Jackwax and Snow Ice cream
The cold winds of winter bring fluffy white stuff, which we alternate between loving and loathing. Deep white drifts concealing long driveways and wide sidewalks often create animosity within us. The crisp stark brilliance of a winter blanket covering our lawns, the trees and the family car looks wonderful as we gaze out our cozy kitchen window. The down side is the hours spent shoveling to get to the places we need to go during this fickle season. Kids can be great helpers after a snowstorm by arming them with an easy to handle child's plastic shovel. You can turn a tedious project into a fun family activity with just a few common household items. The following "recipes" are passed on from my grandmother who had them passed on to her from her grandmother. They are very simple and easy to do.
Snow ice cream is a project even a very young child can make mostly on their own with relatively little adult help. The "Jack Wax" will need adult participation as it involves heating maple syrup to high temperatures. The essential ingredient for both projects is SNOW, as if you couldn't have guessed. The ideal being freshly fallen snow as you are pretty much guaranteed it will be clean and free of dirt or other undesired particles. First and most important is the collecting pan. Find the largest bowl or pan possible and set it outside where it will be out of reach of any contaminants (i.e. animals, car exhaust fumes, etc) when you are expecting a good snowstorm. Second - the necessary ingredients: to make "Jack Wax" all you need is pure maple syrup (pancake syrup will NOT work, you need good old fashioned boiled down sap from maple trees). Snow ice cream requires milk (or half-and-half), sugar and flavoring (vanilla is our family's favorite. Experiment to discover what flavor your family likes best.)
To make "Jack Wax" pour a few cups of maple syrup into a cooking pot, one with a handle works best for me. Cook over medium to med./high heat, stirring constantly to avoid burning the syrup. As it gets close to the required temperature it will begin to form bubbles in the pot. To test for readiness, scoop up a spoonful and allow it to flow back into the pot. When a string forms, the syrup is hot enough to make the "Jack Wax". CAUTION: this syrup is VERY VERY hot now, so be careful no one gets it on them as it will leave a bad burn on the skin! Bring in the now full container of snow and place it on your kitchen table (or your counter). Slowly drizzle the hot syrup over the snow in thin ribbons. Within seconds the cold of the snow will harden the syrup into edible sweet tidbits. When the first batch has been devoured, pour another layer of syrup to harden. "Jack Wax" is best eaten in its entirety, as it does not store well. We have tried placing the remaining pieces on wax paper and put it in the freezer but it tends to get watery no matter what method is used to store it.
Snow ice cream is also best eaten at one sitting. To make this delightful treat, bring in the container of fresh snow. Fill a small or medium size bowl with the ice cream (or each child can make their own individual serving using a cereal bowl). Stir milk or half-and-half to make the snow a mushy consistency, then add sugar and flavoring to taste. (Confectioner's sugar works better than refined sugar but either will suffice). Scoop it up and chow it on down. Enjoy one of life's simple pleasures.
A nice warm cup of hot cocoa to go along with either treat is a great way to finish off your feast. Now go enjoy that snowfall.
Copyright by barefoot warrior
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