This very simple recipe for making candy cap sugar is s great way to incorporate the mushrooms' delicious maple flavor into all kinds of unique desserts.
Does it sound weird to put wild mushrooms in your desserts? If your answer is yes, then perhaps you haven't heard of candy cap mushrooms. These little mushrooms smell - and taste - like maple syrup, making them more ideal for sweet rather than savory cooking. Yes, this is all true. There is a mushroom out there that tastes intoxicatingly like pure maple syrup.
I first found out about these wonders when I read Connie Green's book The Wild Table. As someone who had been baking professionally for many years, was a mushroom forager, and had a passion for incorporating wild foods into my baking, I was completely enchanted to find out about this.
Candy caps grow in the winter in only a few very specific regions on the West Coast of the United States. They don't have super unique features that make them stand out visually from other little brown mushrooms. They just have that smell - some say the scent of maple is so strong, it sticks to clothes, hands, and walls for days. I have yet to be lucky enough to find any in the wild myself, but for now, there are a few places to purchase them online.
Most recently, I used candy caps from West Coast Wild Foods. You can grind the dried mushrooms into a fine powder to use in recipes, or infuse them in either sugar or fat, like butter or cream. Here, I'll share my recipe for making candy cap sugar. It's extremely simple and is a great way to incorporate the unique flavor of candy caps into your desserts. It is delicious in shortbread cookies, creme brûlée, ice cream, tart dough, caramel sauce... you get the idea.