Make Your Own Maple Taffy on Snow... Anywhere in the World
Maple taffy is the stuff that childhood dreams are made of: sticky, sickeningly sweet sugar with a hint of woodsy flavor. It's also a significant source of antioxidants and minerals, including calcium, vitamin B2, zinc, potassium and magnesium.
Maple syrup has HEALTH BENEFITS. Granted they're offset by the negative effects its sugar content has on the organism, but if you insist on ingesting sugar, it might as well be a maple product. After all, refined sugar contains at best trace nutrients and it has a higher glycemic index than its maply counterpart. Even agave syrup doesn't hold a candle to maple syrup's nutritional value.
Maple Taffy... Maple Syrup... What's the Difference?
One word: concentration. The difference between maple taffy and maple syrup is that taffy has less water content, hence its denser, thicker consistency. In other words, maple taffy is essentially boiled maple syrup.
Use Snow In Your Backyard, Or Make Your Own Snow With This Maple Taffy Recipe
Making maple taffy at home is easy, so easy that one try of this recipe will leave you wondering why you didn't start doing it sooner, especially if you live near snow and have sugar-addicted children. But even if you've never touched a snowflake in your life, my maple taffy recipe features workarounds so that anyone can experience a Canadian tradition in their own home, regardless of season.
As long as you can secure real 100% pure maple syrup, then you're good to go at any time of the year in any climate. As for those of you with access to copious mounds of snow, you couldn't ask for a more fun activity to do with the little ones as winter turns to spring. It's such a popular activity in Quebec that it might as well be christened an official rite of passage.
Maple Taffy Ingredients
1 to 3 cups of pure maple syrup (1 cup is enough for a small family of three)
1 to 2 teaspoons of butter (it reduces splutter and spillover)
candy thermometer (not mandatory, but preferable)
snow (or finely crushed ice)
Maple Taffy Instructions
On medium heat, bring maple syrup and butter to a boil while stirring constantly. If using a candy thermometer, remove maple taffy from heat when the mercury reaches anywhere from 235ºF to 245ºF. If you're making taffy without a candy thermometer, then keep stirring the syrup at a boil for roughly 10 minutes. Once this step is complete, remove taffy from heat and let it cool until all bubbles subside. Then conduct a test by pouring a small amount on snow. Is the taffy thick yet supple enough that it wraps around a popsicle stick with ease? Does it stay put on the stick? Perfect. You're good to go.
Is the taffy too thin? Then put it back on the heat and bring to a boil again for 2 to 5 minutes max. And try the snow test again. Is it too thick and rigid? Then add small increments of water and stir until the taffy reaches desirable consistency, then reheat and conduct the snow test again.
Don't have any snow nearby? No problem. Just improvise. Use finely crushed ice for an authentic sugar shack experience. Or if you can't be bothered to do all that crushing, fill a shallow baking pan with vanilla ice cream. Or better yet, try a water-based ice treat like sorbet. Neither offer quite the same effect as a traditional cabane à sucre experience, but it comes close. The trick is to have an edible ice cold base on which to pour the piping hot maple taffy.
See? I told you it was easy.