June 29, 2011 § 1 Comment
In two days, Canada will celebrate its 144th birthday. I whipped up a quick hands-on Canadian treat in honor of our holiday. This is a fun cooking and crafting project for you and your little ones to enjoy — miniature inuksuks constructed out of homemade maple caramels.
In the west and Arctic regions of Canada, inuksuks stand aplenty. You may have seen them before. They are native manmade stone structures mostly used as markers for travel or for orientation.
You may probably know this: in Canada, we are mad about maple. On our flag we bear the emblematic maple leaf. In most urban places, you cannot pass a kilometer’s stretch of road without spotting the maple leaf somehow, typically adorning shop signs and windows. Even our hockey team in Toronto is aptly named the Maple Leafs. Without surprise, we are the globe’s biggest producer of sweet maple syrup, on whose sole existence the pancake depends.
These delicious caramels are made of pure maple syrup and are very simple to make — no need to invest in a candy thermometer. They’re that simple! I used salted butter for that salted caramel flavor, and evaporated milk for that maple fudge taste (I’ve seen the best maple fudge stores flaunting cans of Carnation).
To make these caramels, you will need:
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1 tbsp salted butter
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1. Over medium heat, melt butter in maple syrup. Allow to boil for five minutes.
2. Add evaporated milk. Stir continuously and allow to boil further for fifteen to twenty minutes until the mixture is slightly thickened and turns a deep golden amber. The lighter amber has a soft chew. The darker amber turns into a hard caramel candy. The choice is up to you!
3. On parchment, very quickly spoon small pebble mounds of caramel and some long, narrow ledge shapes.
4. Allow caramels to sit until they are cool to touch, but warm enough that they will stick to each other as you construct. Stack the caramels to create inukshuks.
You will notice the taller inuksuk has slightly lighter caramels. Those caramels are chewy and have some slack when constructed. The shorter inuksuk has darker caramels, and are hard candies, and perhaps stand better as inukshuks. Both are equally yummy!