Snow finally arrived to our corner of the world over the holidays. Real snow, inches of it, like I remember we always had when I was a girl. We kind of had a non-winter last year, with tentative slushy bits of snow that couldn’t hold up against the warming winters, and truthfully, I found it kind of depressing. So when we saw the beginnings of the first heavy snowfall this December, I felt relief, and then elation.
There is no taking it for granted anymore. We immediately pursued sledding trips, snowballs, snow angels, snowmen, and generally wading around in the snowy surroundings. But I felt like our first winter snow in two years required further celebration, so we decided to make maple candy! Oh my. We’ve read about it in several stories, and not long ago, Sam said that we could do it.
So true. All you need is maple syrup which, as in any stalwart Canadian home, is a staple here. I’ve never made candy, but this is so easy, anyone can do it. Basically you boil maple syrup for a few minutes at about 235 degrees, and when it reaches a certain foamy, glassy texture, you take it off the heat. I like this tutorial, because it gives lots of visuals about how the boiling maple syrup changes as it boils, and you can try it even if you don’t have a thermometre, which we kind of didn’t as ours only went to 220 degrees.
When the syrup is done, you pour it in strips or other shapes on clean snow, either outside or collected in a bowl by your kids and brought inside. Wait a moment, then pick it up, with your fingers or rolled onto a popsicle stick. Then eat. If eaten immediately, it’s stretchy and chewy like taffy. If you wait, it will become a hard candy.
I don’t really like candy, so it’s easy for me to pass on it. But I was curious about the maple candy, and of course we had made it ourselves, so I tried it. I must say, the stretchy stuff was so good. I wouldn’t recommend it if you have loose fillings, but otherwise, surrender yourself. The kids loved it, and as far as treats go, you could do way worse than some rivulets of maple syrup. I only boiled half a cup to contain the experience, and we ate all of it, saving a piece or two for their dad, so there was no gorge. It also left us wanting more, which we will surely address before the winter is through. It was so much fun to do, so easy to share with the kids, and felt like a perfect way to celebrate the return of the snow.