Snow Taffy (tire sur la neige)

February 8th, 2014


It began snowing yesterday evening, and we woke up to three inches of powder this morning—a real snowfall! The Littlest Who was out in it before the coffee was done brewing. He, his big brothers, and the dog went romping around the empty streets in our neighborhood last night, and he’d gone to sleep scheming and dreaming of what to do with all that snow.

“Remember that syrup we had in that snowy place?” he asked me. “Can we make that?”

“You mean the maple taffy they made in Quebec, where we went skiing? No, honey, we can’t make that here.”

“Why not?”

Well, why not, I thought. So we don’t have maple trees to tap, or even a bottle of maple syrup on hand. It’s basically a simple sugar that’s heated up and then cooled. Science, right?

A little research backed up my hypothesis. Tire sur la neige can be made with and without real maple syrup. After comparing a bunch of recipes, I came up with a hybridized formula, using dark brown sugar. Unfortunately, my sous chef had taken all his snow clothes off, and the syrup cooked too long while he was suiting back up for the pouring. It turned to brittle in the snow, and he didn’t care for the dark molasses flavor.

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But I believe in science and evolution, so I tried again, this time using a blend of brown and white sugar to lighten the flavor, and making sure my sous chef was ready to hit the snow the second the candy thermometer registered 240 degrees.

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The second time was a charm. The golden strips of syrup were as pliable in the snow as we remembered the real thing being.


And it tasted amazing. Not maple flavored at all, but a mild, smooth butterscotch.

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We love science.

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Below, you’ll find my snow taffy recipe for your next snow day. Because once the kids are tired of playing in the cold, and everyone’s cooped up indoors, what you really want to give them is sugar on a stick.

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And lots of it.

Here you go:

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Snow Taffy
  1. 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  2. 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  3. 4 T water
  4. 2 T butter
  5. 1 t white vinegar
  6. 1/2 t vanilla extract (or maple)
  1. Pack clean, freshly fallen snow into a baking sheet, and keep it ready outside, or in the freezer. Have popsicle sticks or chopsticks ready for winding the taffy.
  2. Mix all ingredients together in a heavy bottom saucepan tall enough to allow for foaming, small enough so the syrup is at least one inch deep. Boil mixture over medium heat until candy thermometer is at 240 degrees F (soft ball stage), then immediately pour onto snow in strips about an inch wide, 6-12" long. Wind each strip around a stick by rolling the stick along the strip of taffy. Eat right away.
Planting Dandelions

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