As shorter, cooler days usher in the next season, my thoughts are turning to making maple sugar.
While I can’t deny her beauty under the hands of crisp New Hampshire September nights, I have greeted Autumn hesitantly ever since our family moved to New England three years ago. I hate saying goodbye to the most amazing summer days I have ever experienced on this side of heaven. I’m not kidding, August in New Hampshire’s lake region is that wondrous. But thoughts of maple sugar, maple cream, and maple sugar–which I never appreciated before being a New Englander–are something I now welcome with abandon.
Like most years, Autumn snuck in, in my peripheral vision. Being my usual self, I’m in denial. I hear Autumn under every step. I see her in the sugar maple’s yellow patches that dot every walk in the woods or drive down a back road. I notice her deadly effects on my brittle, brown squash vines and browning corn stalks.
Yet diligent bees still work to find healthy garden blooms, our broody hen who loves being a momma has hatched more chicks, and I am in denial. Yes, amidst all the reminders of the cool weather ahead, the bees, Eagle (my hen), and I ignore that Autumn has returned.
I try to ignore that she is stealing my summer produce and easy, warm milking mornings only to replace them with unrippening tomatoes and frosty breath when we greet Scout and Selah in the field at 6:45 every morning.
While thoughts of bonfires and apple picking ease the shock a little, to truly ease my grip on another perfect New England summer that I don’t want to end, I turn my thoughts to something else. Today I’m sharing with you a little part of one of the tastiest things of the long New England winter ahead… maple sugar and how to make it yourself.
I heard on the radio last week that all things maple flavored are the hottest thing this fall, overtaking even delicious pumpkin. So I decided it was about time I share my secret with you. The secret of DIY maple sugar.
And not one sugar maple tree or tap is required. You can make your own maple sugar from any real maple syrup that you can buy. If, on the other hand, you want to read up on how to make maple syrup from your own trees, you’ll find tons of information right here, on SoulyRested.
If you don’t know what you’d do with maple sugar, I need to enlighten you on the 10 reasons maple sugar is the best sweetener you could ever use. Really. Check them out. You’ll be shocked.
How to make your own maple sugar.
You could buy all-natural maple sugar. But why pay $20 or more for a tiny bag when you can actually make this marvelous sweetener right in your own kitchen. Today.
You just need some genuine maple syrup, a commercial-quality mixer, a candy thermometer, and a good dose of patience. (We’ve read that if you’re very patient, and have strong hands, you can attempt to do this by hand. But we’ve never attempted it. In the mixer it can take 15 minutes or more of mixing, so I can’t imagine how long it would take by hand.)
Step 1. Heat.
First, heat the syrup to 252-257˚F. Once it reaches that temperature, remove the pan from the heat and pour the now-darker-and-thicker syrup into your mixer’s bowl.
Step 2. Mix.
That’s when you start mixing. And mixing. And then mix some more. We use our Kitchen Aid mixer, but we will absolutely need to get a truly commercial mixer for this purpose if we start making a large quantity of it at any given time, because it definitely puts a beating on the mixer’s motor.
Step 3. Beat.
As it starts turning to granulated sugar (trust me, it will happen, magically), it may rise up in volume. If you need to, turn off the mixer, and the volume will decrease again. But be sure to keep mixing the sugar until all moisture has been beat out of it and the sugar is finely granulated. It will look similar to commercially packaged brown sugar.
Or, if your batch of maple syrup that you started with was heavier on the crystalized side, like ours was last winter, you’ll have large granules of sugar that you may want to work through a sieve to make finer quality sugar. (We kept some in the larger granules too; they’re great for ice cream and cupcake sprinkles or dissolving in my morning cup of hot tea.)
The process is a little bit more complicated than this, so I go into greater detail in the eBook I’m giving away, for a limited time, in my Subscriber Resource Library. Scroll to the end of this post and snag my free eBook, plus a lot more resources, as soon as you subscribe.
My new eBook, Make Maple Sugar, in 3 simple steps! does much more than outline exactly how to make maple sugar. This 14-page, full-color eBook explains why maple sugar is one of the best all-natural sweeteners you can use, as well as outlining lots of great ways to use it! So purchase your copy here or (better yet!) snag it while it’s in my subscriber resource library for free for a limited time!
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