Long ago, longer than I’d like to admit, I went on a middle school trip to Canada with my foreign language class. On the way north, we stopped at a maple sugar shack. We watched the masters of syrup there as they poured some onto a snowbank and we watched as it began to solidify into a glorious goo on the snow. They then magically rolled said snowy syrup onto a popsicle stick for each of us. I was awe struck and vowed to recreate this sorcery when I got home.
Every few years since that time, I’d try to pour syrup onto snow and attempt to recreate the effect, but it would just seep disappointingly into the snowbank. With a little help from my friends on the internet, I learned some basics of the science of candy (aka the magic of maple syrup), and my eyes into the culinary world opened a bit more. One of the things I learned about was that sugar syrup can reach a temperature creating the “soft ball stage”. This is the stage where syrup will form a soft ball if dropped into cold water (or onto cold snow!) THIS is the missing link to my decades old maple syrup mystery. Check it out, it’s written right on the candy thermometer! Today, the weather outside is cold and soggy, too much so to play outside with the kids. The kids are bored and could do with being wowed.
Today, I hope to recreate that magical maple moment for my children.
- 1 cup Ben’s Maple Syrup
- 3 cups snow or crushed ice (or a clean snowbank)
- 10-20 popsicle sticks, depending on how gooey you want each stick
- have a candy thermometer available
- Pour syrup into a small saucepan and whisk constantly over medium heat.
- Pour snow onto a onto a flat plate, or locate a clean snowbank outside.
- Insert the candy thermometer into the syrup and continue stirring constantly (there will be bubbling) until it reaches the “soft-ball” stage (235 degrees).
- Drizzle the syrup evenly and quickly over the snow.
- When things visibly start to harden (less than 30 seconds), lift some of the syrup onto the end of a popsicle stick and slowly roll the stick across the snow.
- Continue to circle the syrup goo onto the stick by rotating the stick.
As I hoped, the kids were wowed, particularly my 4 year-old. We will be doing this again after a clean and hefty snowfall for sure. From the weather reports, it sounds like we won’t have long to wait!