Maple candy recipe: How to make maple candy from maple sap or syrup

Collecting sap from the maple trees in my yard is one of my favorite things to do–it gives me something to look forward to and occupy my time during those last weeks of winter. When the sap runs up the maple tree, it wakes the buds up out of the winter doldrums and it can wake you up as well.

There is only one thing in this world that tastes better than homemade maple syrup–and that is homemade maple candy.

Here is how to make maple candy from maple sap or maple syrup.


Step 1: Collect maple sap from your trees in late winter

To make a small batch of maple candy, you’re going to want 1-2 gallons of maple sap. Maple sap runs from the roots up through the trunk to the branches in late Winter or early Spring days when the temperature drops several degrees below freezing at night and rises several degrees above freezing during the day.

Learn more about Maple syrup harvesting season here

Step 2: Boil your sap to concentrate the sugars

The maple tree sap naturally has a small amount of sugar in it. You can turn that sap into delicious maple candy by concentrating the sap by boiling it down. As the sap boils, water, in the form of steam, evaporates and leaves the remaining boiling liquid sweeter during the process.

maple sap boiling vigorously
It is easier to control things if you switch to a smaller finishing pot like this

You actually need to boil off about 39/40ths of the water to make maple syrup.    Things get a little more complicated as the liquid concentrates, so once you have the liquid level low enough to fit into a smaller pot, you should transfer to that smaller pot so you can manage better control.

For example, when I start boiling gallons of sap, I start with this stainless steel stockpot.

But then I finish things up in this smaller pot.

The sap transforms into syrup right around the stage where nearly all the water has evaporated and the temperature of liquor is about 219F-220F, although I find that it’s still a bit runny for my liking at this stage. You can continue to cook it a few more degrees if you prefer, although you increase the risk that the sugars in your syrup may crystallize in the container before you finish it, I find it’s worth the risk to get a more viscous syrup.

If you want to set some syrup aside for later, you can pour some off now and save it in a mason jar.

Maple syrup set aside for later
Since you have to turn the maple sap into maple syrup first before you can make candy, why not set aside a little for breakfast.

To make maple candy from this maple sap (now turned into syrup) you continue to boil until the temperature reaches 235F.

A couple of warnings for you here: watch out, the sticky syrup will “pop” while bubbling and may scald your hands, arms and make a mess of the stove. You will also want to watch the pot very closely because the syrup is very likely to boil over. As the syrup gets this hot, there’s something amazing that happens where it forms some crazy foamy bubbles, like this:

watch out for super-bubbles like this
Things can get a bit messy and out of control as you get into and past the syrup stage. Be ready to take the pot off the heat to avoid boiling over

Once you hit 235F and keep things from boiling over, you are ready for the next step.

Step 3: Let the syrup/candy cool

Set the homemade maple sap that you had boiled to 235F aside to cool for about 8-11 minutes.

Step 4: Stir

After cooling for about 10 minutes, stir until your shoulder is sore
Stir the glossy liquid until it’s no longer glossy and your shoulder hurts

After cooling for 8-11 minutes, you want to stir the sticky substance rapidly, heavily, using a heavy-duty spoon or ladle for about 4-5 minutes, until the glossy liquid transforms into a duller-colored, creamy and thick candy.

Step 5: Pour the candy into silicone candy molds like these:

Silicone candy molds
SIlicone candy molds

Or simply dribble the candy out on parchment paper to cool.

homemade maple candy cooling on parchment paper
A great way to cool extra maple candy is to just pour it out onto parchment paper
pouring homemade maple candy into leaf-shaped molds

By the way, the parchment paper technique is perfect for cooling that little bit of extra candy you might have after you fill your molds.

Step 6: Continue cooling

Wait for the candies to cool to room temperature then pop them out of the molds.

Maple candy in leaf molds starting to cool
Notice they’re still a little glossy here–they could have been stirred even longer

After they cool, the color becomes even creamier:

creamy maple candies made from maple sap
just a few moments later, those candies change color and are ready to be taken out of the molds
The first maple leaf shaped candy made from sap I collected from a tree in my yard
Amazing to think that this gorgeous and deliciously sweet candy came from a tree in my yard. How much fun is this!!!

Step 7: Clean up any unsightly edges, if you want. Feel free to sample along the way.

Homemade maple candy up close
Homemade maple candy up close

Step 8: Enjoy them right away or wrap them up in a cute box to give as a gift.

maple candy just taken out of molds
You can clean up the edges of the maple candies with a knife to create a nicer presentation

Want to make maple candy like this?

You can order your own leaf-shaped candy molds (surprisingly affordable) here:

leaf shaped molds for making maple candies
These are the exact molds I used in this recipe

Explore the price and options on Amazon

What to read next

Check out these other delicious recipe posts for more inspiration about what you can do with your homemade maple syrup:

Did I use any maple sugaring jargon here? Check out the glossary.

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