Maple candy brings back memories of teenage loitering, wandering between shops along the main drag of my chintzy hometown, spending my babysitting money on sugar, salt, and Hypercolor jackets. Pure maple sugar, concentrated in the figure of a quaint leaf or lighthouse, flooded our brains and fueled the many evenings of pointless hyperactivity.
I bought some maple candy recently at the fair, and it powered me through the crafts tent at the end of a long day. I realized then that maple candy, though a one-way ticket to diabetes in any significant quantity, is practically a whole food! It has only one ingredient! And it comes from trees!
Maple candy can get expensive. Making your own at home is cheaper, and not too difficult. Half of an $18 quart of syrup gave me one pound of candy, enough to cause a racing pulse and blackouts. Not a bad deal.
I followed this recipe, and I have a few hints:
1. Use a tall pot. When the syrup hits its boiling point, a cloud of sticky, burning froth will rise up in a flash. I don't need to tell you how much it would hurt to get this maple magma on your hands, or how awful it would be if hot syrup hardened instantly on your stovetop. So use a tall pot.
2. You'll need a candy thermometer. They are not expensive.
3. While the syrup boils in step 5, don't leave the stove. Stand there, breathing in maple fumes, while you wait for the exact moment the syrup reaches its desired temperature. This happens quickly!
4. In step 7, stir only until "the liquid loses its gloss and starts to become opaque." If you wait too long the syrup will harden as you try to pour it into your molds. I stirred too long, and the heart and star above were the only candies I managed to get into my teeny tiny bundt pan. The rest look like lumpy (but delicious) rocks.
Wouldn't maple candy be perfect for Halloween? Or Christmas? Or today? Enjoy!