In another two months or so... weather dictating, of course... it will be time to tap trees and make maple syrup again. I have about three to four gallons left from last season, and I've been hankering for Maple cream, so I made a batch yesterday. Now, mind you, I've attempted this before; sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't. This time, it did! (And even when it doesn't, I still end up with lovely Maple Sugar; it's scrumptious in coffee!)
Here is the process... I started with half a gallon of maple syrup and poured it into a reliable stainless pot. It is important not to use too small of a pot, as the syrup needs room to come to a full rolling boil. Heat on high and boil away. You want the temperature to reach 235 degrees. (It is well worth investing in a digital candy thermometer.) This photograph shows the syrup as it's been boiling for 5 minutes...
As the syrup continues to boil, it will quickly shrink down in the pot and the foam swiftly condenses. Do not leave the pot at this time, as it can boil over. The syrup has now been boiling for 10 minutes. Keep inserting the thermometer and checking the temperature... remember, you want it to reach 235 degrees.
And I'll say it again... do not leave the boiling syrup... it may boil over. Then, what a mess you'll have to clean up.
When the temperature reaches 235 degrees, remove from heat and immediately place the mixture, pot and all, into a sinkfull of cold water. Let it sit, undisturbed (do not stir) until the temperature cools down to about 100 degrees.
When it has cooled to 100 degrees, remove the pot from the sink and begin stirring with a wooden spoon. Stir, and stir, and stir and...
stir and stir. You will notice that the dark amber color of the syrup begins to lighten ever-so-slightly
It will continue to lighten, and you'll notice it getting a little more harder to stir as it begins to thicken up. Keep stirring... in all, I stirred this batch for about 20 minutes.
It is ready to put into containers when the Maple Cream has been stirred to the consistency of all-natural peanut butter. Do not keep stirring past this point.
Scoop out the Maple Cream and put it into your jars. Remember, I started with 1/2 gallon of maple syrup. I ended up with over a quart of Maple Cream.