By the third snow day, I was pretty ready to be done with snow. We had already spent the past two days doing every possible no-cost snow activity I could think of: shoveling, sledding, snowball fights, snow-fort construction, snow-fort demolition, and my personal favorite: cramming as much snow as possible up the sleeves of our coats and then crying about it.
Still, we had all that beautiful snow, so I decided to try something new: making maple taffy (also known as maple sugar on snow). Have you heard of it? Basically, it's a soft candy made by heating up maple syrup to a certain point and then rapidly cooling it down. That's where the snow comes in: you pour the hot syrup directly onto the snow. Then, once cool, you take a popsicle stick and roll the taffy onto the end like a lollipop. The cold temperature of the snow cools the taffy into a soft, sticky mass. The snow also tends to stick to the taffy, making it as icy cold as it is sweet.
A half cup of maple syrup makes a snack for 4 to 6. Scope out an area of snow that is clean and not yellow ahead of time. You want the snow at least two inches deep as the top layer will melt and sink when the hot syrup comes in contact with it. You need a candy thermometer, a small pot, and a willingness to babysit the pot as it boils to make sure that the syrup doesn't bubble up and over the sides of the pot. It really wants to. Just lower the heat as necessary. When the syrup reaches a temperature range of 234° to 238°F (recipes vary), turn off the heat and immediately bring the pot and your popsicle sticks outside. Pour the syrup onto the snow in lines about 6 inches long. Adhere a popsicle stick to one end of the amber ribbon and roll it onto itself. Rest it in the snow while you complete the others. Eat immediately (off its icy bed, the taffy tends to fall apart). Once you're done, you can use the stick to dig any residual maple syrup out of the snow and eat it like a snow cone. For me, this was half the fun.
So there it is: possibly the only exception to the "Don't Eat Yellow Snow" rule!
Local Ingredient Sources:
Maple syrup: Williams Farm Sugarhouse, Old Deerfield, MA