From Snow Cones to Sugar on Snow

Posted on 07. Mar, 2013 by

From Snow Cones to Sugar on Snow

Darcy Morter

Today, almost two years after moving to beautiful Vermont (beautiful even in mud season) from Wisconsin, my family has transitioned from Nacho Cheese to Artisan Cheese; Maple-Flavored Syrup to Pure Vermont Maple Syrup and now Snow Cones to Sugar on Snow!

I must preface this blog by saying as much as I “dis” the food from my Midwest past, I mean no disrespect to the delicacies of Wisconsin nor to my friends and family who indulge in them. There is, indeed, a place for greasy nachos, Aunt Jemima syrup and even neon green Snow Cones! Find me at the Vermont State Fair, and you’ll probably see me (or my kids) indulging in flavored shaved ice!

While this is my first Spring here at Dakin Farm, it has been over half a century that the Cutting Family has boiled sap and bottled maple syrup here at our Ferrisburgh location, and over 30 years that the team has participated in annual Sugar on Snow parties. I felt a little silly asking the question “what is Sugar on Snow, exactly?” but it isn’t a term I had heard before!

So instead of embarrassing myself by asking one of my co-workers about Sugar on Snow, I did what all good writers do – research.

I learned that Sugar on Snow parties go back over 200 years and that the tradition is common mostly in Quebec, Eastern Ontario and New England. It is thought that the sweet taffy produced when pouring heated maple sap began as an accident when someone long ago, boiling sap, accidentally spilled sap onto snow and realized they had a really tasty treat on their hands.

Today, Sugarhouses all over Eastern Canada and New England host Annual Sugar on Snow parties, boiling sap to the perfect temperature, then pouring in a cross-cross design over fresh snow. The sap then thickens to a taffy-like consistency and is eaten off the snow with a popsicle stick or other utensil. Now this sounds better than the neon colored, flavored syrup we pour over shaved ice in the Midwest!

What surprised me to learn is that, customarily, Sugar on Snow is served with donuts, sour dill pickles, and coffee. Pickles, coffee and maple taffy? What I now know is the purpose of the pickles and coffee is to counter the sweetness of the candy and is a ritual Vermonter’s hold near and dear, so who am I to question it? Besides, when I try it this month at Dakin Farm’s Annual Sugar on Snow parties, I’m sure I’ll love it!

Whether you’ve been enjoying Sugar on Snow for years, or I’ve convinced you to try it for the first time, you can make your own Sugar on Snow at home or join us this year at our 2013 Maple Events! Recipe and event details below:

To make your own Sugar on Snow:

First, you’ll need to collect some clean snow and store it in a plastic tub in the freezer. If you don’t have fresh snow, crushed or shaved ice are good alternatives.

Next, bring 8 ounces of pure maple syrup to a boil in a large saucepan – any grade of maple syrup will do. When you are heating the syrup, as tempting as it is, don’t stir it, as it will form grainy crystals. If you’d like to try some of our very own Dakin Farm Pure Vermont Maple Syrup for your Sugar on Snow (or pancakes, waffles or other treats), you can purchase NEW 2013 Pure Vermont Maple Syrup at

You’ll need a candy thermometer to monitor the temperature of the syrup. It is important that while the syrup is boiling to thicken to the correct density that it not boil over the rim of the cooking pot/sauce pan. To avoid the syrup “boiling over” the rim of the pan needs to be coated with a thin film of any of the following: butter, cooking oil, or Crisco.

Be sure to closely monitor the candy thermometer. Please note: the temperature of the syrup is important in achieving the taffy like consistency you want. So even if you do not have a candy thermometer, you can test that the syrup is at the soft ball stage by dripping some of the boiling syrup into a glass of icy cold water. If it forms a ball that you can grab out of the water with your fingers, it is ready. When the temperature of the syrup reaches the soft ball stage, between 235 to 240 degrees F, remove the pot from the heat.

Drizzle ribbons of the boiling syrup onto the snow or crushed ice. When it touches the frozen surface, it should solidify into a taffy-like substance.

Now you can peel the ribbons of maple taffy off the snow with your fingers, a popsicle stick or fork – enjoy!

March 16, 17, 23 and 24 at our 32nd Annual Sugar on Snow parties:

Get a taste of this year’s newest crop of pure Vermont maple syrup over spring snow or ice cream.

Stop in to our annual Pancake Breakfasts for some mouthwatering buttermilk pancakes, bacon and sausage.

  • Savor a sausage hoagie cooked in sap or a bowl of our very own maple chili for lunch.
  • Observe boiling sap the traditional way. (Ferrisburgh Only)
  • Purchase New Crop Syrup to take home.
  • Taste FREE samples of Maple Syrup, ham, bacon & more.

Two fun-filled weekends at both locations:

Saturday – Sunday, March 16-17 and March 23-24.

South Burlington Schedule (100 Dorset Street, South Burlington, next to Barnes and Noble)

  • Noon – 4:00 p.m. – Free Samples & Activities.

Ferrisburgh Schedule (5797 Route 7, Ferrisburgh, 9.5 miles South of Shelburne Museum)

  • 7:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. – Pancake Breakfast
  • Adults $7.75 (plus tax)
  • Kids $4.50 (plus tax)
  • Noon – 4:00 p.m. – Live Music, Free Samples

Ferrisburgh Music Schedule:

  • March 16, 23 and 24 – Bob Degree & the Bluegrass Storm
  • March 17 – Banjo Dan & Willy

For more information call 800-993-2546 or visit


Post a Comment