Christmas time in Sweden means a batch of homemade knäck or hard toffee. It is traditionally made with normal light syrup and almonds, but the use of maple syrup and pecans in this recipe makes it extra FODMAP-friendly (and delicious!). Please note: This is NOT a project to undertake with small children, as the boiling syrup gets very hot.
It is important when making candy to use a heavy saucepan and to stir the mixture occasionally so that it does not burn. Mix together the syrup, lactose-free cream, sugar, and butter with a wooden spoon.
Once it starts to boil, you can lower the temperature a bit, but let it continue to bubble for about 25 minutes, until the temperature reaches 120-130 ° C (250-265 °F) depending on how hard you like it (the hotter, the harder your final toffee will be). Another trick is to test the hardness by dropping some in a glass of ice cold water…. you should be able to take out the toffee and easily roll it into a ball with your fingers. Add the pecans to the mixture when it is ready to go.
In Sweden they sell these special forms that look like mini-cupcake forms for making knäck. They are about the size of a US quarter.
If you can’t find something like this where you live, you may also use small silicone forms (like the ones for making fun ice cubes) or alternatively spread the mixture on a parchment-lined sheet to make “bark” instead, and break it into pieces once it cools. If you are using paper forms, have them lined up and ready to go, because the pouring has to be done VERY QUICKLY before the mixture hardens. It helps to transfer it to a container with a spout for easy pouring, and use a teaspoon to help guide.
Then it is just a matter of waiting for them to harden! It is recommended to store these in the refrigerator or the freezer (if you like very hard toffee).
Maple Pecan Knäck
(makes approx. 30- safe serving size 4 pieces; this recipe can easily be doubled or tripled)
1 dL (1/2 cup) maple syrup
1 dL (1/2 cup) lactose-free whipping cream
1 dL (1/2 cup) sugar
1/2 dL (1/4 cup) chopped pecans
1 Tbsp. butter
1. Mix syrup, cream, sugar, and butter in a heavy saucepan.
2. Bring to a boil, then lower to medium heat and continue boiling, stirring occasionally, until a candy thermometer reads 122-130°C (250-265°F) depending on desired hardness (about 25 minutes). Alternatively, test hardness by dropping some of the mixture into a glass of ice cold water. When it is ready you will be able to take the toffee and roll it into a ball with your fingers.
3. Mix in the chopped pecans.
4. Quickly pour into forms or spread onto a parchment-lined baking tray if making bark. Allow to harden. Store in refrigerator or freezer.