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Sugar on Snow

Where maple sap flows, all one needs to make taffy is snow.

A fun and easy winter treat, maple syrup on snow candy requires just two ingredients — pure maple syrup and fresh, clean snow.

Have you ever tried maple syrup on snow? New Englanders and Eastern Canadians celebrate sugaring season (the time of year when maple sap is ready for collection) by making candy from the best of winter’s harvest: maple syrup and snow.

Maple taffy, called “Sugar on Snow” in New England and “Tire sur la Neige” in francophone Canada, is a confectionary unique to maple country. Made by pouring boiling maple sap over a mound of fresh snow, this treat appears when winter gives way to spring. Maple sap collection is made possible by above-freezing days and below-freezing nights. The changes in air pressure create suction that pulls water into the tree at night and pushes sap out during warmer days.

When sap is collected, it only contains about two percent sugar. This liquid is reduced and thickened to form a syrup. To create Sugar on Snow, maple syrup is heated and then poured over a mound of snow. As the syrup hardens, it forms a taffy-like candy. Because the best powder falls in the peak of winter, some New Englanders (especially in Vermont) readily admit to storing trash bags of snow in the freezer in preparation for sugaring season.

Suggested doughnuts for taffy dipping and pickles to cut the sweetness. The sour saltiness of the pickles is necessary so that one may begin all over again and the doughnuts may be used for dunking.

MAPLE SYRUP ON SNOW RECIPE

1. Have ready a pan of hard packed snow ready. A pie pan or dish works well here. Keep the pan outside to keep cold while you prepare the syrup.

2.  Boil 1/2 cup of pure maple syrup until it reaches 235°F on a candy thermometer (the soft-ball stage).

3.  Remove the syrup from the heat and immediate drizzle it over the packed snow. Be careful — the syrup will be very hot. Allow it to cool for a moment, and then enjoy!

 

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