Disclaimer: Do not make this stuff if you have a big sweet tooth, seriously love maple, and think you could sit down with a spoon and a jar and do serious damage to your waistline. Because I gotta say it is taking all my will power not to do just that.
I have shoved it to the back of the fridge, happy that I only made half a batch. I will not allow myself to make this more than once every few months. For one thing, good maple syrup is spendy! For another, well I just don't have enough gumption to stay out of it. This is one exceptionally decadent, (and sweet), condiment. You may have seen it on the shelf of some specialty stores or very well stocked grocery stores at an exorbitant price. That kind is lighter in color than mine because it is made from Grade A fancy maple syrup. I made mine with Grade B because that was all I had on hand. We just used up the last of the A for sourdough pancakes this week. ☺ So you will notice that the maple cream pictured has not only the consistency, but also the color of peanut butter. It's still awesome, but I will use the Grade A in future for color and authenticity. Also, the Grade A has the total sugar solids that will work the best for creaming as the recipe is written. I did have to cook the B a bit more and stir longer to get it to cream properly. All things considered though, I have made the maple sugar candy before and while it is really tasty, this delicious spread is a much easier undertaking, B or A. More forgiving on timing. And it still has that super creamy melt in mouth consistency of the commercial maple butters I have tried.
So if you are unfamiliar with maple butter or maple cream, it is basically a confection/spread. Pure, 100% maple syrup is what you get in the stores though I add a wee bit of butter to prevent too much foaming. This is optional or replaceable with coconut oil or another vegetable oil if you need it to be dairy free. All it takes is a saucepan, a candy thermometer (calibrated), and a little time. And of course the syrup. So what do we use it for? A spread for toast, bagels, muffins, pancakes, waffles, doughnuts, cupcakes and crepes; eaten straight out of the jar; a topping for sweet potatoes or baked squash; an inclusion in fruit pies; sweetener for coffee and tea; whatever other uses you can imagine! If you love maple bars from the bakery, you will love this stuff. I also understand there is a cinnamon maple cream - just add cinnamon - which I imagine would yield a phenomenal cinnamon toast! Remember if you try this out that hot sugar syrup of any kind has the potential to cause serious burns. Please be careful and keep the kids out of the kitchen for this one.
Homemade Maple Cream
makes about 1 lb
2 cups Grade A Light or Medium Amber pure maple syrup (for best, most consistent results, stick with Grade A)
¼ tsp butter (or cream or milk or oil)
Before you start, fill the sink or a large pan with cold water and a few ice cubes. Next fill a 2 Qt saucepan halfway with water and bring to a boil to determine the boiling point for your candy thermometer. Empty out the water and put in the syrup and butter. Boil over medium high heat without stirring, until the temperature reaches 24º over your water boiling point. Watch closely at the end, the temperature can move fast then. Immediately remove from heat and place in the pan or sink of cold water. Leave the thermometer in. Do not stir or disturb the syrup while it is cooling or cystals may form prematurely. When the syrup is nearly at room temperature, remove from the water bath. Stir slowly with a wooden spoon until the syrup loses its gloss and starts to turn opaque. This can take up to 15 minutes. Go slowly, you don't want to whip air into it. The consistency of peanut butter is the aim here. When it is nice and thick and your arm is ready to fall off, spoon it into clean glass jars and store in the refrigerator.