Maple syrup is graded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture based on the color. The lightest in color is grade A, which ranges from light to dark amber. Grade B maple syrup is the darkest available on the retail market, but it is not frequently seen in grocery stores. It has a stronger maple flavor than the grade A maple syrup more often seen in stores. Cooks use grade B maple syrup in recipes where a strong maple flavor is desired. If you cannot find grade B maple syrup, choose a substitute based on how you would originally use the grade B maple syrup.
Grade A Maple Syrup
Grade B syrup is used in the same applications as grade A syrup: baking, cooking and as a pancake topping. Replace the grade-B syrup with an equal amount of grade A maple syrup. Look for dark amber grade-A syrup if available, otherwise, use the darkest pure maple syrup you can find. Keep in mind when making this substitution that the lighter the color of the syrup you choose, the less maple flavor it will have.
For using grade-B syrup in baked goods for sweetening where the maple flavor is not as important, use sugar to replace it. Replace each 3/4 cup of maple syrup with 1 cup of granular (white) sugar and increase the liquids in the recipe by 3 tbsp. for each cup of sugar added. Remove 1/4 tsp. of baking soda from the dry ingredients for each 1 cup of maple syrup you replace. Increase the oven temperature by 25 degrees Fahrenheit for baking, but keep the cooking time the same. For more maple flavor, add maple extract or use maple sugar instead of white sugar. Add 1/2 to 1 tsp. of maple flavoring extract from the baking aisle to the liquid ingredients in the recipe using white sugar as a substitute to enhance the maple taste lost from using sugar instead of grade B maple syrup. To use maple sugar instead of white sugar, replace each 1/2 cup of maple syrup with 1/2 to 3/4 cup of maple sugar. Add 1/4 cup more of the liquids in the recipe for each 1/2 cup of maple syrup replaced by maple sugar. Look for maple sugar on the Internet, from maple syrup producers or in gourmet grocery stores.
Replace dark grade-B syrup with the darkest honey you can find. Honey will vary in darkness depending on the source and time of year. Buckwheat and chestnut honeys are both consistently dark. Use a 1-to-1 ratio to substitute the honey for the maple syrup in any cooking, baking or table syrup application.
Use dark corn syrup, butter and maple flavoring extract to make a homemade fast replacement for grade B maple syrup for use in baking. Dark corn syrup and maple flavoring extract are both available on the baking or spice aisle at supermarkets. Combine in a saucepan over low heat 3/4 cup of dark corn syrup and 1/4 cup of butter. Stir the mixture continuously until the butter melts and the two are combined. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in 1/2 to 3/4 tsp. of maple flavoring extract. Use more extract for a stronger maple flavor. This makes 1 cup of syrup substitute. Use this mixture as a table syrup to replace grade B syrup or to replace 1 cup of maple syrup in baked goods. Using dark corn syrup replicates the dark coloring of grade B maple syrup, and adding an more flavoring extract will mirror the stronger maple flavor in grade B syrup.