Maple syrup snow is a charming old-fashioned candy that’s sorta akin to homemade caramel. And it’s gooey and sweet enough to get excited each time it snows. It’s also a compelling reason to always keep a stash of maple syrup and butter on hand. –Renee Schettler Rossi

Where Did Maple Syrup Snow Originate?

We’ve no idea when exactly the tradition of maple syrup snow began. But we do that know author Diane Henry first read about it in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House in the Big Woods, which is in the Little House on the Prairie series. As Henry explains, Native Americans used to watch for the “sugar moon,” the first sign that the sap was running and that it was time to tap the trees, in February. [Editor’s Note: We don’t know what a “sugar moon” is, either. But we find it unspeakably comforting to know that there’s such a thing watching over us. Something for you to ponder as you snitch some maple syrup snow.]

A bucket of maple syrup in the snow with streaks of maple syrup snow nearby

Maple Syrup Snow

5 / 2 votes
This maple syrup snow lets you embrace your latent Little House on the Prairie fantasies with a quaint, toffee-like candy made by drizzling maple syrup onto fresh snow. Its provenance may be outdated, but its appeal transcends time.
David Leite
CourseDessert
CuisineNew England
Servings40 servings
Calories67 kcal
Prep Time35 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time45 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 2 1/2 cups maple syrup
  • 5 tablespoons (2 1/2 oz) unsalted butter
  • Fresh snow you’ve collected in a large bowl

Instructions 

  • In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the maple syrup and butter until it registers 235°F (113°C) on a candy thermometer, about 25 minutes or so. It's going to be tempting to walk into another part of the house. Don't. Keep a careful watch on it and if at any point the mixture threatens to boil over, reduce the temperature under the pan.
  • When the syrup reaches the desired temperature, remove the pan from the heat and let the mixture cool slightly.
  • Spoon 1 tablespoon maple syrup mixture on some of the snow in the bowl. If the syrup sits on top of the snow and sets into a weblike caramel, it's ready. If it doesn't, return the pan to medium heat for a few minutes and then try again. Drizzle blobs of the syrup mixture on the snow in whatever pattern or neo art creation you fancy. As soon as the maple syrup snow candy is cool enough to pick up with your fingers, indulge.
Roast Figs Sugar Snow

Adapted From

Roast Figs Sugar Snow

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Nutrition

Serving: 1 tablespoonCalories: 67 kcalCarbohydrates: 14 gProtein: 0.01 gFat: 1 gSaturated Fat: 1 gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.4 gTrans Fat: 0.1 gCholesterol: 4 mgSodium: 2 mgSugar: 12 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2009 Diana Henry. Photo © 2009 Jason Lowe. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This maple syrup snow candy was so yummy! The maple mixture creates a gooey caramel or toffee on top of 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.




About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.


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40 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    We have sugar maples on our farm. We are tapping them now. We need warm sunny days and below freezing nights to get lots of sap. Then we make our own maple syrup. Heaven right hear on earth. We don’t wait for the candy to cool we take Popsicle sticks and roll up the candy and eat it off the stick. The Canadian way 😎 in French it is tir sur la neige. Yummy!

    1. I love every single thing about what you wrote, Rita. And, living in the desert southwest, I am more than a little envious of your tir sur la neige tradition. Thank you for sharing that image. Happy for you!

  2. Maple Syrup was just delivered by UPS from Amazon to my door in Alaska. Fresh Snow delivered daily from Mother Nature. Butter is new. I can see the science and I Iike it.

  3. We’re about to get hit with 5-9”? 7-14”? of snow over the next 24 hours, and, here in urban America, I’ll have a short window that the snow is clean enough to collect for this wonderful purpose! With any luck, my work will be canceled for tomorrow, and we can stay home and make Maple Sugar Snow as we watch the snow continue to fall! It might not look like Little House on the Prairie outside, but we’ve got our syrup, butter, and thermometer at the ready!