It’s the start of episode 1.08 – Love, War, and Snow. I’m not sure where you’re reading this from, but I am carrying out this project from the heart of Fort Worth, Texas, and May here is basically the beginning of summer. Not exactly prime time for smelling snow. To quote my dear friend Natalie, “Spring in Texas is like an engagement ring. It’s a small treasure that invites you to commit to this big state. But then you’re stuck all summer with humidity and high temps. I’m not saying summer is like marriage, but…” Of course she was kidding, (about the marriage part), but it’s not too far off from Lorelai’s snow-induced date night with Max, and we all know how that ultimately works out…
After three weeks of party food, I was looking forward to a much needed break from elaborate appetizers. Throughout this entire project thus far, I would say things have gone pretty well. If you had asked me up until this point which recipe would have been the most challenging for me, I probably would have said it was the Angel Wings with Dipping Sauce, which coincidentally turned out to be not too challenging at all and a huge hit. It’s easily been my most popular post to date. I never would have guessed that I would have been taken down by a recipe with literally one ingredient.
Let’s first take note that it’s May, not exactly snowflake-mold season. Thank God for Amazon who has everything at all times. Only, I completely suck at visualizing dimensions and accidentally ordered a silicone mold that was the size of a graham cracker. So I sent that one back in exchange for basically a four pack of snowflake shaped cupcake molds. At that point I said screw it, I have to make this work. So next came the issue of making the candy. I think I’ve emulated Sookie’s ego a little too closely because I was not sweating making these candies even a little bit.
Monday rolls around (I normally make my recipes over the weekend in case of errors – go figure) and I get to making the candy. After reading many different instructions, it looked like it was simple enough – boil two cups of maple syrup to a soft ball temperature, let cool, stir and pour into the molds. The thing I often forget is that just because something is simple does not mean that it is easy. Lesson learned.
Try one resulted in soupy silicone molds of syrup due to not boiling to the right temperature. My brain could just not comprehend that 212º is “different” in every kitchen depending on elevation and climate. Apparently you need to boil the syrup anywhere from 32-34º above boiling point, and that does not just mean a solid 246º for everyone. My second time and second bottle of pure maple syrup around (that stuff ain’t cheap, you know!) it was all or nothing. I definitely got the syrup to boil at the correct temperature, so far so good, but I lacked the urgency in transferring it to the molds quickly enough and I ended up mushing the sugar down into a couple of molds enough to resemble a snowflake. I probably should have mushed them into the shape of butts like Michel had originally suggested instead. I came away with three chipped but solid maple sugar snowflakes!
All aesthetics aside, maple candy is GOOOD y’all. I mean you can’t go wrong with just eating straight sugar. But these melt in your mouth and taste like maple-y heaven.
Rating: Try it, but have your maple syrup tap ready in the tree out back, cause it might take a few tries.
Maple Sugar Snowflakes
1 bottle (8 oz) of pure amber maple syrup
Heat your syrup without stirring to 34º above boiling, for me it was just above 250º on my candy thermometer, and right around the soft ball stage. Remove the syrup from heat and let cool for three minutes. Stir with a wooden spoon until the syrup is thick and lightly golden. It happens quickly so do not over stir. Pour into molds and let set for at least ten minute, and up to a few hours. Store in an airtight container. Enjoy!