Saturday, January 21, 2012

fun winter day activity: molasses-on-snow candy

Molasses drizzled on fresh, clean snow.
Burrito and I have been trying to come up with fun winter's day activities.  We have been reading the wonderful series of children's picture books based on the original Little House Books by Laura Ingalls Wilder (for example: A Little Prairie House (Little House)).  The pictures are beautiful and the stories are just the way I remember.  It's been wonderful to share those memories with her.  We recently read Christmas in the Big Woods (Little House) and Burrito was fascinated by the molasses-on-snow candy that Laura and Mary made.  When it snowed heavy and thick this week, she suggested that we make the candy.  So, I dug out The Little House Cookbook and looked up the recipe.  It's very simple: 1 cup of molasses, plus 1/2 cup of brown sugar.  You prepare pans of snow and set them outside to be ready when the mixture gets hot.  You mix and heat the molasses and brown sugar until it boils and then turn it down to medium heat.  You heat the mixtures until it is 245 degrees, stirring frequently to be sure not to burn it.  Then, you bring in your pans of snow, drizzle the mixture across the top (I used a measuring cup with a pour spout so that Burrito could pour too), and let the candy harden.  When it has cooled and hardened, you break the candy into bite-sized pieces.

The finished product!
A couple of tips: if you drip the molasses mixture anywhere, it will make a terrible mess!  Be prepared to use some elbow grease and some vinegar to scrub it off.  Secondly, if you keep the candy in too warm a place, it will slowly melt back down to liquid.  So, eat what you want and eat it fast!:-)  Delish!

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