Author Notes: You can, of course, make this with regular walnuts, but the black walnuts are special. 25 years ago my husband and I planted two black walnut trees. Nuts trees grow slowly, and decades passed with no nuts. A few years ago, a handful of nuts began to appear each year, but hardly anything worth harvesting----until 2011. This year, nuts rained down from the trees by the gallon. The husks will stain your hands a deep brown (they make an excellent dye), so we donned our rubber dish gloves and set to work. Now that the walnuts are husked, there's a long Maine winter ahead, time for cracking their famously hard shells with our Kenkel cracker. This winey, intense flavor of black walnuts makes this maple fudge especially delicious. - mainecook61
Makes 18 pieces
- 2 cups maple syrup (Grade B is best here)
- 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped black walnuts, toasted
- Butter a loaf pan. Combine maple and corn syrups, cream, and milk in a deep saucepan. (The syrup will rises several inches up the sides of the pan.) Cook, without stirring, until the mixture reaches 238 degrees (soft ball stage) on a candy thermometer.
- Remove the pan from the heat and set in a cool place until the mixture is lukewarm. You should be able to put your hand comfortably on the bottom of the pan when it is ready.
- Beat the mixture using an electric mixer (or a wooden spoon if you're hardy) until the mixture begins to thicken and lose its shine. It will turn lighter. This may take up to ten minutes of mixing. Then, working quickly before it firms up, beat in the vanilla and add the walnuts. Spoon the fudge into the pan, using your fingers to smooth it out.
- Cut the fudge into the size pieces you'd like, then set it aside for a few hours to firm up more.