The Maple Syrup Basics
Pure maple syrup is a unique product of nature. Each spring, sugarmakers tap native sugar maple (Acer Saccarum) trees and begin collecting the sweet sap. The sap is then concentrated by boiling, to produce the delicately flavored maple syrup that is known throughout the world.
Native Americans were the first to collect the sap and use it in their cooking. As Europeans began settling in America, they too learned the process of tapping maple trees, collecting the sap in buckets and boiling it to yield a sweet, rich product. (It takes 40 gallons of sap to produce one gallon of maple syrup.)
There are few areas in the world suited to making maple syrup. Of those, Vermont has long been recognized as the producer of the very highest quality maple syrup. This natural, flavorful sweetener is produced under strict laws which prohibit the use of additives or preservatives.
There are four flavors of syrup and they are graded as follows:
- Grade A Golden Color with Delicate Taste – formerly known as Fancy
- Grade A Amber Color with Rich Taste – formerly known as Medium Amber
- Grade A Dark Color with Robust Taste – formerly known as Dark Amber
- Grade A Very Dark with Strong Taste – formerly known as Grade B that is still mainly used for cooking
Maple butter/cream is made by boiling the syrup to a higher sugar content, then cooling it and finally whipping it into a creamy consistency. It’s used like honey on pancakes, muffins and scones
Maple candy is made by boiling the syrup, whipping it and then pouring it into molds to harden. There is nothing else added to our pure maple candy
Baking with Maple Syrup vs. Cane Sugar
1 cup of cane sugar with 3/4-1 cup of maple syrup.
Maple syrup is less sweet and has a completely different flavor than cane sugar. If you prefer something less sweet, use the lesser amount of syrup.
But maple syrup is a liquid. Should I adjust anything else?
Because syrup contains more moisture than cane sugar, decrease liquid 2-4 tablespoons per 1 cup of syrup used.
Are there any other adjustments necessary to my recipe?
Because maple syrup has a slight acidity which needs to be neutralized for batter to rise and form properly, add 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of baking soda. There are exceptions: Do NOT add soda if recipe calls for buttermilk, sour milk or sour cream, as these liquids do the same things.
Also, when baking, decrease the oven temperature by 25°F, because maple syrup tends to caramelize and burn on the top and edges faster than a batter using a solid sweetener like sugar.