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How To Make Maple Sugar

Apr 1, 2024 | DIY Maple Syrup

Making maple syrup was the hard part. Here’s how to turn your homemade maple syrup into maple sugar!

Search the internet for how to make maple creamcandy and sugar and you will get plenty of hits. But many of these recipes call for starting with a light grade of syrup. If your hobby maple syrup operation is anything like ours, you mix the sap of your red or silver maples with your sugar maple sap. When doing this, you aren’t ever going to make a light syrup. That’s because the sap of these other maple trees doesn’t contain as much sugar as the sap of the sugar maple. It therefore needs to be cooked for longer to reach the density of syrup.  More cooking means more caramelization which means darker syrup.
Does that mean that you can’t take your dark, homemade syrup and turn it into maple sugar? We set out to find the answer to that question, and it is a resounding NO! You can totally make sugar, (and cream and candy) from your homemade syrup, no matter what it looks like!
In fact, we created all three of these maple specialties in under two hours using the very darkest gallon of syrup we made this year. (Which is saying something.) And it all turned out wonderful. Here’s how!

Homemade maple cream, candy and sugar. Incredibly easy. Incredibly tasty. And will impress your friends and family!

Calibrate Your Thermometer

As you already know, maple syrup boils at 7°F above the boiling point of water. Generally speaking, this means 219°F. But, because the boiling point of water varies with elevation and barometric pressure, you first have to calibrate your thermometer. If your thermometer reads 212°F in a pot of boiling water, great! For the rest of us, there is the power of math.
Incidentally, if you have the kind of maple syrup finishing thermometer that we carry, you don’t have to think about any of this. The face of the thermometer has calibration instructions and is marked at the boiling points of syrup, cream, candy, and sugar already.
maple syrup thermometer - maple syrup supplies

Gather Your Supplies

To start making maple sugar, we simply left our last batch of finished syrup on the stove. (For more information about how to know when your maple syrup is “finished”, check out our blog post on the topic!) You can take any finished syrup and put it into a large stock pot to get started. Then we gathered the rest of what we would need: an empty bowl, a wooden spoon, and a sifter. We found a food processor to be helpful, but it isn’t necessary.

Heat to 257°F, No Stirring!

The first step is to heat your syrup back to boiling on medium heat. Once boiling, we watched, without stirring, while the temperature approached 257 °F or 45 °F above the boiling point of water.

Sometimes, the syrup bubbled up and almost went over the side of the pot. To battle the dreaded boilover, we smeared a little vegetable oil on the back of a wooden spoon and “pet” the bubbles with it to calm them down. Even though the process of obtaining the right temperature took over 40 minutes, we watched it closely the whole time. The temperature changes quickly as you near 257 °F so make sure you’re close by for those last few degrees! Hell hath no fury like burned maple on an appliance.

Maple Syrup Boiling

Stir, Stir, Stir!

When the batch reached temperature, we pulled the pot from the heat and immediately began to stir vigorously with a wooden spoon. We alternated stirring hands to alleviate the fatigue. After about 5 minutes, the character of what we were stirring began to change, from pancake batter to cookie dough, to something that was even harder to stir quickly (cookie dough with too much flour?). Finally, the mixture began to crystalize into sugar. It was very exiting!

We continued stirring for another 15 minutes or so, squishing any balls that formed against the side of the pot with the back of the spoon, as the batch gradually became beautiful, light, fine maple sugar!

Sifting and the Food Processor

By this time, the sugar was cool enough to handle, so we sifted it and set aside the lumps to be processed in the food processer and resifted (or eaten as “maple nibs” – a thing we just invented, right there). With about a third of a gallon of maple syrup, we made 1 lb. 10 oz. of maple sugar.

Other Ways to Prepare Maple

We’re amazed at how easy it was to make maple sugar. When we undertook this process ourselves, we set out to make maple cream, candy, and sugar all at the same time. We successfully completed all three ways of preparing maple in under two hours. For more detailed instructions on how to make maple cream and maple candy, check out our blog posts on the topic. For a quick guide, check out our infographic below. It has all the details you need to make maple cream, maple candy, and maple sugar.

Maple Cream Maple Candy Maple Sugar

Quick Start Directions for Maple Sugar:

  • boil syrup to 257-262 degrees Fahrenheit (or boiling point of water plus 45-50)
  • do not stir
  • take off the heat and stir vigorously until crystals form (20 minutes)
  • sift and grind maple nibs in food processor if desired
  • store sealed at room temperature

Happy Sugaring from our family to yours!

Making Maple Syrup





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