliar with this substance, maple cream is simply maple syrup that is heated, cooled, then stirred until the consistency changes from a syrup to a thick cream. It’s awesome on toast, in frosting, off your fingers . . . in short: it rules. Now that we’re all on the same page, let’s get down to business!
Oh but first, a little back story. In my hometown of Jefferson, NY, we were lucky enough to have a great sap house called Buck Hill Farm. In addition to turning out an endless supply of amazing maple products, they also served breakfast on Saturdays and Sundays. This is where yours truly spent her weekends waiting tables throughout high school.
To this day, my parents still eat there every weekend. When I am lucky enough to make it to a BHF breakfast, I order the most annoying meal ever — a tiny bit of almost everything, because it’s all so delicious! I still have to resist the urge to ask for sides of maple syrup whenever I go out to breakfast elsewhere. (For some reason, people look at you like you’re crazy when you pour maple syrup all over everything outside of a sap house.)
Somehow, despite my maple addiction, I had all but forgotten about maple cream. But then, I happened upon Bite My Cake’s creamed honey post. Within moments, I was obsessing over finding recipes for its maple counterpart. I was almost immediately confused, however, as some sites noted that the syrup should be heated to 235°, cooled to 40°, then brought back up to room temperature before stirring, while others simply called for it to be heated to 235°, then cooled to 125° and stirred. Lucky for me, all I had to do was ask Sharon (owner/operator of BHF) which method she recommended, and she directed me toward the former. I’m not sure what sort of difference the extra cooling makes in the final product, and I’m sure both are rather similar. But I can say with certainty that the former method yields a delicious product. Feel free to try either, depending on how much effort you’d like to put into the process. (And if anyone has any insight into the reasons for the different methods, I would love to hear it!)
yield: Volume-wise, you should end up with just a little less cream than the amount of syrup you began with. (I used a quart of syrup and wound up with around 3 1/2 cups of cream.)
you will need:
- 100% pure maple syrup
- 1/4 tsp of cream (to keep the syrup from boiling over — you can substitute oil as well if you’d like to keep it dairy-free)
- candy thermometer
- heavy saucepan with high sides
- ice bath
Tip from Sharon: Water boils at different temperatures depending on elevation and other atmospheric factors (at sea level the BP is around 212°, but will be lower at higher elevations). Since even a few degrees can make a difference when working with sugar, it is a good idea to heat a few cups of water in your saucepan before you begin working with the syrup and note the temperature at which it boils. If this is around 208–210°, you will only want to heat the syrup to around 232–233°, rather than 235.
Prepare an ice bath, along with the final bowl you will be mixing everything in (i.e., the stainless steel bowl of your stand mixer).
Combine syrup and cream/oil in the heavy saucepan. Without stirring, bring to a boil over medium heat. Clip the thermometer to the side of the pan so it is submerged in the syrup but not touching the bottom of the pan. (Or use two thermometers, if you’re as crazy paranoid about thermometer accuracy and over-cooking sugar as I am.)
Without stirring, heat mixture to somewhere between 232–235°, depending on your water BP test. Once the syrup reaches the appropriate temperature, immediately remove it from the heat and pour it into the other bowl, then place it in the ice bath.
Move the ice bath to a cold location (fridge, porch, etc.). Clip a thermometer to the side of the new bowl and let cool until the mixture reaches around 40°. (I was a little impatient and didn’t let it cool past about 50°, and it turned out fine.)
Remove the bowl from the ice bath and allow it to warm back up to room temperature. Once it has reached room temperature, mix the syrup on the lowest setting of your stand mixture using the paddle attachment. (Alternatively, you can mix it using a spoon, it will just take some persistence and elbow grease!)
Mix for around 25–30 minutes, or until the syrup thickens and turns into a beautiful creamy mixture. You’ll know it’s done once it tastes more sugary than syrup-y (if that makes any sense). (If that doesn’t make sense, continue stirring it around 7–10 minutes after it begins to take on a creamy consistency.) When you’ve achieved the taste and consistency you’re looking for, pour the cream into jars. Store in the fridge for up to 6 months. Enjoy it on practically everything!
(Note: It is natural for the cream to harden a bit in the fridge, as well as for some syrup to rise to the top. Just give it a good hearty stir to return it to its original consistency.)