Many of us DIY types make maple syrup in the spring to give away throughout the year. We’ve recently discovered the joy of rebottling our syrup in fancy, glass containers. We’ve also figured out how to transfor our homemade syrup into maple cream, candy and sugar for gifting. Hooray for DIY maple gifting! Here’s how.
How to Rebottle Maple Syrup for Gifting
100% pure maple syrup makes a great gift at any time of the year. And, rebottling maple syrup for gifting is easy.
First, find yourself a set of bottles and self-sealing caps. If you are giving to a large group of coworkers, employees or friends, you may want to consider a nip-style bottle to stretch your syrup supply. If you are giving to only a few recipients, maybe try a classic maple leaf bottle. At any rate, be sure to source bottles that come with self-sealing caps for safe transportation and storage.
Reheat your syrup until it is between 180- and 190-degrees Fahrenheit on a candy thermometer. (If you have a Vermont Evaporator Company Maple Syrup Finishing Thermometer, the dial should be just below the “0.”)
Carefully fill each of your bottles to within ¼” of the top. Screw on the self-sealing cap and cool to room temperature. Voila!
How to make Maple Cream for Gifting
Maple cream is a wonderful topper for scones, cookies or other baked goods and can really elevate a piece of toast, besides. Since not everyone has tasted maple cream, it’s a great choice for unique DIY maple gifting for the person who wants for nothing. Here’s how to do it.
Heat your syrup to boiling on medium heat and watch, without stirring, while the temperature approaches 235 degrees Fahrenheit (or the Cream setting on your Maple Syrup Finishing Thermometer). When the bubbles threaten to spill over the side of the pot, smear a little vegetable oil on the back of a wooden spoon and “pet” the bubbles with it to calm them down. The process of obtaining the right temperature will take 30-35 minutes. Watch it closely the whole time. Hell hath no fury like burned maple on an appliance.
The Maple Leaf Maple Candy Mold makes for great DIY maple gifting. One third of a gallon of homemade maple syrup will make 60 each (or three sheets) of these maple leaf maple candies!
When the syrup reaches 235 degrees, pour it off into a small bowl and put it on ice until chilled to 100 degrees. The cooling process will also take about 30 minutes.
When cooled to 100 degrees, stir slowly until it begins lightening in color and becomes the consistency of peanut butter. This will take another 30 minutes. A stand mixer is handy, here. Pour the cream into jars and affix lids. One third of a gallon of maple syrup will make about a pint of maple cream.
How to make Maple Candy for Gifting
We’ve not met a single soul who has been anything but delighted with the taste of maple candy. Making it doesn’t require any special equipment and is also fairly simple. Here’s what to do.
First, line a shallow pan with lightly-oiled parchment paper. If you have a candy mold, such as the Maple Leaf Maple Candy Mold, lightly oil it with vegetable oil.
Boil syrup until the dial on your Maple Syrup Finishing Thermometer reaches the “candy” reading, or your candy thermometer reaches 246 degrees Fahrenheit. This will take 35-40 minutes.
Do not stir while boiling.
Cool the syrup for 5 minutes and then stir with a wooden spoon until lighter and thicker (about 5 minutes). Pour into the mold or pans.
Cool to room temperature before removing from molds or cut into cubes. This can take about an hour.
From about a third of a gallon of syrup, you can make approximately 1 lb. 3 oz. of maple candy. (That translates to about 60 each of these 1/3 oz. maple leaf candies.)
Maple candy can be stored air-tight at room temperature. Jar or box and embellish and gift!
How to Make Maple Sugar for Gifting
Maple sugar is a great choice for the coffee and tea enthusiasts on your list, and, for your bakers, can be used as a 1:1 substitute for white sugar in any recipe. Here’s how to go about making maple sugar.
Heat your syrup, again without stirring, until it reaches the range of 257 degrees to 262 degrees Fahrenheit. This will correspond with the “sugar” setting on a Maple Syrup Finishing Thermometer.
From left to right, homemade maple syrup, maple cream, maple candy and maple sugar.
When the batch reaches temperature (this may take as long as 45 mniutes), pull from the heat and immediately begin to stir vigorously with a wooden spoon, alternating stirring hands to alleviate the fatigue. After about 5 minutes, the character of what you are stirring will begin to change, from pancake batter to cookie dough, to something that is even harder to stir. Finally, the sugars begin to crystalize into sugar.
Continue stirring for another 15 minutes or so, squishing any balls that form against the side of the pot with the back of the spoon, as the batch gradually becomes beautiful, light, fine maple sugar!
By this time, the sugar should be cool enough to handle. Sift it and set aside the lumps to be processed in the food processer and resifted (or eaten as “maple nibs”). With about a third of a gallon of maple syrup, you can make about 1 lb. 10 oz. of maple sugar.
Maple sugar can also be stored air-tight at room temperature. Choose a pretty container that shows off your hard work, and gift!
And that’s a wrap! If you are doing this for the first time and need a little more context, or all of the above reduced to bullet points, you can read about our first experience making maple cream, candy and sugar.
For the right tools and equipment to get the job done, check out the array of gifting kits in our shop.
Happy holidays, and, as always, happy sugaring!