I could have alternatively titled this post “Diabetic Coma” but didn’t want to take the fun out of this annual treat ;)
Both my parents were born and raised in Quebec and moved to the states in the late 60s, specifically Connecticut. Being that we were only a 5 1/2 hour drive to our Canadian families, we went back often – typically every couple of months. Just like we all have favorite foods/flavors of our respective homelands, I thoroughly enjoyed the plethora of maple products everywhere in Canada. But one of my absolute favorites was maple taffy.
Not at all like traditional wrapped up taffy you see in candy stores, maple taffy is just another name for boiled down maple syrup which becomes a soft malleable texture after cooking the super heated liquid and pouring it over snow (hence the reason many New Englanders, particularly those in Vermont, call this treat “sugar on snow”).
Every spring we’d pick up small tubs of maple taffy to store in the freezer and keep us going throughout the year, but as long as you have snow (or even shaved ice that represent the consistency of snow cones) and REAL maple syrup (and a candy thermometer) then you’re good to go!
Since we got a good foot+ of snow over the past couple of days and because I had a couple extra cans of syrup my mom brought me from Canada, I figured it would be a good time to make this.
This is really simple to make but takes some time and a very watchful eye (as in, don’t leave the stove for about a 1/2 hour less you burn your taffy or worse yet, have a sticky, nearly impossible-to-remove goo all over your stovetop).
First pour approximately 2 cups of syrup into a medium saucepan (you can more or less depending on how much you want) and bring to a boil (this will happen relatively quickly, in a couple minutes, and you need to watch for this to happen as it will otherwise boil over). Once it starts to boil, lower heat to medium-low so it continues to lightly boil (but doesn’t boil over; that last picture was a bit too close so I lowered heat even more)
While the syrup is boiling fill a large casserole dish with snow and pack it down really hard so that it almost represents an icy snowball; put in the freezer until it is needed; this will further harden it (and keep an extra batch of snow to the side to refill the dish as the hot syrup will naturally start to melt it and you’ll need to refill your dish
Simmer the syrup until it reaches 232 degrees (took me about a 1/2 hour, but then again water boils much slower at high altitude and I’m at 8,300′ feet); slowly pour over 1/3 of the syrup in the middle of the snow-packed casserole dish, spreading it out so it doesn’t puddle in one spot
Let syrup remain on snow for about 20-25 seconds, then pull it off the snow with a spoon (it will seamlessly pull away as the snow has cooled it to a malleable consistency); put in glass bowl and refill casserole dish with more packed snow and continue process 2 more times with the remainder of syrup
Use spoons to twirl taffy around and enjoy in small doses! As it cools/hardens even more, it will turn into a chewy taffy and even harden more so that it will be like a lollipop on a spoon
I warned you, this is not for the faint of heart (or for those with sugar issues!) but it’s a fun treat to make annually and as a way to enjoy the snow. And for me, it brings me back to my New England/Canadian roots. :)