Wednesday, January 29, 2014

"Little House in the Big Woods" by Laura Ingalls Wilder inspired Molasses Snow Candy

Becca here with a fun winter recipe!  I am reading Laura Ingalls Wilder's "Little House in the Big Woods" to my children again right now, and we decided to try making the molasses on snow candy that they describe making in Chapter 4.  The basic instructions in the book are given; Ma boiled molasses and sugar together to make a syrup, which the girls poured onto fresh snow in pans to let harden and cool.  They got to eat one piece each, and then the rest was saved for Christmas!  I found a more detailed recipe in "The World of Little House", and have elaborated on that below in my own instructions.  My kids thought it was really neat to make something just like Laura and Mary, and the end result has a rich, chewy but creamy texture that really is delicious!  If you have extra molasses, they are also used in these Hearty Healthy Breakfast Cookies that received lots of good reviews from my kids as well as other people's, and these {Best Ever} Molasses Cookies that are a new family favorite of ours!

There is also a really neat Virtual Field Trip here to all of the "Little House" home sites! 

You will need a candy thermometer for this recipe. (Pioneer Laura dress & bonnet are optional :)  I know, the candy thermometers make me nervous too, but my (8 year old) daughter actually made this recipe 99% by herself and it turned out great, so this is a great beginner candy thermometer recipe.  Mine is a really inexpensive one from Walmart, and I think this is the first or second time I've ever used it.

Molasses Snow Candy

1 cup molasses
1 cup brown sugar

Combine molasses and brown sugar in a medium saucepan.  The candy will bubble and rise up in the pan quite a bit once it starts heating up, so don't use your smallest saucepan!

Stir well to combine.  Then clip candy thermometer onto the side.  Slide it in the bracket until the tip is submerged, but NOT touching the bottom of the pan.

Turn heat on to low, and stir fairly consistently until temperature reaches the "hard crack" line on your candy thermometer, at 300 F. 

Meanwhile, start filling a couple of 9x13 pans with crushed ice.  I had my two boys doing this, while my daughter stirred, and they completed right about the same time.  Feel free to use snow instead of you have some good clean snow!

Quickly pour the (incredibly hot, this part is definitely for an adult!) mixture from the saucepan into a glass liquid measuring cup.  (I used a 2 cup Pyrex glass measuring cup & it was the perfect size).

Drizzle the (reminder again, this is scalding hot!) molasses over the ice.  I let my daughter pour by herself, but my sons held my hand as I poured to help.  And the baby sat in her highchair & watched :) 

It will harden pretty immediately as it cools.  As soon as it does, remove from the ice onto wax paper, removing any chunks of ice that might be sticking.  Enjoy!

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