My family craves maple syrup. We make pancakes every weekend, just to have something to keep the syrup from running off the plate. One night my daughter and I read about sugar on snow in Little House in the Big Woods: "Grandma ... poured hot syrup on each plate of snow. It cooled into soft candy, and as fast as it cooled they ate it. They could eat all they wanted, for maple sugar never hurt anybody." Below is my enriched recipe, which never hurt anybody either.
Hands-On Time: 10 minutes
Ready In: 15 minutes
1 cup real maple syrup
1/4 cup salted butter
Fresh snow, vanilla ice cream, or shaved ice
Optional: Dill pickles and saltines
- Heat the syrup and butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring to avoid a boilover. (Heating syrup is strictly a parent's job.)
- The mixture is ready 6 to 7 minutes after it boils (220 to 234 degrees on a candy thermometer). It should stiffen when dripped onto a plate.
- Remove from heat and cool for 2 minutes before pouring over the snow, ice cream, or ice. It cools so quickly that kids can taste it right away.
- Finish by nibbling some pickles or saltines — a sugarhouse tradition "for getting taste buds back to normal," because sugar on snow is so sweet, says Martha Boisvert of the North Hadley Sugar Shack in Massachusetts.