ALBION, Pa.—You can make small batches maple candy without the expensive equipment, but you'll proably work up a sweat.
Steve Childs, the Maple Hall of Famer and former director of the Cornell Maple Program offered a fun class on making maple candy without any equipment, with just pots and pans and utensils laying around the kitchen (although you still have to buy the candy molds).
Childs was a featured speaker at the Lake Erie Maple Expo in Albion, Pa. last month.
Childs heated syrup to 32 degrees above the boiling point of water (242 degrees Farenheight) and then stirred it by hand with a wooden spoon for about five minutes, working up quite a sweat.
There are variations in graininess in the candy depending on how much you let the syrup cool, he said.
Childs like to use an ice bath to cool syrup. He puts ice in a bigger stainless bowl and he sets the hot syrup in the smaller bowl in it.
Cooling syrup before pouring it in the molds makes for smoother candy.
If you start stirring at 230 to 235 degrees, it will but fairly grainy candy, usually.
If you start stirring at 178 to 175 degrees (after putting it in an ice bath) it will be much less grainy.
It helps to “seed” the stirred syrup with maple cream that has already been made.
“Seeding makes it turn quicker and cuts down on stirring time,” Childs said.