Maple Syrup Snow

Maple Syrup Snow Recipe

I first read about sugar on snow, a kind of toffee, in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s book, Little House in the Big Woods. Driving around New England in the maple-tapping season, you still see signs for sugar-on-snow parties where you can eat it with the traditional accompaniments of apple cider and doughnuts and dill pickles (to cut the sweetness).

The russet color of maple syrup makes you think of it as the quintessential fall ingredient, but it’s actually made in February and March. Native Americans, who were the first to make it, used to watch for the “sugar moon,” the first sign that it was time to tap the trees.–Diana Henry

LC Sugar Moon Note

We’ve no idea what a “sugar moon” is, either. But we do find it unspeakably comforting to know that there’s such a thing watching over us.

Special Equipment: candy thermometer

Maple Syrup Snow Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 35 M
  • 45 M
  • Servings vary. How's your sweet tooth?


  • 2 1/2 cups maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter
  • Snow you’ve collected in a large bowl


  • 1. Heat the maple syrup and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until it reaches 235°F (113°C) as measured on a candy thermometer, about 25 minutes or so. Watch the syrup carefully and reduce the temperature under the pan if it threatens to boil over. Let the syrup cool slightly.
  • 2. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the syrup on some of the compacted snow. If the syrup sits on top and sets into a weblike toffee, it’s ready. If it doesn’t, set the pan back over heat for a few minutes and then try again. When the syrup is ready, drizzle blobs on the snow and indulge immediately.
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Testers Choice

Testers Choice
Testers Choice
Julie Dreyfoos

Jan 21, 2012

This was so yummy! The maple mixture creates this gooey caramel on top of the snow. It makes quite a bit, so I called my neighbors to bring over a bowl of snow and it was so cute, they sent their 9 year old over with this big mixing bowl full of snow, so I just poured it on. (I wish you could have seen the neighbor boy with his boots and gloves on and this big bowl of snow. Very cute!) They all loved it, and described it as “a really good caramel.” The mom and dad finished their dessert off with a glass of Bailey’s. I jarred the leftovers, which will make a great caramel ice cream topping when the snow is gone–or maybe I’ll drizzle some over the whipped cream on my latte…

  1. Gary says:

    We used to make our own maple syrup (& syruped snow). The best thing I recall about making syrup was the first day’s run… it was richer, tasting almost like it already contained melted butter. The quality of the syrup seemed to gradually decline after that first batch — perhaps most of the syrup you buy is blended to some uniform standard? Or maybe it’s just a gold-infused memory?

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      Or, as you say, perhaps they just don’t make things like they used to, Gary…

  2. Amanda says:

    I’m sorry, but this is just cruel. Having recently been in Vancouver I have just discovered how very pricey maple syrup is in Oz. I haven’t bought any home with me as it is a little risky to carry, and bringing home litres of the stuff seemed impractical (if not illegal). I may sulk for a while now.

    • Julie Dreyfoos, LC Production Manager says:

      Amanda, don’t waste the pricey stuff on this treat. I used the Trader Joe’s brand of syrup for this and it worked out just perfectly.

  3. Sara says:

    This looks so good! I just stuck a half sheet pan outside. Hopefully the snow keeps up!

    • Julie Dreyfoos, LC Production Manager says:

      Forget the pan and put a bowl out there! Just spent the last week in a winter blast and have to say this was one of the best treats for us after being stranded for 5 days. You won’t regret this treat and if you have little ones around it will be something fun to do with them.

      • Sara says:

        Sadly, last year the snow didn’t keep up. But it did last night! We made some this morning and it was fabulous! I’m not usually a snow fan, but I now have a new reason to look forward to it.

  4. Mike says:

    Where can I get some of this “snow” you speak of. I’m in Central Florida. Do you think Whole Foods will have some. I hope it’s organic, free trade, and glutin free. :)

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      Mike, you crack me up. We still have snow here in Manhattan…..what’s your address?

      • Mike says:

        I wish!

        Do you know how boring it is wearing tee-shirts, shorts, and flip-flops in January (and February, March, etc. etc….)?

        • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

          I’m originally from Iowa, Mike, although we moved to Arizona when I was a teen, so actually, I do know…and I think you’re being a tease, because it’s 18 degrees out in the city now. One of the most curious things I experienced there was seeing folks in Phoenix have a pickup truckbed full of snow plopped on their front yard on Christmas day…though I never saw them drizzling this toffeelike syrup over it…

    • Dan Kraan, LC Community Moderator says:

      I can’t speak for your place Mike, but in almost any given month I could probably scrape a bowlful of this “snow” substance off of the walls in my freezer! Organic? maybe. Free Trade? definitely. Gluten Free? depends on what exploded in there last…

  5. sweetmaddy says:

    I still think of the Little House books whenever I eat maple syrup (from CA so can’t really eat it on snow like they did! but I have always wanted to try!) :)

  6. Lauralee Hensley says:

    The first full moon during the sap running season is called the Maple Moon or the Sugar Moon. The Old Farmer’s Almanac calls the month of March the Full Sap Moon, while February has the Full Hunger Moon.

  7. Penny Wolf says:

    Sounds like it could be a fun twist to an apple margarita…

  8. Susan says:

    I have been trying to think (for years!) what it was that my Mom made for us in the snow one time when I was a kid. I knew it was candy, but could not remember exactly what it was. This was it! It has to be. She took us all outside with her pan full of “something”. She found a fresh patch of deep, packed snow and drizzled it on and she let us eat it. It was so much fun and such a treat for my Mom to do something so out of the ordinary with us. She was very conservative about letting us have sweet treats. Four kids and all that sugar? She knew! Gosh…I’m so glad you featured this!

  9. Rick Casner says:

    Every year, at the end of the ski season, there is a ski race held here in Stowe. It is when all the kids who’ve been slugging away, trying to be ski racers, all get together for one last race of the year, mostly just for the fun of it. Kids who are no longer kids but on the U.S. Ski Team come home. College racers take a break. Some of the coaches and a few nitwit locals set up grills back in the woods and eat venison and drink bourbon, straight from the bottle. It is a grand day and a fine tradition. At the bottom of the hill, usually near the finsih line, wooden tables or trays are hammered together, set up and covered with snow, then doused with local Maple syrup. The name of this race??? The Sugar Slalom

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      Love to see a little respect for nature taking place, Casner.

  10. handmadebyjo says:

    We gather and boil sap every March in a place on the Vermont line. I grew up with sugar on snow but have to tell you when you’re in the midst of sugar season it’d just not that appealing. We pack pans with snow when it’s clean and deep earlier in the winter, put them in the freezer and take them out in July. Now there’s a treat.

  11. Randi K says:

    Have had this in Vermont with just the maple syrup, it tasted like those big daddy lolli-pops from years ago. The addition of butter sounds delicious. Maybe drizzling it over fresh cut apples, pears or bananas would taste good too. And maybe some chocolate and ………. I could go on and on….I think I’m hungry now :)

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