If you happen to live in Santa Cruz, where you’re much too busy hiking mountains in your bikini and boogie boarding with a frozen margarita in one hand and gathering the Meyer lemons that have fallen all over your patio to scrounge up a bowl of snow, simply spoon the hot caramel into a dish of ice cream, you poor thing.
Maple Snow Taffy
This is my friend Nicole’s recipe, and, like her, it is perfect in every way.
1 cup maple syrup (ours is B-grade amber—cheaper and darker—and we love it)
¼ cup salted butter
Clean snow (or, need be, ice cream)
In a medium-sized pot over medium heat, heat the syrup and butter together until the mixture reaches 230-235 on a candy thermometer, aka somewhere between the thread and soft ball stage, for you candy-making hardcores out there. If you don’t have a candy thermometer, time it for about 5 minutes after it comes to a boil, and then pour a little onto a plate that’s been waiting in the fridge: when the syrup is ready, it should thicken up into a soft taffy on the plate; if it doesn’t, then cook it a minute or two longer. Needless to say, your children should be nowhere near this while it’s on the stove. “There is nothing hotter than hot sugar,” my mother used to say (“Really, Mom? Not even the sun?”), and, because of the crisp English certainty of her pronouncements, I still assume they’re all true.
Let the mixture cool for a couple of minutes, then pour it by the spoonful over bowls of clean snow (or ice cream) where it will harden into a sweet lump of maple insanity. You won’t be sorry—well, until it’s gone, and then you’ll be sorry.