With all the talk of maple sugaring time around here, I thought I would share something fun my kids and I did during our last big snow. We made Maple Syrup Snow Candy.
My youngest daughter is big onto the “Little House on the Prairie Series” by Laura Ingalls Wilder. She has read the whole series at least twice. In the book “Little House in the Big Woods”, Laura Ingalls tells us about going to her grandparents in the big woods of Wisconsin during maple sugaring time to collect sap from the sugar maple trees. Then boiling it down to make maple syrup.
Her family was able to enjoy maple syrup on a lot of tasty treats and throughout the year. They boiled it down to make maple candy, enjoyed hasty pudding (we call this Cornmeal Mush), and made this maple syrup snow candy.
In Laura’s time, Grandma would be by her big brass kettle a long time, stirring the maple syrup as it cooked. Then, as it reached a certain point, she came to the room where Laura and the rest of her extended family were and announce “The Syrup is waxing. Come and help yourselves.” Everyone would grab a plate and head outside to fill it with snow. They came back in with their plates brimming with snow and got a tasty treat that Laura Ingalls never forgot.
“Grandma stood by the brass kettle and with a big wooden spoon she poured hot syrup on each plate of snow. It cooled into a soft candy, and as fast as it cooled they ate it”
“They could eat all they wanted, for maple sugar never hurt anybody.”
“There is plenty of syrup in the kettle, and plenty of snow outdoors. As soon as they ate a plateful, they filled their plates with snow again, and Grandma poured more syrup on it”
This is my version of Maple Syrup Snow Candy:
snow or shaved ice
pure maple syrup
wooden spoon to stir
On a snowy day, have the kids gather snow; fresh, pure, clean, white, unadulterated snow (don’t have snow? use shaved ice) on a plate or in a bowl.
Meanwhile, pour pure maple syrup into a small saucepan, about 1/4 to 1/2 cup per person, but be sure to fill the pan to at least 1 to 2 inches deep (so it doesn’t scorch).
Parents only please: Cook the syrup over medium heat until it starts to boil around the edge of the pan. Cook and stir for about 10 to 15 minutes or to ‘hard ball’ stage (250 degrees F on a candy thermometer). Remove from heat and allow to cool for about two minutes. Please be careful! 250 degrees is very hot!
Drizzle the hot maple syrup over the snow and allow to cool to warm before eating. You can used a Popsicle stick or a fork to pick up your candy. Enjoy!
Fun Fact: It takes about 40 gallons of Sugar Maple Sap to produce a just one gallon of syrup. The syrup then receives one of four “grades” based on the color and thickness of the syrup.
Quotes from “Little House in the Big Woods” by Laura Ingalls Wilder