5 Ways to Screw Up Hot Taffy On Snow


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March 11, 2015 | by Evelyn Reid - When winter winds down in Quebec, a Canadian stereotype* takes hold of the province. I dub it the sampling of the syrup. Favorite sampling style?

Hot taffy. On ice cold snow.

Now there's a right way to do this. And there's a wrong way. My last sugar shack experience spelled that out loud and clear.

*Maple syrup?? Not even that good!? C'mon America! Has all that corn syrup clogged up your taste buds?

01 of 06

Don't #1: Don't Be Hogging the Taffy

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Ten people watch the taffy being poured. One person swoops in and scoops half.


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02 of 06

Don't #2: Your Finger Is Gross

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Hot taffy? Meet finger. The one with the pain receptors.

Granted, said taffy might cool down enough to be safe by the time your grubby digits poke it and roll it up off the snow, but think of the cooties. Your cooties. They just touched the golden goo. The communal golden goo*. That's like sticking your finger in the veggie dip. Or a freshly baked apple pie. No, my tiny grasshopper. Not like this. Use a wooden stick. Perhaps a metal spoon. But whatever is used to dip into the taffy, it must be clean and it's not a bodily appendage. Repeat after me: no body parts in the taffy! Save that kink for the bedroom.

  • Don't #3: The Lick

*Well, it's not always communal. Some sugar shack staff pour one long row of taffy. Others pour individual servings. But even then, single serving pools of taffy can be so close to each other that a failed roll and scoop can drop all over the untouched portions. Hot taffy manipulation is an art, you see.

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03 of 06

Don't #3: The Odious Double Dip

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Maple taffy snow is pure. Maple taffy snow is sacred. Once the syrupy pour is consecrated and piping liquid gold cools on contact with the snow, you use a clean stick or spoon to scoop up a respectable amount. Then you feast. THEN, if double dipping is even allowed -I have my reservations whether it should be at all- one must take double care upon redippage. The second swoop should be swift and confident, a swoop involving a skilled roll to ensure that absolutely no residual saliva touch any adjacent unscooped taffy nor virgin snow. Respect the taffy. Respect the snow. And thou shalt reap their cootie-free benefits.

But this double dip maneuver takes great skill and dexterity, which brings me to my next Maple Taffy Don't.

  • Don't #4: The Child
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04 of 06

Don't #4: The Maple Machiavelli

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Now I love maple taffy*.  But I don't love it enough to risk a case of strep throat, flu, or Hepatitis B nor do I crave it enough to invite other exciting viruses transmitted through saliva to hitch a one-way ride into my proverbial temple. The last time I had access to unlimited hot maple taffy on snow, I ate exactly zero portions of it as I swallowed a gulp of revulsion in its place. Do you want to know why?? Don't #5 had something to do with it.

But the Don't #5 the sugar shack committed wouldn't have been so sacrilegious IF the parents on location WERE WATCHING THEIR KIDS. Happy, beautiful children scooping up golden goo with reckless abandon. Joyous, innocent offspring slobbering all over their sticks ready for a second go. And a third. WITH THE SAME STICK. Sometimes they tried a scoop here but ooops. It didn't take. So they left the contaminated taffy in a clump, opting to repeat their failed entreprise on another untouched section there, with part of the scooped taffy plopping down onto yet another fresh, untouched sector of syrupy goodness, also contaminating it in the process. These precious fruits of adult loins knew not of the skill required for double dippage. Nor did they care... unless it was all a ploy to keep folks like me away from the prized saccharine.

Well played, children. Well played.

  • Don't #5: The Sanctity of the Snow

*Mind you, I love maple anything.

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05 of 06

Don't #5: Is Snow Supposed to Look Tanned?

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First and foremost, one must take care when collecting fresh snow. Fresh, white, just fallen ice crystals are what you're after and they must be gathered up not using a pair of grubby gloves or mittens, but with a clean ladle. Even then, it's difficult to control for pollutants and dust particles -mind you, try controlling for that when breathing in city air- but given how little snow sticks to the hot taffy, you shouldn't get too worked up.

It's viral contamination that's of concern. I don't get paid sick days. Do you? Getting the flu is a luxury in my world that equates with income loss. So when I saw the spectacle I just described in Don't #4 AND saw that sugar shack staff kept the SAME snow in place for another round of hot taffy, and then ANOTHER, this after pint-sized minions did the equivalent of licking it clean with clumsy double and triple dips using the same slurped-up sticks, I felt a little queasy.

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06 of 06

The Perfect Hot Maple Taffy on Snow Experience

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As you've discovered, so much can go so wrong with hot maple taffy on snow. But so much can go right.

Just make sure used snow is removed and replaced with new snow cover after every round of taffy and either use fresh, unused sticks for every roll and scoop or if that seems too wasteful, then perfect the art of double dipping taffy scoopage. And for goodness sake, supervise your kids. Or better yet, scoop up the golden goo for them.

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