Pure maple syrup gets most of the maple sugar glory, but there are many who also look forward to an annual maple candy treat, be it a single piece or an entire gift box. Prized for its crumbly-meets-creamy texture and deep maple flavor, maple candy is made when the sap is heated beyond the syrup stage to the crystalline stage, where it’s then whipped and poured into decorative molds to harden. Here are a few easy-to-make maple syrup candies for you to try out this winter.
Easy Maple Syrup Candy Recipes
Maple Syrup Snow Candy
Maple syrup snow candy is candy in its simplest form. It’s made by pouring boiling maple syrup on a clean bed of snow. The cold snow instantly stops the syrup from cooking and cools it to the consistency of taffy in seconds.
Making maple candy or maple taffy this way is a popular winter tradition here in Vermont. It’s a regular activity at outdoor winter carnivals and at maple syrup festivals in late winter and early spring. But don’t worry, you can also make this fun treat in the comfort of your warm kitchen even if you don’t have any snow.
Pack snow or grated ice on a rimmed baking sheet. Press down to create an even layer, and place in the freezer.
Combine maple syrup and ginger in a small saucepan over high. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring often, until a candy thermometer registers 240°F (soft ball stage), about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat.
Place the prepared baking sheet of snow from the freezer to the counter. Pour hot syrup mixture into 6 long strips over the snow. Quickly sprinkle a bit of salt over each syrup strip. Working quickly, use a craft stick to press gently on 1 end of each strip; roll slightly hardened maple candy mixture onto the stick, gently forming into a candy pop at the end of each stick.
Place finished candy pops on a sheet of parchment paper while you make the rest, and enjoy candy immediately.
If you’ve ever considered licking the plate clean after finishing a stack of pancakes, you’ll want to try these maple syrup candies. A finish of flaky salt on the soft ones helps balance the intense sweetness. You can easily double or triple this recipe and use whatever nuts you have on hand; just make sure to use a large pot to avoid boiling over. These are perfect for sharing!
Hard Maple Leaf Candy
Maple leaf candy is an authentic sweet with just two ingredients: maple syrup and butter. It doesn’t get much simpler—or sweeter—than that. Maple syrup is boiled, mixed with just a bit of butter, and then molded into beautiful leaf-shaped candies.
Prepare the candy mold before heating the maple syrup. Spray it with cooking spray to prevent the candy from sticking when it cools.
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the maple syrup and butter to a boil over medium heat.
When the maple syrup starts to boil, put in the candy thermometer and wait for the temperature to reach 235°F. This should take no more than 30 minutes.
Pour the syrup into a bowl and cool for 10 minutes. Do not exceed this time or else the candy will start to harden and you might have a hard time transferring it to the candy molds. If in case you missed the 10-minute mark and the syrup has started to harden, you can fix it by adding a little bit of water and re-boiling the mixture.
Before pouring the syrup onto the candy molds, stir it to lighten the color. There are two ways you can do this. First, if you have a mixer, beat the syrup on medium-low speed for 1 minute. Or, you can just use a wooden spoon to stir the maple syrup for 5 minutes. The candy will start to appear thick and cloudy as it cools.
Pour the mixture into the candy molds and let it cool completely for 1 hour.
Release the candy from the molds and store in an airtight container.
*The traditional shape of this maple candy is a maple leaf, but it does not have to be molded. If you prefer, you can pour the mixture onto a cookie sheet or pan lined with foil, and then cut it into squares once it’s set. If you are using molds, make sure they are heat safe and not just plastic molds intended for chocolate.
Optional toppings or add-ins if desired – crushed nuts, cinnamon, vanilla, etc.
Make sure your butter is softened somewhat. This speeds up the process.
In a small saucepan, combine your butter, sugar, maple syrup, and water.
Mix on the stovetop on medium heat until sugar is dissolved into the butter.
Increase heat to medium-high until you reach a boil. Don’t boil too high or too long otherwise, your sugar will burn.
Reduce heat to medium or at 285°F, somewhat of a soft boil.
Continue to cook, whisking constantly, until the candy thermometer reaches 300°F/hard stage (this will take about 10-15 minutes). Be careful to watch the pot so the mixture doesn’t overflow. The liquid boil will be a nice dark amber color once done.
Carefully pour the hot mixture onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Spread it around evenly.
Pour your dark chocolate chips on top.
The chocolate will start to melt into the mixture. Spread the melted dark chocolate around evenly with a spatula.
Add any other topping you’d like. Crushed nuts, salt, cinnamon, vanilla, etc. Spread it around the pan as well.
Place in the fridge for 2 hrs. Once hardened, remove from the fridge and cut into pieces.
In a medium saucepan, combine the maple syrup, brown sugar, whipping cream, condensed milk, corn syrup, and salt. Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture reaches 245°F on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat and mix in the butter.
Pour candy into a 6-inch square pan lined with parchment paper and allow candy to cool and set for about 3 hours.
Grab the ends of the parchment paper and lift the candy out of the pan. Using a very sharp knife, sprayed with nonstick cooking spray, cut the caramels into squares.
Wrap each caramel in wax paper squares or candy wrappers. Store in a dry cool place.
If pure and sweet maple candy isn’t for you, try mixing it up a bit with some other familiar flavors.
Pour the maple syrup into a medium saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring occasionally. Use a candy thermometer to read the temperature, letting it boil until it reaches 235°F. Once it reaches this temperature, remove it from the heat.
Let the pot cool to 175°F, without stirring. Then stir the mixture rapidly with a wooden spoon or spatula. Keep stirring and after about 5 minutes, the mixture will thicken, lighten and become creamy. Stir in the vanilla.
Once it’s thickened and the color looks like a golden fudge color, work quickly to transfer the mixture into your molds, as it will set fast. Leave the fudge in the molds to cool completely before removing. Keep the fudge in an airtight tin for up to 1 month at room temperature.
Maple Nutty Candy
12 oz chocolate-flavored candy coating, cut up
1 12 oz package butterscotch-flavored pieces (2 cups)
In a heavy, medium saucepan, combine the chocolate-flavored candy coating and the butterscotch-flavored pieces. Cook and stir the candies over low heat until melted. [Or, combine the candies in a microwave-safe 4-cup glass measuring cup. Microcook on 100 percent power (high) for 2 to 3 minutes or until melted, stirring every minute.]
Stir peanut butter into the chocolate mixture. Spread 1 3/4 cups of the mixture into a greased 15 x 10 x 1-inch baking pan. Refrigerate until the mixture in the pan is set (about 20 minutes). Set the remaining mixture aside.
Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, melt the butter or margarine. Stir in the evaporated milk and the vanilla pudding mix. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened (mixture may appear curdled). Stir in maple syrup and vanilla. Stir in the powdered sugar.
Carefully spread the pudding mixture over the cooled chocolate mixture in the baking pan. If necessary, reheat the remaining chocolate-peanut butter mixture to melt. Stir in the peanuts. Carefully spread the chocolate-peanut butter mixture over the pudding. Chill in the refrigerator to set.