Thursday, February 03, 2011

Snow Day!

Yesterday we had a snow day.  Not just the public high schools and elementary schools, but everyone.  The reason for this: a blizzard.  It was the first time I had a snow day since high school.  I was ecstatic when we got word on Tuesday night that the seminary would be closed all day Wednesday.
I started Wednesday off by staying up late Tuesday night talking with a good friend and brother and sleeping in Wednesday morning.  Then I spent some time in the kitchen doing some baking.  None of it is actually completely finished yet, so no pictures yet.  I made chocolate chip cupcakes, but they still need the chocolate "buttercream" frosting.  I also made homemade chocolate sandwich cookies (Oreo type), but they still need the filling.  So, be patient and there will be pictures later.
Then, the best part of my day.  Snow toffee.  As a child, a fresh snow fall, especially one that meant we were home all day with the babysitter, meant snow toffee.   I made it a couple times in undergrad, usually in the evening, but I hadn't had opportunity to make it here yet.  A snow day, with lots of fresh snow on the ground, seemed like a good time to introduce all the neighborhood children to snow toffee.  I'd checked with one mother Tuesday night already, just to make sure that she would allow her children to eat it, so I knew I had at least two children to share with.
I don't really have a recipe for snow toffee, so I will attempt to explain the best I know how, how one makes snow toffee, complete with pictures, courtesy of Olga.
First, I put some water and brown sugar and molasses and white sugar in a pan on the stove.  I stirred it up and tasted it.   Then added more sugar until I liked how it tasted.  Sometimes growing up we'd put maple syrup in it.  Basically, you want yummy sweetness.
Then, I turned the stove on and stirred and stirred and stirred and stirred. During undergrad this was always a great time to have long conversations with my RA.  As a child, the babysitter usually sent us outside to keep us out from underfoot during this stage.
Yesterday I did almost all the stirring with my snow pants and hat on. That way I'd be ready when it would be ready.
Olga made a really cool picture of the stirring action.  It bubbles a lot.  If you don't keep stirring, it will over-boil and make a big mess.  It will also burn.
You have to stir a long time. You know it is ready when you use your stirring spoon to dribble some into a cup of cold water (see my measuring cup sitting beside the pan?).  All of a sudden, when you dribble it in, it will become solid before it reaches the bottom.  It looks really cool when that happens.  Before it is ready it just kinda diffuses throughout the water, a little like food coloring in water.  You can't miss it when this finally happens.  I call this "the cool stage".
Once you reach the cool stage, it's go time.  As a child this meant that we had to have jelly roll pans packed with clean snow and up on the back porch (the babysitter didn't want to come out into the yard with us, and if we'd done it in the yard, the dog would eat it).  Now it means, grab the pan and run outside with it.  
Once you are outside, you find some clean snow and dump the toffee out in long, swirly lines. It will sink down into the snow, so you want the snow to be deep, or well packed.  Our snow yesterday was rather light and fluffy.
Then, using your fingers you pull part of a strand out of the snow and feed it to your roommates.
Then, you go collect neighborhood children and entice them to come eat "snow candy".  Of course, you make them ask their moms first.  You wouldn't want to be perceived as a creepy person or anything. Realize that you will have to explain to every mom (or dad) what snow candy is.
Then you feed it to the children.  They have mittens on, you being the nice grown-up, you take your mitten off, pick the toffee up and feed it to them.  
Then, you finish taking the toffee out of the snow, put it in the pan and convince your small children to go with you to deliver snow candy to all your other "friends" (our word for neighbors). After the small children are all hyped up on sugar and very sticky, you send them back home to their parents and you go back inside where it is warm and you rest.
Again, all photos in this post were taken by Olga. If you want to see more of her photos, including some that indicate just how much snow we got, check out her blog

1 comment:

Valerie said...