Canadian maple syrup is a delicious product that can be enjoyed year round. But the more concentrated, sweeter and chewier maple taffy is best enjoyed on clean snow or crushed ice in winter. In honour of the Winterlude festival—which has been cancelled in 2022 due to COVID-19—why not try making your own delicious taffy treat with maple syrup from the Ottawa-area? Fulton's Sugar Bush and Maple Shop—a family-run sugarshack in the countryside about an hour west of Ottawa—shares their recipe to make maple taffy at home.
Caution: Making maple taffy requires heating maple syrup to a very high temperature which can cause the pot to easily boil over, or the syrup to burn. Stay alert and never leave the pot unattended.
Ingredients and supplies to make approximately 10 maple taffy treats:
- Clean snow or ice
- Shallow container
- 1 cup of pure maple syrup, any grade (preferably from the Ottawa region)
- Recommended: 1 teaspoon of butter (not margarine)
- A tall pot (syrup usually triples in volume as it boils)
- A candy thermometer
- Approximately 10 wooden stir sticks, popsicle sticks or similar item
- Prepare a clean shallow container of well packed snow or crushed ice ahead of time. Put outside or in the freezer until taffy is ready.
- Pour the maple syrup into the tall pot.
- Add the butter (not margarine). This is used to prevent overflow, since maple syrup produces "foam" and can easily boil over.
- Heat on high to bring the syrup to a boil. Be patient as this can take up to an hour or more.
- For soft, stringy taffy, heat until the candy thermometer indicates 116 °C (240 °F)
- For a hard confection, heat until the candy thermometer indicates 121 °C (250 °F)
- When the syrup reaches the desired temperature mentioned above, turn off the burner and carefully remove the pot from the stove.
- Slowly pour the hot maple syrup onto the packed snow/ice in long thin "strips".
- Using your stir sticks, "roll" up the syrup slightly and let it cool thoroughly on the snow or ice on one side. Then repeat this step until the taffy has been cooled on all sides. Note: Although the taffy may seem cool on the outside, it may still be hot in the middle. Be cautious around excited children—hot taffy on the tongue is no fun!
- Repeat and enjoy over and over again, all winter long!
In addition to Fulton’s, You can get maple syrup from other Ottawa-area producers, including Stanley's Olde Maple Lane Farm and Proulx Maple & Berry Farm, as well as from vendors at Ottawa Markets (ByWard and Parkdale Market) and the weekly Ottawa Farmers’ Market.
Watch a video on how to make maple taffy on our IGTV channel.