How to make hard candy out of maple syrup?

Maple syrup is a delicious natural sweetener that can be used to make a variety of confections. With just a few ingredients and steps, you can turn maple syrup into delicious hard candy perfect for gifts or just enjoying yourself.

What is Maple Syrup?

Maple syrup is made from the sap of maple trees. The sap is boiled down to evaporate the water, leaving behind the concentrated sugary syrup. Maple syrup grades range from light amber to dark amber. The lighter grades are milder in flavor while the darker grades have a more pronounced maple flavor. For candy making, lighter maple syrups are often preferred since they won’t overpower the other flavors.

Is Making Candy Out of Maple Syrup Difficult?

Making hard candy out of maple syrup is a relatively straightforward process. It does require precise temperatures and consistent stirring to achieve the right texture. But as long as you have a candy thermometer and give your full attention during the cooking process, even beginners should be able to achieve success.

What Equipment is Needed?

You don’t need any fancy equipment to make maple candy. The essentials include:

  • A heavy bottomed pot for boiling the syrup mixture
  • Candy thermometer for monitoring the temperature
  • Silicone spatula for stirring
  • Wax paper or silicone mat for preparing the candy

Optional but helpful equipment includes:

  • Candy molds for shaping the candy
  • Marble slab for cooling the candy quickly

What Are the Basic Ingredients?

The main ingredients for maple candy are:

  • Maple syrup – Use a light amber grade for best flavor
  • Butter – Adds richness and keeps the candy from crystallizing
  • Heavy cream – Also helps inhibit crystallization
  • Salt – A pinch enhances the maple flavor
  • Spices, nuts, dried fruit, etc. (optional) – To customize the flavor

What is the Maple Candy Making Process?

Making maple candy takes about 45-60 minutes with active prep time. The basic process goes as follows:

  1. Grease your work surface or candy molds to prevent sticking
  2. Combine the maple syrup, butter, cream, and salt in a heavy pot
  3. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently
  4. Once boiling, stop stirring and allow to cook undisturbed until it reaches the hard crack stage (300-310°F)
  5. Remove from heat and stir in any flavorings (spices, nuts, etc.)
  6. Quickly pour onto the prepared surface or into candy molds
  7. Allow to cool completely before breaking into pieces or unmolding

Tips for Making Maple Candy Successfully

Follow these tips for perfectly creamy, smooth maple candy every time:

  • Use the best quality maple syrup – It does make a difference
  • Add butter and cream – This prevents crystallization so your candy stays glossy and smooth
  • Stir constantly while boiling – This prevents scorching
  • Cook to the hard crack stage – This ensures the right consistency for shaping and breaking the candy
  • Cool quickly – Pour into molds or onto a marble slab; don’t let sit in the hot pot
  • Avoid humidity – Excess moisture can make the cooled candy sticky

Maple Candy Variations

Plain maple candy is delicious, but you can also customize it with different flavor additions. Some ideas:

Flavor Add-In Amount
Spices like cinnamon or nutmeg 1 tsp
Chopped walnuts 1/4 cup
Dried fruit like cranberries or cherries 1/4 cup chopped
Mint or peppermint extract 1/2 tsp

Stir in your flavor additions right at the end before pouring the maple mixture to cool. The flavors will be suspended throughout the hardened candy.

Storage and Gift Giving

Maple candy keeps best stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. It can be kept for up to 1 month before the quality deteriorates. It can be wrapped in small pieces in wax paper or cellophane bags to give away as gifts. Maple candy makes a perfect homemade food gift for friends and family during the holidays.

Making Maple Candy with Kids

Supervising kids in the kitchen can become an opportunity for learning math, science, reading, and responsibility. Making maple candy is an especially fun cooking project for children ages 6 and up. Under adult supervision, kids can help by:

  • Measuring ingredients
  • Stirring the mixture (with assistance to avoid splatters)
  • Pouring the maple candy onto the cooling surface
  • Unmolding or breaking the cooled candy into pieces
  • Wrapping pieces for gifts

Younger children can observe steps like boiling the syrup and taking the temperature. With safety precautions, making candy can help kids gain confidence and pride in creating homemade treats.

Nutrition Information

Maple candy is made from pure ingredients, but it is still high in sugar as a confection. A 1 ounce serving provides:

  • Calories: 113
  • Fat: 0g
  • Carbs: 29g
  • Protein: 0g
  • Sugar: 27g

Since it is nearly 100% sugar, maple candy provides calories but minimal nutrition. Enjoy it in moderation as an occasional sweet treat.

FAQs About Making Maple Candy

Is it difficult to make maple candy?

Maple candy is fairly straightforward to make as long as you closely monitor the sugar syrup while it cooks. Having an accurate thermometer is also essential to bring the syrup up to the hard crack stage. But the process itself is simply boiling maple syrup to a high temperature and then cooling it.

Can I use any grade of maple syrup?

Lighter maple syrup grades like Grade A Amber or Golden work best. Dark robust grades may overpower the candy flavor. The Delicate Taste of Canada recommends Grade A Golden for candy making.

Does it have to be real maple syrup?

You really need 100% pure maple syrup, not pancake syrup, to achieve the right candy consistency and flavor. Artificial syrups are mostly corn syrup and won’t crystallize into hard candy in the same way.

How long does maple candy keep?

Maple candy stores best for 1-2 months at cool room temperature. After that, it may start to weep moisture or crystallize. Keep it in an airtight container to maximize freshness.

Can I reheat maple candy to pour new molds?

Once cooled and hardened, maple candy can’t simply be reheated and repoured. Attempting to remelt it will cause it to crystallize. For consistent results, always work with a fresh batch.


Maple candy brings together the iconic flavor of maple syrup with the fun of homemade candy. With a few simple kitchen tools, ingredients, and safety measures, you can easily turn maple syrup tapped straight from the tree into impressive edible maple leaf lollipops or maple nuts. The sweet, creamy candy makes a thoughtful food gift or old-fashioned maple treat to enjoy throughout the autumn. Satisfy your cravings for maple flavor in candy form with this simple boiled syrup recipe.

Leave a Comment