Is there anything more glorious than the sound of snow melting (I can hear it!), rising temperatures, sun shining, coat shedding, bikes and scooters roaring about, knowing that sap is shooting up the sugar maple trees?
I LOVE spring.
It's such a hopeful time of year.
The smell of maple syrup boiling in a sugar shack brings back potent and wonderful childhood memories - Dad stoking a huge fire, maple steam filling the shack, the first tastes of spring on egg cheese and donut tea balls. How sweet spring tastes!
My oldest daughter was begging to go to Quebec city this year for carnaval. So I did the next best thing: I promised her we'd make taffy. Yesterday was the day! We made "la tire sur la neige" - maple taffy (doesn't it just sound so much more yummy in French?). You can make it on ice, but snow is preferable, in my humble opinion. I remember doing some version of this as a child.
I tried this several years ago, and it flopped. I just boiled the maple syrup and poured it on snow - in front of my eager grade one class. To our disappointment, it just sank into the snow - all that precious, sweet syrup.
So this year I did a little more research. I also bought a candy thermometer. And it worked!
I used this recipe as a guide, but basically, here are the steps.
1. Get some clean snow and put it in a pan. Freeze it ahead of time if you think the snow will melt before you have a chance to make taffy. I put ours in the freezer for a week so it was nice and cold - and clean! Decorate wooden sticks (totally unnecessary, but fun).
2. Put 2 cups of maple syrup into a pot. I learned the hard way that I should have used a double boiler on my gas stove.
3. Boil the syrup until it reaches the "soft ball" point on your candy thermometer (around 230-240 degrees F). My failed attempt years ago happened because I didn't bring the syrup to a high enough temperature.
4. Put the boiled syrup into a glass measuring cup.
5. Pour the syrup in lines onto the snow. Count to 30.
6. Use a wooden stick to twirl it up.
8. Drink milk. Brush teeth. :)
Wisdom literature connection (because I know you want one):
[say this to the sweet maple taffy as you eat it]
"Kiss me tenderly! Your love is better than wine, and you smell so sweet. All the young women adore you; the very mention of your name is like spreading perfume. Hurry, my king! Let's hurry. Take me to your home." -- Song of Solomon 1:2-5