After our awesome Snowstorm in April this week, I took advantage of the fresh snow and made a batch of Maple Syrup snow taffy for the first time ever. I don't claim to have any idea what I'm doing - which will probably come across in this 'recipe', because it's very vague and suggests its own changes - but here it is documented so I can find it again and try it differently next time.
- Fresh, clean snow - one recipe I found suggested packing it down, which I did. Since I brought it in on a tray, though, I think I'll skip this part next time. The syrup didn't really sink into the snow, and I wonder if the effects would have been better on softer snow.
- 100 % Maple syrup - I used about a cup (didn't measure precisely), and it would have served 8 people easily, although I try to limit our sugar intake, so take that as you will.
- Some kind of lollipop sticks, or popcicle sticks for picking it up
I put the syrup in a small sauce pan and boiled it until a drop of syrup in a glass of cold water formed a soft ball. The boiling took quite awhile (I didn't time it), and occasionally it threatened to boil over and required pretty much constant attention and stirring for the time it took. If you had a candy thermometer (I don't), you could research the exact temperature required - that would probably be easier than what I did. The syrup drop appeared to be quite liquid still, but I could pick it up and shape it with my fingers. I wouldn't have wanted it to get much firmer - although some recipes said that this would just create a harder, crunchier candy.
Immediately after cooking the syrup to desired temperature, I drizzled it onto the snow. We waited a few seconds for the syrup to solidify slightly in the snow, but we found it worked best if we didn't wait too long either, or the syrup became too hard to pick up with the stick. We could still pick it up with our fingers, though, and it still tasted fine, so not a complete waste. Our best technique was to poke the largest end of the syrup strip and roll it up as much as possible around itself to form a lollipop on the end of the stick.
I set the saucepan down on the stove with the remaining syrup - only half comfortably fit in drizzles on my baking sheet - and I don't know if it became too cool, or what changed, but the rest of the syrup didn't produce very good taffy. It had become opaque - maybe with tiny bubbles - and didn't have the smooth, glassy consistency that the first amount had. Audrey still ate it, and it was still sugary and candy-like, but not as nice as the earlier stuff.
There you are - when life gives you snow, make snow candy!