DIY Gift: Maple Cream

If you’re going to make maple cream, don’t do what I did: do not take a Pilates class that is heavy on the upper-body work mere hours before you make this confection.  And if you do, opt for the electric mixer method, rather than attempting to hand-stir.  Your arms and shoulders will thank you.

I made the mistake of switching from hand-stirring to electric mixing partway through, and the disruption made it take even longer to come together.  I kept running back to the tutorials I had read, worried that I had missed something or done something wrong.  After nearly an hour of stirring, I decided to let it rest and see what happened.  If it didn’t turn the putty color I was going for, I figured I could boil it down and start again from scratch.  As luck would have it, all it needed was a little time.

The moral of this story is: be consistent with your stirring.  And print out the recipe. Don’t stop to run back up to the computer to check the tutorials.  The maple cream will take so much longer to form than it should.

And also? Don’t be greedy once you taste this– just keep a jar or two, tempted though you may be to keep it all for yourself– and share it with your favorite relatives and friends.

MAPLE CREAM

DIY Gift: Maple Cream

Yield: Makes about 2 cups (enough for about five 4-ounce jars)

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Create an ice bath: Set a medium heat-proof bowl inside a larger bowl of ice. The ice should come up almost to the edges of the smaller bowl.
  2. Bring the syrup, oil and salt to a boil over medium heat. Set a candy thermometer into the pan with the syrup and leave it there. Putting it in and taking it out constantly to check the temperature will disturb the syrup too much.
  3. Cook without stirring until the temperature of the syrup is 235F. Remove the thermometer and pour the syrup into the bowl of the ice bath.
  4. Allow the syrup to rest, undisturbed, until you can hold your hand over its surface and feel no heat radiating from the syrup. Do not even touch the bowl or the ice bath until the syrup is cooled. Any disturbances as the syrup is cooling can cause little crystals to form, making the final maple cream grainy instead of smooth.
  5. When you can feel no heat radiating from the syrup, remove it from the ice bath and being stirring it slowly and consistently using either a rubber spatula or an electric mixer. Keep stirring until the maple cream is thick, lighter in color and beginning to lose its sheen, about 30 minutes.
  6. Transfer the maple cream to jars or other airtight containers quickly, while it is still pourable.

Make Ahead and Storage

Maple cream can be stored for up to 2-3 weeks at room temperature, or up to 3 months in the refrigerator. If you choose to ship this to your friends or family, refrigerate it until it is time to mail, ship it quickly and include a note that it should be refrigerated immediately. This way, your loved ones will be able to enjoy the maple cream for 6-8 weeks.

http://www.savvyeat.com/diy-gift-maple-cream/

Maple Syrup from Vermont sent me product and compensated me for this post, but all opinions within this post are my own.  I really do love maple syrup!

Peanut Dipping Sauce

What do you do if you are seriously craving peanut stir fry, but have no rice noodles in the house?

And then you realize you have a bunch of baby potatoes that need to be eaten, and carrots, and sliced cabbage?

You make a peanut dipping sauce with peanut butter, soy sauce, coconut milk and a few other ingredients, and eat it with sliced carrots, roasted baby potatoes, sliced and sautéed cabbage and whatever other vegetables you have on hand.  Chicken, too, if you have it.

Note: The cabbage doesn’t work as well as I hoped — too floppy!

Peanut Dipping Sauce

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Yield: About 2 cups

Peanut Dipping Sauce

Use this sauce as a dip for vegetables or grilled chicken. Alternatively, you can use it as a stir fry sauce for a rice noodle dish.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 cup coconut milk

Instructions

  1. In a food processor, blender, or using a whisk, blend all ingredients until smooth.
http://www.savvyeat.com/peanut-dipping-sauce/