The snow came down hard, the kids are whiny and restless, and you did not remember to stock up on treats. The solution? Snow candy. Nature has provided you with everything you need to spend the day eating sumptuous, tooth-obliterating taffy—assuming you happen to have a bottle of real maple syrup in the fridge.
Mmm, snow candy. Is it safe to eat snow? Yes, probably—as long as you don’t live right next to a busy highway or in an urban area. And even if you live in a grimy city, the recipe below doesn’t technically involve eating snow.
- Time: 10 minutes
- Cost: $3.75 a batch or so—less if you’ve got cheaper maple syrup handy, more if you don’t have basic kitchen implements.
- Difficulty: Easy
Tools and materials
- 8 oz (1 cup) maple syrup
- A small saucepan
- A stovetop
- Whisk or wooden spoon
- Wooden craft sticks (optional)
- Candy thermometer (optional)
- Sort out your snow. If you’ve got a pristine patch of freshly-fallen white stuff sitting pretty on your patio, you can just make your candy right there. You want to make sure you’ve got plenty of clearance between the snow you’ll be pouring molten sugar on and anything you don’t want to eat—like dog pee or dirt. So unless you feel confident that a cubic six inches or so of snow in your yard is clean (and going to stay that way for the next ten minutes) just pack some into a pan and stick it in your freezer for safe keeping.
- Get yourself some quality syrup. The genuine maple article, if you please. This is important: If you use the fake stuff—which is just corn syrup in disguise—you’ll end up with a gooey, artificially-flavored mess.
- Put a cup of the syrup (or more! or less! the world is your single-ingredient-recipe oyster) in a small saucepan. If you’ve got a pot that’s good for pouring—one with a nice handle, and maybe even a spout—now is the time to use it.
- Place your pot on the stove on medium-high heat. Bring that baby to a boil. Stir it frequently to keep it from bubbling over or burning.
- Let your maple syrup hit the “soft-ball stage.” This refers to the behavior it will exhibit as it cools down: the molten liquid will form a soft, flexible ball when it hits cold water. If you’ve got a candy thermometer handy, 235°F is the magic number. Alternatively, you can do a practical test by dabbing droplets of boiling syrup into cold water and then seeing how squishy they are. Or, if you’re feeling lazy, just set a timer for four minutes—your sugar should be pretty much where you want it to be after around four to five minutes of boiling.
- Before the syrup has a chance to cool, pour it onto a layer of packed snow. If you want your candy to come in the form of snowy lollipops, lay some popsicle sticks out first and pour the syrup back and forth along the top third of the sticks. Otherwise, just drizzle your syrup across the whole surface of your snowpack and double back as needed. It should start to cool immediately.
- Let the candy cool down. Once the strips are hard enough to pick up, do so—and eat them immediately. And don’t forget to brush your teeth after. Tell your dentist we’re sorry.
This article was originally published on March 22, 2018. It has been updated.