Maple syrup crystals are sugar crystals grown from maple syrup. They have a more complex flavor than pure sugar crystals and may have a slight amber color. You can eat them as they are, use them as edible decorations, or use them to sweeten drinks. They are easy to grow.
This method forms quick, good-sized crystals:
- Stir and heat maple syrup in a pan over medium heat. Don’t use high heat or you may burn the sugar.
- Continue heating until you start to see crystals forming on the sides or bottom of the pan. Crystals will start to form once enough water has evaporated from the liquid.
- Pour the syrup onto a chilled plate. Alternatively, pour the syrup into a dish and place it in the refrigerator.
This method forms instantaneous, medium-sized crystals:
- Pour water into a cookie sheet so that there is a thin layer across the sheet (about 1/4 inch). You don’t need a deep layer. Place the cookie sheet into the freezer until the water freezes into ice.
- Heat a cup over maple sugar over medium heat until it thickens. Remove the pan from heat and let it cool enough that it’s safe to handle.
- Remove the cookie sheet of ice from the freezer. Drop spoonfuls of the hot syrup onto the ice. Because of the rapid cooling, crystals form quickly (within seconds to minutes), but they may not be as large or well-formed as you’d get from a slower cooling method.
This method takes longer, but produces the largest crystals:
- Heat maple syrup over medium heat until it thickens. Remove it from heat.
- Let the syrup cool undisturbed. If necessary, you can transfer the syrup from a pan into another container to watch crystal growth. You can cover the container with a coffee filter or paper towel, but don’t seal it. You want to allow evaporation.
- If you don’t see growth after a few days, move the syrup to the refrigerator. The decrease in temperature will initiate crystal growth.
Accidental Maple Syrup Crystals
Sometimes crystals spontaneously appear in maple syrup. This is particularly common if you refrigerate the syrup or leave it open long enough for water to evaporate from the liquid. The syrup (and crystals) are safe to eat. The easiest way to get the crystals is to pour the syrup into another contain and then pry the crystals out.
However, if you want to dissolve the crystals back into the syrup, add a small amount of water to the syrup and place the container in a pan of hot water. Try to break up the crystals and swirl them around to dissolve. If you simply heat the syrup, it’s unlikely the crystals will dissolve because the syrup is a saturated solution. It’s essential to give the crystals some water in which to dissolve.