This Maple Roasted Peanut recipe makes an addictive snack. Once I was on a San Francisco Muni train and was in the process of getting busted for both sneaking on without paying and eating while on the train. As the Muni cops closed in, I clutched my container of vegan Maple Roasted Peanuts tightly.
1 cup maple syrup (Grade B)
½ teaspoon salt
3 cups peanuts, dry roasted, unsalted
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cover a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the maple syrup and salt. Fill a large bowl, that's bigger than your saucepan, with cold water. This bowl of water serves two purposes: if you get burned by hot syrup you can dip your hand in it. It will also be used to cool the hot saucepan after the mixture reaches 245F (118C). Bring the mixture to a boil on high heat, covered. Remove cover and reduce heat to medium low so the mixture simmers without boiling over. Do not stir the mixture from now on because natural convection currents will do the stirring for you.
Insert a candy thermometer and bring the mixture up to 245F (118C). After the mixture reaches this temperature it will start to burn rapidly so 245F (188C) is about the maximum temperature we can caramelize pure maple syrup. Remove from heat and dip the saucepan into the ice water for about 10 seconds to stop the caramelization process.
Stir in the peanuts, cinnamon and vanilla extract with a wooden spoon until well incorporated. Pour the mixture onto the baking sheet and separate the nuts as much as possible with two forks. Allow the mixture to cool for about 8 hours before breaking the mixture into individual nut size pieces.