You know spring will surely come when we turn our clocks forward and Maple sugar season is here. Maple Open House Weekend is this coming weekend the 19th and 20th. George hit the cooking show circuit as our local maple celebrity, appearing on Vermont Public Television’s Maple Cooks show, dishing up a batch of his infamous Maple Sugared Nuts. We haven’t seen any such goodies here in the office yet. But I did get him to sit down and give me his recipe.
The first time I asked him for it I got, ” 4 parts nuts, 1 part syrup, bring to 245-250 and then dump the syrup on the nuts and stir with a big wooden spoon, then dump on a cookie sheet.” Easy, I thought. Then I tried and it was an unholy mess. First off I put in too big of a pan and so I scorched the bottom. Then I tried with a smaller pan that was not deep enough and it foamed up and went all over the stove top. My candy thermometer was a dud, and I practically burnt my hand holding it over the boiling syrup to get the reading.
So I came back at him with a couple of follow-up questions and needled out the rest of the recipe.
4 parts nuts: as in any kind of nuts you like, George uses a walnut, cashew, pecan combo.
1 part maple: the darker the better, grade B if you find it.
Choose a pan that is deep enough that will allow the syrup to rise up to 4 times the depth. Also use butter (or margarine if dairy allergic) to coat the sides of the pan to prevent foaming.
Cooking should take about 15- 20 minutes. When it gets to temperature, then pour it into a large bowl filled with the nuts. Then stir for about 3-4 minutes with a sturdy wooden spoon. It will start off as a ball of goop, then will start breaking apart when it cools. Then dump the nuts onto a cookie sheet.