How to Make Homemade Maple Cream

Regular Food in Jars contributor Alex Jones is here today to share her family recipe for homemade maple cream. She transforms some real maple syrup into a gorgeous, spreadable cream that is perfect for your morning toast or a holiday cheese board. If this post doesn’t want to make you leap up and head to the kitchen, I don’t know what will! -Marisa

A can of real maple syrup for homemade maple cream

I have a confession to make: I’m a maple snob.

Growing up, my house always had real maple syrup to top pancakes, French toast, and ice cream. I didn’t even know that “pancake syrup” (typically an artificially flavored, corn syrup-based imitation of the real thing) was different from what my family used until I was a teenager, when I unwittingly poured it all over my breakfast at a friend’s house after a sleepover. Imitation just doesn’t compare.

We kept real maple syrup in the house not just because it’s incredibly delicious and we could to afford it, but because my mother’s family in Quebec would have disowned her — or sent a care package — if we hadn’t.

As an American-born cook with Canadian dual citizenship, maple syrup is part of my culinary heritage. My gaggle of aunts up Quebec, whose preserving habits and big gardens I’ve written about before, always give me a can of sirop d’erable pur to take home on my visits — if not a coveted bottle of homemade maple syrup, the really good stuff boiled down over a wood fire in my uncle’s sugar shack.

And just about the only thing more delicious than maple syrup is maple cream, a spreadable, velvety smooth maple reduction with a super-concentrated maple flavor. When I spied a spare can of syrup in my pantry while hunting for another ingredient, I decided to try making this pricey, hard-to-find treat myself.

Boiling maple syrup to make homemade maple cream

The good news is that maple cream, also called maple butter, is very simple to make. It requires just two ingredients, maple syrup and a tiny dab of butter, cream, or oil. Equipment-wise, a sturdy saucepan with high walls, a wooden spoon, a silicone spatula, a bowl of ice, a candy or instant-read thermometer (my preference), and a jar are all you need.

To make homemade maple cream, simply heat your maple syrup over medium (not medium-high) heat — no stirring, just checking the temperature. Keep a watchful eye on the pot during this recipe, as your hot syrup could boil over in an instant.

Boiling maple syrup for homemade maple cream reaching 235F

Once the syrup reaches 235oF, place the pot directly into a large bowl containing ice cubes and water. Allow the mixture to cool to 100oF (this will happen more quickly than you think). Then simply remove the pot from the ice bath, grab your wooden spoon, and stir the thickened maple syrup.

Stirring boiled maple syrup for homemade maple cream

And stir. And stir some more — for up to 30 minutes, by hand, as constantly as you can. I recommend switching hands frequently, using a pot with a long handle that you can grab for leverage, and gripping the pot between your knees so you can stir with one hand while giving the other a break. Or make sure a willing accomplice is around when you set out to make the recipe and trade off when your arms get tired.

The beginnings of homemade maple cream

You’ll see the maple cream lighten as you stir; eventually, it will become the color and texture of nut butter, and you can finally stop. The first photo of the mixture with the wooden spoon is the cream after 10 minutes of stirring, the second after 20, the last when it’s finished. I still managed to take some quick snapshots of the maple cream during this time, so a moment or two of rest here and there is ok.

At the end of the marathon of stirring, you’ll be rewarded with utterly smooth, ultra-maple-y cream that you can spread on bread, pancakes, waffles, cookies, crackers, pretzels, apple slices, whatever. I may have enjoyed it with nothing but the spoon.

Homemade maple cream in the pot

As soon as the maple cream reaches that tahini-colored stage, pour it quickly into your jar or jars. I can see this being perfect for a four-ounce gift size, decorated with some twine and maybe a colorful fall maple leaf, if you’ve got a tree growing nearby.

finished jar of homemade maple cream

A note about the stirring: while I encountered some recipes that said that homemade maple cream could be made with a stand mixer — a tempting prospect after just a few minutes of stirring by hand — it’s dissuaded by other sources, such as America’s Test Kitchen, which cautions that you may burn out your mixer’s motor churning maple cream for up to half an hour.

Not wanting to break my beautiful Kitchen Aid, I decided to give my arms a workout instead. If you feel up for the risk, you should be able to use a stand mixer with the paddle attachment for the stirring step, but be sure to monitor carefully so that you don’t overmix and miss the window to fill your jars while the mixture is still pourable.

Homemade Maple Cream

Ingredients

  • 1 pint maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon heavy cream, butter, or oil

Instructions

  1. Pour your maple syrup into a heavy-bottomed pot with high walls. Add the cream, butter, or oil.
  2. Prepare a heatproof bowl and fill it about one-third full of ice and a little water. Be sure the bowl is large enough to fit the ice water and the pot together.
  3. Heat the pot over medium, checking the temperature frequently with a candy or instant-read thermometer, until the syrup reaches 235 degrees F. Do not stir.
  4. When the mixture reaches 235 degrees F, immediately turn off the heat and place the pot into the ice bath. Monitor the temperature carefully. Remove the pot from the ice when the mixture is around 100 degrees F.
  5. Stir the thick mixture constantly until the contents of the pot are the color and texture of tahini (this means that fine crystals have formed). You don't need to stir particularly fast, just keep the mixture moving constantly. This may take up to 30 minutes.
  6. Once the tahini color and texture has been reached, immediately funnel the mixture into clean jars. (I got about 12 ounces of maple cream from a little over a pint of syrup.) Seal, label, and store in the refrigerator.
http://foodinjars.com/2017/12/make-homemade-maple-cream/

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9 Responses to How to Make Homemade Maple Cream

  1. 1
    Lynne says:

    We made this one year as a Christmas gift for my husband. Oh my gosh – it is incredible how much strength is needed to stir the cream as it cools!

    I thought that we should make this a family tradition but was voted down :-).

    That said, it was fabulous!

  2. 2
    Lisa from Iroquois/Canada says:

    I tried this one spring, when we seemed to have an abundance of syrup on hand….. took forever to hit the right temperature and I admit I used a stand mixer which I would use for ten minutes and then let it rest while I stirred for a while. Did not add any cream to the mix but I did end up with this delicious thick treat about the consistency of honey. It was yummy on toast. It was a delicious fail 🙂

  3. 3
    Lisa Noble says:

    We take it one step further (without the butter and cream) and stir until the mixture granulates and turns into maple sugar. We do have our own sugar bush, so we produce enough syrup that I can bake with it all year, and still be able to make sugar and candy. I am looking forward to showing my spouse the cooling technique though!

  4. 4
    Alex says:

    What type of oil can you use to keep this vegan? Would a vegan butter be best (Earth Balance)?

    • 4.1
      Alex Jones says:

      You could probably use Earth Balance, or coconut oil, or another plant-based neutral oil like grapeseed, walnut, or safflower. Other commenters have said that they’ve made maple cream without that bit of cream/butter/oil added, so I think it would also be fine to leave it out.

  5. 5
    Mary Jo says:

    Being a dairy free house hold do you think that Coconut Cream would work?

    • 5.1
      Alex Jones says:

      Sure! It’s only 1/4 tsp. You could also use oil. Other commenters have said that they’ve made maple cream without that bit of cream/butter/oil added, so I think it would also be fine to leave it out.

  6. 6
    SuryaSmiles says:

    I grew up in N Vermont, with maple syrup, maple cream, maple candies, and sugaring parties in the spring. Traipsing through the woods along the trail, following the horse drawn sleigh as our neighbor collected the sap to take to the sugar house, we couldn’t wait to get back and pour the hot boiled syrup (previously collected sap that had been boiling away tended to by family in the sugar house) onto our metal pie plates filled with fresh snow. The fresh syrup hardened immediately into tafffy. We then wrapped the taffy-like syrup around a fork, and eating the maple taffy with freshly baked cake donuts and dill pickles (counteracts the sweetness of the maple taffy), are memories I’ll never forget. (This was 50+ years ago).

    My mother used to make a maple syrup pie once a year, uber sweet, that’s was a real treat, only an 1/8th of piece was necessary covered with fresh whipped cream to satisfy even the biggest sweet tooth. I’ve had friends who were gifted with pints of real maple syrup because they grew up with Mrs Butterworths or the like, and didn’t like the real thing. St. Johnsbury, Vt., used to be coined the maple syrup Capitol of the world (where maple syrup candies and other products were produce), my hometown. Living in the West, we now get our syrup from friends who still “sugar” in WI or MN.

    It looks like maple cream is a delicacy, for the work it takes to make. I’ll take it on toast with a little PB or almond butter any day!

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