It’s been one of those rollercoaster days of good news and bad. The good news is that my belongings will be returned to my house tomorrow after six months in storage. It looks like it will be a cold day for moving so I thought I’d make some treats for the moving crew. It has been several months since I made Maple Cream candy. This version, submitted by Eleonora Graber, will be the fourth I’ve tried for maple cream. There are five different recipes for it in the 1906 Berlin Cook Book.
I had to make this recipe twice. I forgot that my milk was in the fridge two floors down and ended up with caramel before I returned with the milk. I started over again. I put the butter in a medium saucepan on low heat and after the butter melted I added the brown sugar and milk. Once it dissolved I turned up the heat to allow it to boil. I kept checking to see if the candy had reached soft ball stage. The technique described in the recipe is familiar as I use it instead of a candy thermometer. It took about 7 minutes to reach this stage. I removed the pan and added the walnuts and vanilla and started to stir. I poured it into a pan and marked the squares before it cooled completely.
Eleonora Graber tugs at my heart. According to the Waterloo Region Generations website, she was born in 1891 (Buffalo, NY) making her one of the youngest contributors to the Berlin Cook Book. She is only fifteen years old when it is published but I seem to recall both her mother and future sister-in-law (Laura Bornhold) contributed recipes too. Her mother Louisa (Hopp) Graber is from this area and for whatever reason the family emigrates from the United States in 1896 when Eleanora is five and her brother is seven. The 1911 census shows twenty year old Eleanora is working as a collar turner in a shirt factory where her father works as an ironer. The family lives at 108 Courtland Avenue. By 1918 she is dead at just twenty-seven years old. She’s buried in St. Peter’s Lutheran cemetery. I prefer to think of fifteen year old Eleanora making this candy with her friends and perhaps giving some to her big brother.
It is a good thing I have plans for this candy. It is far too tempting. My fear of making fudge is over as this is an easy recipe (if all the ingredients are close to hand) and it tastes great. This is the first maple cream recipe to include walnuts. I like the plain versions but this is good too. This recipe is a keeper and it looks like I’m going to have a hard time deciding which contributor has the best version of maple cream.
Put a 2 teaspoons of butter into a granite sauce pan, when melted add 1 1/2 cups brown sugar and 1/2 cup milk, stir until the sugar is dissolved. Heat until it boils, and boil until a little drop in cold water forms a soft ball between the fingers. Remove from the fire at once, add 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and beat until thick and creamy. Pour at once into a buttered pan and when cool enough mark into squares.