How to make the classic confection in your own kitchen.
For most of my life thus far, when I thought of fudge, I thought of one thing — chocolate — but that all changed the day that Maple Walnut Fudge walked into my life. I wish that that day had a more interesting story to go with it, like maybe I was visiting Quebec or Vermont and bought some at a country store that was known for it… but really it was just that a friend handed me a piece that they had made on some average day during some average holiday season. But I was hooked. It was one of those moments when you kick yourself for not trying something sooner — so much lost time without maple fudge! But we can lament or we can get to making it, and believe it or not, it’s pretty easy to get to that sweet and nutty maple delicacy so you never have to be without it again.
I’ve seen (and experimented with) a few recipes that were all maple but maple syrup behaves differently than sugar in candy making so a method that combines the two ended up providing more reliable results. To start, you’ll need maple syrup, sugar, heavy cream, and a pinch of salt. You’ll get that into a saucepan and bring it to a boil.
You’ll also need a candy thermometer, but if you happen to drop yours on the floor and break it during the fudge-making process like I might have done with mine here, there are ways to get by, which we’ll talk about as we go on.
Once the mixture has come to a boil, attach your candy thermometer to your pan and keep an eye on it. Once it reaches 248°F, you want to pull it off the heat. This is called “firm ball” stage and you can test to see if you’re there by dropping a small bit of the mixture into a glass of cold water. If the mixture forms a ball that you can hold between your fingers but still squish with pressure, you’ve reached firm ball stage. If you have a thermometer, you can go by the temperature alone. It should take seven or eight minutes to reach this stage.
Once you’ve reached 248°F, pull the pot off the heat and stir in some butter and vanilla. Then, transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer and start beating with the whisk attachment.
You’ll need some patience here. The mixture will start to crystallize and change but you want to keep beating until the candy loses its sheen and starts to lighten in color. It should thicken enough that it creates ribbons when you lift up your whisk. This will take about ten minutes.
Stir in some chopped walnuts and pour the whole thing into a pan lined with foil or parchment.
And then add some more walnuts on the top, of course.
Go ahead and chill it until it’s firm, which should take about an hour. The fridge is all you need but if something went awry and it’s not setting up, you can pop it in the freezer to set it completely.
Once it’s set, you can slice it up and tuck it into Christmas cookie boxes or just set it out for some sweet snacking.
And snacking is easy to do. This stuff melts in your mouth with just enough crunchy contrast from the walnuts. It’s sweet but subtle, with that distinct maple flavor that will make you forget all about chocolate. (Well, at least for a few minutes, anyway.)
Maple Walnut Fudge
10m prep time
25m cook time
- 2 cups pure maple syrup
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup chopped walnuts, divided
- Line an 8x8-inch baking pan with foil or parchment paper. Cut corners or line with two overlapping pieces to avoid bunching in corners.
- To a medium to large saucepan, add maple syrup, sugar, cream, and salt and place over medium-high heat. Stirring constantly, bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, attach a candy thermometer, and cook until temperature reaches 248°F. This should take 7-8 minutes.
- Immediately remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla. Transfer mixture to a mixing bowl or bowl of a stand mixer.
- Beat with whisk attachment of stand mixer (or regular beaters on hand mixer) until mixture starts to crystallize. Continue beating until mixture becomes thick and lightens in color, and starts to lose its sheen, 8/10 minutes.
- Mix in 3/4 cup of the walnuts, then turn off mixer. Pour into prepared pan and smooth into an even layer. Top fudge with remaining nuts.
- Chill until firm, about 1 hour. Lift fudge from pan by paper or foil and cut into squares. Enjoy!
Recipe adapted from A Spicy Perspective.