Snow Day Maple Syrup Candy

Posted by Dawn Hessel on

We had snow!  While this may not seem like something exciting to our Northern friends, us Southerners are all like Heck Ya, a flake fell from the sky, lol.  

While we didn't get more than a couple inches, we had enough to build a snowman, have a snowball fight and go sledding (albeit muddy sledding...).  We had two wonderful days of snow filled fun before it all melted away and we logged more hours towards our 1000 Hours Outside Challenge those two days than we did all month!

It had been 6 years since my kids had seen any measurable amount of snow, and at 4 and 6 years old their memories of snow were a little hazy, especially for the younger one. When snow hit the forecast, I wanted to do something special for them, so I planned to add making maple syrup snow candy to our list of "must do" snow activities. 

I had the idea tucked the away in my memory since I was a kid.  I first heard of it when reading one of the Saddle Club books by Bonnie Bryant called Snow Ride.  Stevie went to visit her friend in Vermont and participated in their annual maple sugar gathering and sugaring off where they boiled the sap into syrup, sugar and candy!  They talked about continuing to boil the sap after it had turned to syrup then pouring it onto fresh, clean snow creating strings of maple candy.  Oh, how it sounded so good!
 

While we don't have sugar maple trees to tap ourselves, I found some good organic syrup at the grocery store to try it out with.  Below is how I made our candy.

MAKING MAPLE SYRUP SNOW CANDY

1. Gather your ingredients.  This is a pretty simple recipe, calling for 1 cup pure maple syrup, 1/4 butter (optional) and snow.  

2. If you have enough snow you can just put the candy right onto the snow, but since we could still see grass, I had my kids pack snow into a 9x13 baking pan.

3. Place maple syrup and butter into a pan and start heating it up. How hot you heat it depends on what you want the consistency of your candy to be.  I would occasionally stir to make sure the pot doesn't boil over. 

4. A sugar thermometer works best for temping, but you can use any thermometer if you don't have one; however, it you may not get the desired candy stage reading without a candy thermometer.  One way to help decide if your maple syrup is done is by testing it.  Below is a handy chart on sugar stages and how to test for each one.

I heated ours to 240.  I had every intention of hitting the firm ball stage, but got impatient.  Heating sugar is a slow process and when you have eager kids, sometimes you do what you have to do.  Just keep in mind, the softer the candy, the less it will hold its shape if you want to store some for later.  At the soft ball stage, the candy pieces will not hold their shape long term and will "melt" into each other.  If you want to store the candy, I would recommend at a minimum the hard ball stage, if not soft crack. 

5. Once I hit my desired temp which was 240, I tested using the above method. As you can see in the pictures, the maple syrup came out in a ball but easily squished between my fingers. 

6. Once maple syrup is at the desired stage, take sugar outside and either spoon or pour onto your snow.  Be careful letting younger kids handle the hot sugar.  Hot sugar will easily burn..

7. The candy cools pretty quickly, but make sure it is 100% cooled off before eating so you don't burn your tongue.

This candy was everything I imagined it to be as a child! 

If you decide to make these candies, let me know what sugar stage you heated them to and what you think of them!  Tag me @huckleberrycreektoys on Instagram!

 


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