I am a little weird about Christmas stockings. My mom always tried to break up the present opening from the stocking unwrapping long enough so that the fun could be spread throughout the day. Now, I always try to wait as long as possible to open the stockings so that the day can last as long as possible. The stockings usually have a lot of candy in them which I take one bite of and then send the rest “to John’s office” which I assume means he throws it away outside or eats it in his car. However, there are two candies I always keep for myself.
1. Chocolate covered sunflower seeds. Santa brings these every year and I can’t get enough. I look forward to being able to put them on overnight oats and just to eat plain. One year John accidentally took these to work with him and I made such a scene that both my mom and John’s work wife ran out to buy me more. To add to the embarrassment John’s work wife recently had to take a family member to the hospital, which happened to be by the chocolate covered sunflower seed store SO SHE STOPPED TO BUY ME SOME MORE ON THE WAY TO THE HOSPITAL. Lesson learned. I am thoroughly embarrassed.
2. Maple Candies. Sometimes shaped like maple leaves and other times like Santas these are basically crystalized maple syrup. Unfortunately, I now know how to make them. And you are about to too (Thanks largely to Oh She Glows).
1. Get some real maple syrup.
2. Cook to 235 degrees. My candy thermometer says soft ball stage is slightly hotter than 235 and I would recommend going to whatever your thermometer says is soft ball (because the first batch did not get hot enough and ultimately separated). It is very easy to boil over! Don’t walk away, or used the thermometer to stir (like I did) because apparently that makes the thermometer read cooler than it really is. If it gets too hot you will have maple hard candy instead of maple cream which is no big tragedy.
3. Cool the bowl in an ice bath until it reaches 100 degrees. This takes a few minutes.
4. Stir forever. Well, almost. I tried by hand the first time and stirred for over an hour without anything happening. Then I put it in the kitchenaid and it only took about 20 minutes.
As you can see, the color will become lighter. Stop when it is nearly white and fairly thick. I have a camera that could have taken a good picture of this but I like how this looks better :).
5. Put in jars and eat on oatmeal, toast, pancakes, press into Santas, or give to friends.
Just don’t eat as much of it with a spoon as I did!