When I was little I loved “Little House on the Prairie”. Like, REALLY loved it. I loved the books, I loved the show, I loved my rose-patterned pioneer replica bonnet, loved it. When I was 10, one of the little museums down by the lake had a “Little House” exhibit, and it was one of the best days of my young life. Laura Ingalls Wilder was my Hannah Montana.
One of the things I really loved the most was all of the DIY, making fun out of nothing. Inspired by Laura and company, I made my own paper dolls (with a good amount of success, although I doubt the pioneers had Cheerios boxes to use for the dolls), attempted to sew bedding for my dolls’ cradle (with decidedly less success) and collected buttons for a button string (not as fun as advertised). One thing I never got to do was make any pioneer food.
In the book “Little House in the Big Woods”, Laura and Marys’ favorite winter treat was Molasses Snow Candy.
Ma 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 onto the snow.They made circles, and curlicues, and squiggledy things, and these hardened at once and were candy. Laura and Mary might eat one piece each, but the rest was saved for Christmas Day.
I don’t know if anyone else noticed, but we’re got a little snow to spare up here so Book Cookin’ Thursday #5, we’re making Snow Candy, pioneer style! I got this recipe here.
1 cup molasses
I cup brown sugar
Fresh, clean snow (or crushed ice) I can’t speak to how clean the snow is in Toronto but..it’s white, so I’m going with it.
- Boil the molasses and sugar together in the large pot until the mixture reaches the “hard crack” stage on a candy thermometer, or until a spoonful dropped into cold water forms a hard ball and cracks. Remove the syrup from the heat. I KNEW candy thermometers were a crock!
- BE VERY CAREFUL. THE SYRUP IS EXTREMELY HOT AT THIS STAGE. Don’t tell me what to do, “Little House-Big Fun” blog…
- Scoop fresh, clean snow (or crushed ice) into the shallow pan. Dip up a spoonful of syrup and dribble it onto the snow. It will harden and become candy. Lift the candy off the snow and onto a clean towel to dry.
Starting out: So, right from the outset, this isn’t looking good. Molasses has very much the same consistency as cough syrup. But maybe the brown sugar will do the trick?
Halfway through: This smells awful, and everything that touches it is instantly ruined because boiling molasses is natures’ ultra-glue. Good for waterproofing birds nests and removing stains from the forest floor. Did you know molasses can remove rust from cars?
Verdict: Remember those little candies, that were wrapped in orange and black and always the last thing to be eaten from your Halloween haul? You’d get into late November and figure that they were better than no candy and you’d try one, and they were AWFUL? Turns out, that’s molasses candy. Tastes terrible. Sticks to EVERYTHING. Googling “How to remove molasses from dishes” is no help.
DO not make molasses snow candy, unless you like those awful Halloween candies.