WON Landing Page OCT 2022

How to Make Snow Candy

If you’re looking for a fast and fun recipe for a snowy day, you might want to learn how to make snow candy.

I first read about snow candy in the book, “Little House in the Big Woods,” in this passage where Laura Ingalls Wilder describes the scene: “One morning she boiled molasses and sugar together until they made a thick syrup, and Pa brought in two pans of clean, white snow from outdoors. Laura and Mary each had a pan, and Pa and Ma showed them how to pour the dark syrup in little streams on to the snow. They made circles, and curlicues, and squiggledy things, and these hardened at once and were candy.” 

Snow Candy on plate

Then, in my adult life, I recently revisited the idea for snow candy in a remarkable series of books featuring Norwegian immigrants (like my great-grandparents) who settled in North Dakota in the late 1800s. Lauraine Snelling authors the “Red River of the North” books, part of the “Blessing Series.” Protagonist Ingeborg Borkland makes snow candy in her soddy on the prairie. 

So, when we had a recent snowfall here in the Ozarks, I felt compelled to try to make snow candy in my kitchen. But first, I had to collect clean snow. I can’t stress this enough. You want to look for snow that isn’t under trees or bird feeders. The whiter the better in this case.

I looked at several recipes online and decided to try this one, from “Allison’s Wonderland Recipes.” She, too, referenced the passage that I had recalled. She also felt inspired and wanted to capture the pioneer spirit of this task.

How to Make Snow Candy

Ingredients for snow candy

You’ll need the following things to make snow candy:

  • Flat cake pan
  • Clean snow
  • Scoop or spoon
  • Maple syrup
  • Saucepan
  • Spoon
  • Candy thermometer
collecting the snow

After gathering a flat sheet cake pan’s worth of snow – fill to the brim, about two inches tall – I left the pan outside while I worked on the candy. I didn’t want it to melt in the meantime. If you’re worried about a fly-over by a wayward bird, you may want to cover the snow with a cloth, plastic wrap or aluminum foil.

heating up snow candy

Then, I took a half cup of maple syrup and brought it to a boil on the stovetop on medium heat, and used a candy thermometer. When the syrup reached 235 degrees, I turned off the stovetop, quickly moved to retrieve the snow from outdoors and began dropping small spoonfuls of candy into the snow. 

dropping maple syrup into snow

If you don’t have a candy thermometer, you may also try the “hard ball” method for determining whether your candy is ready to set. You just drop a little bit of the syrup into a glass of icy cold water. If it forms a ball immediately, it’s good to go.

Snow Candy in snow

You may do as Laura and Mary did, and make curlicues of syrup, or just do small drops throughout.

It doesn’t take long and you should be able to peel off the results, and enjoy immediately. If you have loose fillings, beware.

snow candy done

Note: I placed the candy on a lovely plate that belonged to my Norwegian great-grandmother in North Dakota. It seemed fitting.

The effort took less than half an hour, and I am looking forward to making snow candy again someday with my grandchildren. They will love it.

  • About Barbara Baird

    Publisher/Editor Barbara Baird is a freelance writer in hunting, shooting and outdoor markets. Her bylines are found at several top hunting and shooting publications. She also is a travel writer, and you can follow her at https://www.ozarkian.com.