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 Its provenance may be outdated, but its appeal transcends time.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
CuisineNew England
Servings40 servings
Calories67 kcal
Prep Time35 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time45 minutes


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


  • 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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Serving: 1 tablespoonCalories: 67 kcalCarbohydrates: 14 gProtein: 0.01 gFat: 1 gSaturated Fat: 1 gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.1 gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.4 gTrans Fat: 0.1 gCholesterol: 4 mgSodium: 2 mgPotassium: 46 mgSugar: 12 gVitamin A: 44 IUCalcium: 22 mgIron: 0.02 mg

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

David Leite has received three James Beard Awards for his writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. His work has 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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  1. 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.

  2. 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!) 🙂

    1. Sounds like it’s time for a trip north or to the slopes, SweetMaddy! Bring your maple syrup…

  3. 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. 🙂

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

      1. I wish!

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

        1. 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…

    2. 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…