Native-Art-in-Canada has affiliate relationships with some businesses and may receive a commission if readers choose to make a purchase.

Maple Sugar Candy

An Old Ojibwa Recipe for Maple Sugar Candy

Maple sugar candy was a special treat my kokum made for her grandkids when they dropped by for a visit.  

In the early Spring when the family was in the bush tapping the maple trees, she'd always make herself a big supply of soft maple sugar to squirrel away for the rest of the year.

She learned how to do it by working with her family in the maple camp when she was young.  Kokum would boil the maple sap until it became a very thick syrup, then add some deer tallow. When granules started to form, she'd pour it into an old wooden trough where she'd continue to stir and rub until it became a soft sugar. This she packed into many, many small birch containers called makuks.


The stored sugar was a treasure and was rationed so that it would last until the following Spring. But Kokum had a sweet tooth and the kids found that it was easy to convince her to make a treat with the maple sugar.  Here's her recipe:

Kokum's Authentic Maple Sugar Candy

To make it truly authentic you'll need to find an old tin tea cup...hers was dark blue and speckled. Then locate a small cast iron kettle with a metal handle...not a coffee pot but rather a round pot that had a handle that swung to one side or the other.

  1. Start a fire and wait until it dies down and the coals are red hot
  2. Tell stories while you're waiting
  3. Hang the kettle over the hot coals and add to it:
  • a heaping tin cup of maple sugar
  • half a cup of water
  • a tiny piece of deer tallow

Stir momentarily then boil gently without stirring until the mixture appears very thick and almost brittle.

Pour it into a cast iron frying pan lightly greased with lard rendered from any of the furry creatures you brought home from your last hunt.

With a hunting knife score some lines across the hot surface of the hardening maple syrup in both directions so that it will be easy to break apart later.

Let it least long enough so that your tongue doesn't cook when you pop a piece in your mouth.

Making Maple Syrup

How to Make Maple Syrup

Canadian Maple Syrup

Maple Sugar

Maple Sugar Pie

Birch Syrup

Ojibwa Food