These candies are a wonderful sweet treat that just scream fall to me. I’ve certainly eaten maple candy many times before, but had no idea how simple it would be to make it at home. These don’t require much work and really the most difficult or time consuming step is waiting for the heated sugar mixture to cool down to the correct temperature before mixing. (On that note, I know from experience – don’t start making these at 8:45 pm on an evening when you need to wake up at 5:30 am the next morning.) The maple flavor combined with the warmth of the pecans is perfect, and the smooth creamy texture of the candy is spot on. A drizzle of dark chocolate on top might be a nice added touch, but I love them the way they are. In case you’re heading to a Thanksgiving meal where you won’t need to contribute much, I think a little package of these candies would be a lovely hostess or host gift.
Yield: one 9 x 9 pan
1 cup pure dark amber maple syrup
2 cups sugar
1 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp. light corn syrup
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup toasted, coarsely chopped pecans
Lightly oil a 9 x 9-inch baking pan. In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the maple syrup, sugar, cream and corn syrup. Heat the mixture over medium-high heat until it reaches 236° F on a candy or instant-read thermometer.
Remove from the heat and transfer the mixture to the metal bowl of an electric mixer. Let stand at room temperature until it has cooled to 110 ° F. (This takes quite a while, so go find something else to do for a bit.)
When the mixture has reached the appropriate temperature, add in the vanilla extract and beat with the paddle attachment on medium speed just until it begins to thicken and loses its gloss. Be careful not to over-beat, which can cause a grainy texture.
Use a rubber spatula to fold in the chopped pecans. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking pan and spread into an even layer. Allow to cool and set for several hours before cutting and serving.