Monday, December 26, 2011

Maple Caramels

Montreal was at -15 degrees Celsius when I visited it almost nine years ago. I was lucky because it had warmed up from the -30-degree weather from the previous week. "Run," the reception clerk at the hotel advised me, "when you reach these street corners," (she pointed at the map) "as the wind is strong and chilly."

During the first couple of days of my stay, I was brave enough to visit the outdoors, especially the old part of the city, near the port, as I slipped and slid on the steep icy sidewalks that were buried in snow. (Near the end of the trip I chose instead to listen to and purchase music cds in French because the underground five-floor shopping malls were less of a challenge). It was during my visit to the Old City that I saw maple caramels in the souvenir shop windows, that had maple-shaped store signs and turquoise-and-brown dreamcatchers hanging from the ceiling. I don´t remember the names of the stores I visited, but here are some links to a couple of shops:

Canada produces 85% of the world´s maple syrup. El Salvador doesn´t produce any, so I searched for a candy version that uses maple extract instead. The recipe is from
I´ve already included the recommended substitution for real maple syrup in mine:

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/8 tsp. salt
2 oz. butter (1/4 cup)
1/4 cup milk
6 tbsps. corn syrup
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. maple extract

Place all the ingredients except the nuts, vanilla, and maple extract in a pan. Bring to a boil, and mix until it reaches the soft ball stage, at 245 degrees F. Take the pan off the heat and add the extracts and the nuts. Be careful to not go past the soft ball stage. If you do, just add some more water to it and place it on the heat again until it reaches the soft ball stage again. Or wait till the following day, so you can do it more calmly if you´re too tired to attempt it the second time. Its resulting texture should be like Kraft caramels, not like a lollipop. Unless you prefer lollipops.

The candy looks a lot like walnut caramels that I made once, from a recipe in the Betty Crocker´s Christmas Cookbook, called Walnut Caramels, which don´t have any maple flavoring in them, though.

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