If you haven’t had maple cream (a.k.a. maple butter) before, then you’re missing out on maple syrup in one of its most decadent, delicious forms. To make maple cream, you simply heat maple syrup to the cusp of soft ball stage, cool it down, and then slowly stir it until the sugars crystallize and form a light, spreadable cream. It’s wonderful on toast, mixed into frosting, or simply eaten right off a spoon. —Carey Nershi
approximately 3 1/2 cups
100% pure maple syrup (Grade A Light Amber is ideal)
cream (or substitute oil to keep it dairy-free)
First, double check the temperature at which water boils with the thermometer you’ll be using. If it boils at 212° F, then you can follow the recipe as is and heat the syrup to 235° F. If it boils at +/- 212° F, add or subtract the difference to/from 235° F to determine your target final temperature for the syrup.
Prepare an ice bath. Combine syrup and cream in a heavy sauce pan with high sides. (The syrup will bubble and rise as it boils, so choose a pan that is at least double the volume to avoid boiling over.) Clip a thermometer to the side of the pan so that it is submerged in the syrup, but not touching the bottom.
Without stirring, heat the syrup to 235° F. Once it reaches 235° F, immediately remove it from the heat. If you will be stirring the syrup by hand, you can leave it in the pan and place the pan directly in the ice bath. If you will be using a stand mixer, pour the syrup into the mixing bowl (provided it’s a stainless steel bowl, not a glass one!) and place the bowl in the ice bath. Stick the entire thing in the fridge until the syrup has cooled to approximately 40 to 45° F.
Once the syrup has cooled, remove it from the fridge and ice bath, and allow it to warm up a bit, to approximately 55 to 60° F. If you’re using a stand mixer, affix the paddle attachment and stir the syrup on the lowest setting. If you’re stirring by hand, stir the syrup slowly -- don’t try to whip it quickly. Also, invite some friends over to help. Your arms will thank you.
Stir until the syrup begins to thicken and lighten in color, and takes on a creamy consistency that somewhat holds its shape when stirred.
Store the cream in the fridge for up to 6 months. It is normal for some syrup to separate and rise to the top over time. If this happens, just give it a good stir to reincorporate. (The cream can also be safely canned and stored at room temp, then refrigerated after opening.)