Maple sugar candy is made by heating maple syrup and pouring it into candy molds. The syrup is made from maple tree sap with the excess water boiled from it. Some candy has corn syrup or cane sugar added, but that type is more accurately known as blended maple sugar candy rather than the genuine version, which is made from just maple syrup.
When maple syrup is heated, the color of the syrup lightens and the syrup starts to become a bit firmer in consistency. These are both indications that the syrup is starting to crystallize. At that point, it is placed into molds, often made from rubber. The candy is sold in many shapes, including people, animals, and Christmas designs, but the maple leaf is probably the most popular and common shape available.
Maple cream is also made with only maple syrup, but it is very different from maple sugar candy. Maple cream is whipped and sold as a spread in jars and it is heated at a lower temperature. Some people use it as a cake frosting, but it is commonly served on toast. Maple cream is also sometimes available as a filling in some packaged cookies. It differs from maple butter in that it does not have butter added to it.
Other types of candy made with maple syrup include salt water taffy and fondant. Maple salt water taffy has the syrup added to the ingredients during production, while maple fondant is similar to fudge. Some sugar maple trees have sweeter sap than others and this can affect the sweetness of different maple candies.
Collecting the maple sap from sugar maples is called sugaring. The sap is tapped from the maple trees using drilled holes in the trees. Plastic tubing, sometimes called pipeline, carries the sap from the tree to a holding tank or bucket. Acer saccharum is a type of sugar maple commonly found in northeastern regions of the United States. One sugar maple will usually provide sap for at least 100 years.