December 9, 2011

sweet snow

 It snowed — I mean really snowed — last weekend in southeast Nebraska. Mother Nature gave me the opportunity to do something I've always wanted: make candy in the snow.

Snow begins to fall Dec. 3, in Lincoln, Neb
Mom read my sister and I Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House in the Big Woods when I was 6 and Sarah was 3. Aside from the party at her grandparents' house, and all the maple syrup/ sugar action* going on in that book, the other part that got me was when Laura and Mary made candy swirls using hot molasses and snow.

(*To this day I still imagine that people in Wisconsin, Vermont or any of those heavily wooded northern states spend their winters making and eating maple syrup. If I am wrong with this assumption, please do not correct me. I need something to believe in.)

Candy made out of snow seemed like the coolest thing in the world to me, and I hoped one day I would make it.

That day came Sunday. We had a good snow the day before, which squelched in desire I had to commune with the outside world. As I sat at home by myself for a couple of hours it hit me. There was snow outside AND I had molasses in my cupboard left over from a previous Reading in the Kitchen recipe.

It was too good of an opportunity to pass up.

I searched around on the Internet to figure out how to do it. After reading  a few other posts, I decided to go with it and see what worked.

Here's how it went down:

Add 1/2 Tablespoon butter to pan over medium heat.
Add 1/2 cup molasses. So gross.
Add 1/4 cup brown sugar.
Bring the mixture to a natural boil and whisk it.
Don't let it burn.
I used a spouted pan to write in the snow. I put on my boots and picked
this pile from the middle of our backyard, because it seemed like the
amount least likely to be messed with by critters. If you plan to do this with
little kids, pour the mixture into small pitchers or mugs.
You don't want them to get burnt!
I began making designs in the snow. This is an L for "Laura,"
because that is my name.
I take a hesitant first bite. At first it wasn't bad. Kind of gooey
and sticky and molasses and brown sugary, which was to be
expected. Then I took a second bite. Then the aftertaste reared
it's ugly face. And I decided it was not good enough to eat
more. I tossed the rest out.

Final thoughts: Even though I didn't fall in love with this dish, I would still do it again. (I guess I just don't like the taste of molasses.) If I lived back in the pioneer days, and I did not regularly eat processed sugars, I bet I would have thought it was pretty delicious.

It was fun, took all of 10 minutes and it would be a great winter activity to do with kids. I encourage you to give it a shot with your young ones.

I'm looking for new dishes and books to feature in 2012. Leave me an idea for a memorable dish in a book in the comments below, and you will be entered to win this week's Twelve Days of Writing drawing. Be sure to check back Friday at 2 p.m. CDT to see if you are this week's winner. Read about the contest and what prizes you can win here

If you enter after 2 p.m., today, I will put your name in for next week's drawing. 


  1. Not only have I always wanted to go to Hogwarts, but the different types of food they had always seemed amazing. Especially butterbeer! I've found a few recipes and am tempted to try it out.

  2. 1)I can't think of a specific recipe, but I love the novel Like Water for Chocolate and each chapter starts with a recipe.
    2)The Whistle Stop was made into the movie Fried Green Tomatoes...good novel and good movie...both centered on the recipes


  3. I enjoyed your story. Ginger Water from On the Banks of Plum Creek is a good summertime project.