CENTRAL NEW YORK, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Just when you think chocolate can’t get any sweeter, it can. A new recipe is in the works and it’s part of a bigger project by the Cornell Maple Program.

Those in the program are on a mission to grow maple syrup production and boost rural economies by creating new products for the $30 million maple industry.

They’ve tapped a chocolatier in Lodi to make an entirely new recipe.

Claire Benjamin owns and runs Rue Claire Lavender Farm and Artisan Chocolates. Inside her shop, she’s working to develop recipes for maple chocolate on a commercial scale.

Her days start as the sun comes up and often end at 7:30 the next morning. The long days are worth it and necessary to find the perfect blend and create a product that could boost production because of the type of sugar.

This sugar is amorphous sugar. What it means is it’s easily dissolved, and what that means in commercial scale for the chocolatier and confection industry is saving time in producing the chocolate.

Claire Benjamin

Normally, it can take three to six days to refine the sugars. This sugar can cut that time by 20 to 30 percent.

Right now, Benjamin is in phase one. She’s learning the character of her cacao beans. The next step is the most crucial.

“Identify the temperature of roasting and also the timing for that will develop the chocolate taste,” said Benjamin.

She compares going from ‘bean to bar’ to a marriage. Benjamin has to find compatibility and balance while pulling the right flavor out of the bean.

“They have so much character. There are 500 different flavors in each bean.”

claire benjamin

The target date to find the right blend is sometime over the summer.

Benjamin says she won’t rush the process, but she’s well on her way. In the work she’s done so far, Benjamin has pulled out a profound maple sugar flavor.

“I think we’ll get it, I just yeah, I just don’t want to jinx it,” Benjamin laughs.