Snow Day Activity: Tire d’érable (Maple Taffy)By Michelle | February 1st, 2011 | Category: Stuff to do | No Comments »
So, with a “snow tsunami” pending (the words of a meteorologist, not mine), I’m thinking that lots of kids will be enjoying a snow day tomorrow. Every year as a kid, my mom would pick a snowy, cold day and we’d make snow taffy. There’s not much healthy about it and, while I do question the wisdom of adding to sugar to housebound children, the activity itself was more than enough to fill the day before kicking us out in the snow. You need real maple syrup for this – but you can try any other taffy recipe if you don’t have any (just pour instead of pulling).
2 cups pure maple syrup
In a large pot, heat maple syrup over medium heat until it reaches the firm ball stage (around 245F if you have a candy thermometer). If you don’t, drop it into very cold ice water: the syrup will form into a firm ball. Or you can do what we did and run back and forth from outside dropping spoonfuls on the snow to see if it formed up – just be careful: it’s hot (obviously) and also a major pain to clean off the floor.
Meanwhile, either get a large pan and fill it with packed, clean snow (children, this means snow that is WHITE) or prepare a place outside where you can pour the taffy and roll it up safely.
Ok, now for the fun part – your maple syrup is now thickened and taffy-making ready. Slowly pour the taffy in strips across the snow, then step away and let the kids roll the strips onto popsicle sticks (or spoons). Keep the taffy mixture warm and keep pouring until you can’t bear to let them have anymore.
If you have any leftover (or for a variation), pour the cooked taffy onto a well-buttered cookie sheet. Let it cool until firmed, but still warm and malleable. Mold into a cyclinder, then lift and fold. Twisting the two halved together, stretch them back to the original length. Repeat until lightened in colour. When ready, roll into a thin rope, then cut into bite-sized pieces with a kitchen scissor (make them small!). Store in an airtight container.