I love the flavor of maple syrup, so was thrilled to find a hundred-year-old recipe for Maple-Karo Fudge. I also was intrigued that the recipe called for Karo corn syrup.
Many modern candy recipes call for corn syrup, but this is the first century-old candy recipe I’ve seen which listed corn syrup (and branded corn syrup at that) as an ingredient. Times were a-changing.
There are lots of pros and cons to adding corn syrup. The addition of corn syrup makes the fudge smoother and reduces the likelihood that the sugar will crystallize; but, at the same time, corn syrup is a man-made sugar that may not be healthy for us (though the Karo of a hundred years ago was not “high fructose” like modern corn syrups, so it may have been a tad healthier).
The verdict – Maple-Karo Fudge has a nice texture, and a delightful maple flavor. I added walnuts to the fudge mixture, and the nuts nicely complemented the sweetness of the maple syrup.
Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups maple syrup
2 tablespoons dark Karo
2/3 cup half and half
1/2 cup chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans), dried or candied fruit (optional) (I added walnuts.)
Using low heat melt butter in a saucepan; add sugar, maple syrup, Karo, and half and half. Increase heat to medium, and stir until sugar is dissolved. Using a wet paper towel, wash the include of the saucepan to remove any sugar crystals. Reduce heat to low, cover and let boil two minutes. Watch pan extremely closely to ensure that the mixture does not boil over. (If there is a risk of it boiling over, remove lid in less than two minutes.) Uncover and let boil without stirring until the mixture reaches 238° F (soft ball stage). This will take approximately 45 minutes – 1 hour. Remove from heat
Wipe a large plate or platter with a wet paper towel, and immediately pour the cooked fudge mixture onto the platter. Let cool then use a spatula to “knead” the mixture by lifting the edges and moving them to the center. Continue “kneading” until the mixture stiffens, and is smooth and shiny (about 10 minutes). If desired, the later part of the kneading may be done by hand rather than with a spatula – though I did it all with a sturdy spatula. If desired add chopped nuts or fruit while kneading.
Press into a small buttered pan, about 6″ by 6″. Let sit for several hours. When firm, cut into squares.