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Kitchen Science for kids 
 
by Ann MacDonald May 23, 2005

Maple Sugar Crystal Candy

Crystals are organized structures; when atoms and molecules align in certain ways it makes crystalline shapes. Crystals are all around us – in gemstones, rocks and even things in our kitchens like salt and sugar. Crystals can be used to transmit signals and have been used in everyday items from radios to watches.

Maple syrup is a liquid form of sugar. When it is cooled, it becomes solid and forms crystals. The size of the crystals is dependent on the speed with which the syrup cools.

To make Maple Sugar Crystal Candy, you will need:

- Real maple syrup (pure)

- saucepan

- a small baking pan or pie tin filled with a thin layer of water and frozen to create a flat sheet of ice

- waxed paper

- a large heat-resistant spoon

Once you have your ingredients and tools gathered, you are ready to make your Maple Sugar Crystal Candy:

  1. Several hours before you are ready to make your candy, make sure to prepare your sheet of ice. Place a thin layer of water (about one quarter of an inch) in a baking pan or pie tin and place it in the freezer until it is frozen solid.
  2. Place your baking pan with the sheet of ice on the countertop.
  3. On another flat area of the counter, spread a sheet of waxed paper.
  4. Heat your maple syrup over a medium flame in the saucepan, stirring constantly. Bring it to a boil and allow it to cook a little more until it is very thick and concentrated. Keep stirring to ensure that it does not burn. (Make sure an adult does this part.)
  5. Use your spoon to drop dollops of the hot, thick maple syrup onto the ice and onto the waxed paper. Do not touch it yet – it will still be really hot!
  6. Watch as the maple syrup cools. It will form crystals and solidify.
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