Butter vs. Cream
Maple Butter: Made by mixing pure maple syrup with butter.
Maple Cream: Made by cooking pure maple syrup, to a softball stage, cooling it and beating it until it is thick and creamy like peanut butter.
Why Use Instead of Syrup?
Do you love the wonderful taste of pure 100% maple syrup? Because it is spreadable and thick, Maple Butter is actually preferred by many people to the syrup because:
- You can use it on more than just pancakes.
- It doesn't make the pancakes soggy like syrup can.
- You can mold it into beautiful shapes.
- It makes your syrup go further, so it is less expensive.
Advantages and Disadvantages
Maple butter is quick and easy to make and looks terrific for a party if you either mold it in silicone ice cube molds or use a melon baller to make it into butter balls. The taste is buttery and lightly sweet. I think that butter is best on baked goods and as a substitute for syrup.
Maple cream made using my recipe is thicker and much sweeter and tastes terrific on ice cream. If you've ever read the Laura Ingalls Wilder book, The Little House in the Big Woods, you might remember the party where Laura's family boils the maple syrup and then they cool it in the snow and eat it like candy. I've tried pouring maple syrup on snow with my kids and it never really worked, just tasted like maple flavored water. After making Maple Cream, I'm pretty sure that is what Laura's grandmother was making. So if you make some with your kids, you may want to pull out that story and read it.
My kids loved it. As a matter of fact, they grabbed some of it and started having a mini-maple taffy pull when I was stirring it. I ended up having to hide it away. After sitting overnight, it turned a bit softer and really looks and spreads just like peanut butter, but tastes like thick and creamy maple syrup. It is really wonderful!
To tell you the truth, making the homemade cream is a bit of a chore and since it boils down to about half the original amount of syrup, it can be expensive if you don't have a way of getting pure maple syrup inexpensively. We had a great time, but I think I wouldn't do it too often since it is so much easier to purchase it ready made, and is probably about the same price.
Step by Step Maple ButterClick thumbnail to view full-size
Very Easy Recipe
- 1/2 cup butter (salted)
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- Let butter stand at room temperature until soft, or soften in microwave for 10 seconds.
- Mix in the syrup with a fork until well blended. Keep on mixing until the maple butter is very smooth and pulls together.
- Put in butter crock, a serving dish, or mold in silicone ice cube molds and chill until ready to use.
- To mold into shapes, put the butter into silicone ice cube molds and press across the back with a knife. Put in refrigerator until firm. Right before unmolding, it helps to put the tray in the freezer for a few minutes. Pop the silicone ice tray shapes and these unmold beautifully. You can put on a plate for serving.
- Makes 3/4 cup of butter or about 12 servings of 1 TB each.
There are many variations. You can add any sort of flavor you would like to either butter or cream.
Pumpkin Flavored: add 1/4 tea. pumpkin pie spice to recipe and mix thoroughly.
Coffee Flavored: mix 1 tea. instant coffee with just enough hot water to melt it. Add to the mixture and stir.
Cinnamon Flavored: add 1/2 tea. cinnamon to the recipe and mix.
20 Ideas for Using
Maple Butter tastes great on baked goods and anything that you might ordinarily spread with butter. Here are some ideas:
- Use on pancakes and waffles instead of syrup. It doesn't make them soggy and gives a great flavor.
- Great on toast, bagels, and English muffins.
- Use for topping homemade donuts.
- Spread on crepes and then fill with fresh fruit like strawberries, blueberries, bananas, blackberries or raspberries.
- Use instead of frosting for cupcakes or muffins.
- Try as a sweetener for coffee or tea.
- Serve as a topping for sweet potatoes, yams or baked acorn squash.
- Use as a topping for barbecue chicken or as a dipping sauce for wings.
- Mix in some pecans and use to fill sandwich cookies.
- Heat a little and use as a topping on vanilla ice cream.
- Put on roasted carrots.
- Serve on top of baked potatoes instead of regular butter.
- Heat it up for 10 seconds in the microwave, and use as a dip for sliced apples or other fruit.
- Drizzle cream on top of a vanilla cake for flavor and decoration.
- Maple cream is great as a fruit topping and is especially good drizzled over bananas.
- Use as a topping for Ham or as a final glaze for a rack of ribs.
- Make a maple cream, banana and peanut butter sandwich.
- Use for maple flavoring in icing recipes.
- Serve at a shower or wedding breakfast.
- Eat a spoonful straight out of the jar, especially after a hard day!
Topping for Ice Cream!
Step-by-Step Maple CreamClick thumbnail to view full-size
- 2 cups 100% pure maple syrup, Grade A works best
- pinch salt
- pinch vegetable oil
- Put pure Maple Syrup in a pot on low to medium heat on stove. You can add the pinch of salt and vegetable oil to keep it from boiling over. Put a candy thermometer in to keep track of the temperature. Heat the mixture until it reaches soft boil, or 235 degrees. You can test this by putting a small bit of the mixture into a cup of ice water. When this makes a soft ball which holds together it is ready.
- Put pan with mixture in it into a large bowl filled with ice and let it cool to 125 degrees. Stir mixture until it gets light and fluffy. It will change from being shiny and glossy into being opaque and creamy. Stirring takes a while, anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes. It gets easy to stir as it gets ready.
- When finished, it should look like peanut butter and it will run off the spoon when you pull it up. Store in an air tight jar. To serve, you may want to heat it up in microwave for 5 to 10 seconds if it gets too firm.
Who Makes and Uses Maple Syrup?
Quebec makes 75% of the world's supply of Maple Syrup. Over 7,000 individual producers tap the trees to make the syrup.
The state of Vermont is the largest producer of Maple Syrup in the United States. New York and Maine also produce Maple Syrup.
Japan is the largest importer of Maple Syrup from Canada, importing 10% in 2010. Japan and Korea also make small amounts of syrup.