As you might have noticed, maple sugar is not available on all store shelves, which makes it a scarce product. Depending on where you are living, it might be sold in some sugar shacks or gift shops only, often at an expensive price and in small amounts. That is why it might be a great idea to make some at home, so you have your own little reserve in your pantry. The great thing about maple sugar is, it can be kept indefinitely if stored properly, as with other types of sugar you might already use. Sure, it can harden if not placed in an airtight container, but this is easily fixed and it will not alter the quality of the sugar in any way. If there is some maple syrup in your refrigerator that you do not plan to use, you can always make sugar out of it so it doesn’t go to waste.
All grades of maple syrup can be used to produce maple sugar, but be mindful that the taste will change depending on the one you’re using. For example, the Grade A Amber Color will create a sugar that is more delicate in flavor, but will still have a delicious, rich yet smooth taste to it. The process necessary to create maple sugar will remain the same if you use another grade, of course. In any case, this golden, yummy sugar can be used as a sweetener and thus replace products such as brown and white sugar. Maple sugar adds subtle earthy flavors to coffees and teas, for example, while refined and synthetic sugars are more plain and flat. It can also be used as an ingredient to many recipes, much like its syrupy version. If you are afraid that the liquid state of the maple syrup will alter your recipe, using maple sugar can be a great idea, as it will stay in balance. It is often used in apple crisps and apple pies, although it can be added to any kind of dessert and even to savory meals and snacks. It can even be used as a topping for many foods, such as ice cream and cereals. And despite what you might have heard regarding maple sugar making, it is not as hard as some people like to claim. With the right tools, such a recipe can in fact be pretty easy to make.
You might be surprized to discover that maple sugar contains only one ingredient – pure maple syrup – which is why it is a pretty natural alternative to refined sugar. The syrup simply crystallizes when it is cooked and stirred, creating a product that has a nice granulated texture to it. And even though a lot of the water found in the syrup evaporates, the sugar fluffs so the volume is the same at the end of the process. Therefore, you should be able to replace one cup of white sugar with exactly a cup of maple sugar.
To make a single pound of sugar, 2 cups of pure maple syrup should be enough. Of course, you can always add more syrup so the recipe yields more.
Here are the few steps required to make this irresistible sugar:
1. Pour the maple syrup in a deep pan, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook until the syrup reaches about 260 °F (127 °C), depending on your elevation.
2. Remove from heat, and begin stirring immediately or wait until the syrup cools to 200 °F (93 °C). Stir using a stand mixer or by hand until the thickened syrup becomes granulated.
3. Use a fine mesh strainer to sift the maple sugar.
4. Store in an airtight container at room temperature. Enjoy!