Temperatures are warming, buds are swelling, and taps are being pulled. Sugaring season is winding down. Hopefully you’ve had a chance to make some of your own syrup from your backyard trees. If not, there are plenty of sugaring operations ready to sell you some of this season’s syrup hot off the evaporator. There are many good ways to consume maple syrup: on pancakes, waffles, or french toast; in yogurt; on cottage cheese; stirred into tea or in a latte; as a glaze on roasted meats; or heated and served on snow. The one down side of maple syrup, if you are the type that has to find something wrong in anything nearing perfection, is that it tends to lend a dark and heavy flavor. But fear not, there is a solution to this and it is called maple cream.
You start off with 100% pure grade A maple syrup. Heat it to 24 degrees Fahrenheit above the boiling point of water and then transfer the heated syrup immediately to a bowl sitting in an ice water bath. Allow the temperature to cool to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, remove the bowl from the ice water bath and begin stirring. Continue stirring. And stirring. And stirring… You should notice that the syrup has thickened and is becoming tacky. Keep stirring. Stir with a wooden spoon until you the color changes to a light creamy brown and the syrup loses its shine. At this point, the maple cream should be smooth. Pour into a mason jar and store in the refrigerator.
There are many uses for maple cream. Some folks enjoy putting a dollop or two into their morning coffee. You can spread it on top of fresh homemade donuts. My personal favorite way to consume this tasty maple treat is to spread it on toasted english muffins. Despite its heavy syrupy source, the flavor of maple cream is bright and light on the tongue but still packs a sugary wallop with a distinctive maple kick. It is like its parent ingredient in that there really is no wrong way to eat it.