2 cups pure maple syrup (no substitutions)
1 Tbs. light corn syrup
¾ cup heavy cream (no substitutions)
1 Tbs. vanilla extract
1 tsp. salt
½ cup toasted pecans, chopped; plus another quarter-cup for top
Spray an 8- by 8-inch square pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line the pan with one long piece of wax paper, trimming it to fit the width of one side and leaving a length of additional several inches that overhangs the pan by several inches on the other two sides. (These overhanging pieces will be what you use to lift the fudge for serving.) Spray the paper with nonstick cooking spray, turn the pan 90 degrees, and repeat the process to create two long strips that should resemble a cross. Set aside.
Combine the maple syrup, corn syrup, and cream in a tall saucepan or stock pot with sides at least six inches high over medium heat. Cook without stirring while checking the temperature. Once the mixture reaches 235°F, the soft ball stage, immediately and carefully pour the hot liquid into a standing mixer bowl or a bowl that you will be able to use with a hand mixer.
Allow the mixture to cool to 120°F, checking the thermometer. Do not move the hot mixture once it is poured into the bowl. (Fudge’s texture is made by crystallizing the sugar when agitated, but must only be done at this cooler temperature of 120°F.) When at temperature, whip with paddle attachment or hand mixer to a matte fudge consistency. This will take a while as agitation needs to occur as well as temperature drop. Fudge typically comes to the correct consistency around 90°F.
Once it reaches the matte texture, stir in the vanilla, salt, and chopped toasted pecans. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the mixture into the prepared pan. Let cool at room temperature for one hour. Use the overhanging wax paper to remove the fudge. Cut into squares of approximately 2 x 1.5 inches and top with additional toasted pecans.
The fudge can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to a week.