Christmas Candy in the Big Woods


“One morning she boiled molasses and sugar together until they made a thick syrup…” pg. 63

Leading up to Christmas Ma is in full swing. Instead of resting on her fall harvest laurels she’s diving in again baking cookies, pies and Christmas Day candy.  The amount of work that Ma put into creating these holidays though is astounding when you consider the washing, sewing, meal planning still needed to happen throughout the holidays and Mary and Laura were too young to help in any real capacity.

Reading about all the holiday goodies always brings me back to childhood baking with my own “Ma”. But who still makes their own Christmas candy?  I need to up my game. Also, if I only ate candy when I was the one making it I’m pretty sure I would be about ten pounds lighter. I was listening to Michael Pollan comment on this once in using the french fry as his example “Try making French fries at home. It’s a lot of work and it’s a big mess. And you won’t do it more than once a month, which is probably about how often you should eat French fries.”  One recipe I’m willing to try this month in the spirit of Little House in the Big Woods is Martin Picard’s maple taffy.  Flipping through Au Pied de Cochon Sugar Shack: maple syrup I found a recipe for maple taffy that anyone currently with snow should try this weekend. Depending on the outcome of my first batch perhaps this can be a new Christmas tradition.


500 ml maple syrup

In a saucepan over medium high heat, cook the syrup until it reaches 114.5C. When the syrup reaches the specified temperature, remove the saucepan from the heath. The taffy will stop bubbling and reduce in volume. Spray the foam with cold water until it disappears completely. Brush the sides of the saucepan with a wet brush to prevent any crystallization of the syrup. Pour the hot taffy onto snow. The taffy keeps for several months in the freezer or one month in the fridge.

Picard, Martin. Au Pied De Cochon Sugar Shack Maple Syrup. Montreal: Restaurant Au Pied De Cochon, 2012. Print.

Patience, Practice and Presence: How Michael Pollan Fell in Love With Cooking via @NewsHour


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