I grew up in Maine, which is maple syrup country, and now live in upstate New York, which is also big-time maple syrup country-so what I am about to say may rank me as a heretic among my friends and neighbors.
I use Mapleine. (Gasp!) In my defense, as I’ve mentioned before my kiddos love mini pancakes and waffles for breakfast with a little cup of syrup to dip them into. They go through so much of the stuff that I’m starting to think that they drink it when I’m not looking! I’d go broke supplying them with real grade A New York Maple Syrup at approx $5 a jug. At DH’s insistance, we do have a jug of the “good stuff” hidden in the back of the fridge for him to use, and honestly I use the low cal stuff from the grocery store (at least until I drop that last 10 lbs of post baby weight-yeah, I know he’s almost 3. . . )
For those of you not familiar with it, Mapleine is a maple flavoring-it isn’t exactly a flavor extract like you buy almond or strawberry or anything. You can use it as a flavoring in baking, but it is mostly used to make imitation maple syrup. One 2 oz bottle can make 24 PINTS of table syrup. Each batch takes 2C sugar and 1C water plus 1/2 tsp of the Mapleine. Considering that I get sugar for less than a dollar a 5lb bag, and I would only need 2 cups of that (so lets be generous and say that is 1/4 a bag) that would be $.25, plus the water for free, and 1/24 th of the bottle of Mapleine ($3) is $.13 that means a batch of syrup costs $.38. A batch only half fills my syrup bottle, so a double batch is about $.76. I don’t think I’ve ever seen regular syrup on sale for $.76 before. .
The directions on the package say to pour 1 C boiling water over the sugar and then add the flavoring, but I like to actually combine the water and sugar in a pot and bring it to a boil. It doesn’t look very thick at first, but it does eventually thicken up as it cools (although it never gets as thick as the real stuff). I also like to put a bit of butter flavored extract in for that “buttered syrup” flavor, but it really isn’t necessary.