In a saucepan, bring the maple syrup and butter to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
Carefully whisk in the heavy cream. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the saucepan. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium and keep to a boil without stirring until the thermometer reaches 235°F (112°C). This should take 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the heat, sprinkle the chopped white chocolate over the surface, and let rest without stirring for 5 minutes.
Using a hand mixer, beat the maple syrup fudge mixture for 2 minutes. After beating, the mixture should then be very thick and pale beige in color.
Transfer the fudge mixture to the prepared baking pan and use a spatula to spread it to an even layer. Sprinkle with the nuts, if using, gently pressing on the nuts to make them stick to the fudge mixture. (Alternatively, you can stir the nuts into the fudge mixture before you spread it into the pan.)
Let the fudge cool completely over a wire rack, then refrigerate for 2 hours. Cut into small squares and serve.
STORAGE: Store the maple syrup fudge in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 weeks, or freeze it for up to 2 months.
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