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Make Homemade Maple Candy
Here is a great activity for including with a unit study on colonialism or on pioneers. Then again, consider including with a geographic study of New England in the USA or on natural foods.
Men and boys from several families often shared the work of gathering maple sap in early spring. This shared work usually turned into a festive occasion and parties would occur. The syrup was boiled down into syrup right in the forest near where the sap was being gathered. After all, it kept the threat of fire further from the homestead, and since is takes gallon upon gallon of sap to make even one gallon of syrup, it was less work as well.
In this recipe, you start with syrup rather than sap to prepare one of the favorite candies of colonial children.
2 cups of pure maple syrup*
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
air tight container
1. Cook syrup over very low heat until boiling. Remember to stir frequently to keep from sticking or scorching.
2. Boil until temperature on the candy thermometer reads 233 degrees Fahrenheit.
3. Remove from heat and cool for about one hour Ö or until temperature is about 110 degrees Fahrenheit.
4. Add the vanilla extract and heat until smooth and fluffy.
5. Shape this mixture into small patties. You can also shape them using candy molds which makes for a pretty touch. Pioneers would sometimes shape their candies using butter molds.
6. Store candies in airtight containers to keep them from drying out.
*Maple syrup can be expensive depending on where you live. Iíve also heard of using maple flavored pancake syrup, but you would need to use good quality syrup as some are too runny.
Another alternative to maple syrup is to use molasses, sorghum, or cane syrup. These each have their own textures and flavors but will produce similar results, though more chewy than maple. Cane syrup refers to syrup from sugar cane.