A natural sweetener produced from the sap of maple trees, especially the North American sugar maple and the black maple. After the sap is collected from the trees, it is boiled to evaporate the water content of the sap. The boiling process is stopped at different stages to produce various forms of maple sugar. Maple syrup is produced when enough water has boiled off to produce a thick, syrupy sweetener. Maple honey is slightly thicker than the syrup and is the result of continued boiling. Maple cream is thicker still and can be spread like butter. When most of the water is removed, maple sugar forms, which is a somewhat sticky form of the natural maple sweetener. It has nearly twice the sweetening power of granulated white cane sugar, but it is not as dry and does not crystallize into fine grains. Maple sugar is often added to cereal, baked goods, and ice cream and is also used to produce maple candy.
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