Wax on Snow
I hate winter. Oh sure, the first snowfall is magical and the snow is so pretty dusting the trees. But after the magical prettiness, it’s just annoying. I hate snow and winter--shoveling snow, driving in snow, when it hurts to breathe because it’s so cold out, and that awful feeling when my feet get all wet and cold from snow. Have I mentioned I happen to dislike winter?
So, it’s the January “I hate winter” doldrums, and what’s a person to do? Make wax on snow! That is one thing that snow is good for. What’s wax on snow, you ask? Wax on snow, also known as jack wax and sugar on snow, is a delightful maple confection that occurs when you heat maple syrup to 234 degrees and then gently drizzle it on to hard packed snow. The syrup rapidly cools into a sticky, semi-solid state that you then wrap around your fork and eat. It’s sweet, slightly messy, and something wonderful to look forward to in the winter! When I was growing up, we always accompanied it with pickles or some other salty side dish--the salt “cut” the sweet and allowed you to eat more. I also have fond memories of freezing snow in the freezer and then have wax on snow in the middle of the summer.
Note from the "Boiler in Chief": When you start to boil syrup it should boil around 219 degrees. Keep the pot on medium heat and as the water evaporates the boiling point will slowly rise. The hotter the boiling point, the sweeter your syrup has become. Four tips:
- The boiling gradually speeds up as there is less water in the pot, so watch it carefully. Faster is not always better, so medium heat might be safer.
- Your syrup will probably want to boil over the top of the pan. When it starts to boil this can be managed by keeping the temperature low for a little while. It also can help to put a rim of butter around the pan about 2" above the boiling syrup. Just use a fork to rub some butter on the hot pan. This will keep the syrup bubbles from climbing up the sides.
- Burning syrup is an awful smell. Don't walk away from this one.
- When you're all done, fill the sticky pot up with water and put it back on the stove to simmer for 2-3 minutes. It'll be much easier to clean.
And now back to your regularly scheduled blog:
I’ve included some pictures of our wax on snow adventure--as you can see, our snow wasn’t quite the packy kind, but we punched it down with the bottom of a pot and it sufficed.
Not quite packy snow
Syrup boiled to 234
The drizzling process
Ready to eat!!!
If you are like me and hate winter and all things cold, this is the culinary experience for you to liven up your January! Also, if you are one of those winter-loving people, who like to be outside and snowmobile, hike, snowshoe, ski, and all those other things that just seem to be REALLY COLD, this is also the treat that you want. Because, really, when is it not a good time for maple syrup and wax on snow?
Sterling Valley Maple Chef-In-Residence