Ask any kid after the season’s first snowfall, snow is good eating.Adults, though, tend to be less enthusiastic — frozen water, after all, only has so much flavor.
With a few extra ingredients, however, eating snow doesn’t have to be a flavorless enterprise. On the recent snow day, my kids and I set out to see for ourselves. After bringing in a big bowl of the fluffy white stuff — a strategy that proved not only convenient, but made the powdery snow easier to pack — we created various concoctions and the following is the best of our findings:
The Classic: Vanilla Snow Ice Cream
Mix sugar, milk or cream and a bit of vanilla extract together into a bowl of snow for what amounts to a vanilla snow cone. Of course, you can vary the classic with any number of options: liquid fruit juice concentrate or flavored syrups make for fruity concoctions, or a bit of peppermint extract can be mixed into sweetened condensed milk and drizzled over a snowball for a minty treat.
The results: With its icy vanilla flavor, this one is always the first thing my kids ask for once the flakes begin to fall. They’d down bowls of the stuff, given the chance.
The American Literature Classic: Maple Candy
Fans of the “Little House on the Prairie” series may remember the candy made from pouring hot maple syrup onto plates of snow. To re-create this old-fashioned treat, heat maple syrup on the stove to around 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Then drizzle the syrup onto clean compact snow — we packed a 9-by-11 pan with snow for this purpose.
The results: The candy that results is a tasty, chewy toffee that will stick to your teeth, the kitchen counter or anything else it comes in contact with. It’s delicious for sure, but you might want to have your dentist’s number handy.
The Sugar Rush: Hot Cocoa Slushie
To make a hot cocoa slushie, you’ll start with your favorite hot cocoa recipe or mix at double strength and pour it — room temperature — on a cup full of snow. You can vary the ratio, depending on your preference. Top it with some whipped cream to make it extra special.
The results: While one kid compared it to a Double Chocolate Chip Frappuccino from Starbucks, another made exaggerated puking noises. It’s quite like a melted icy chocolate smoothie, which I could certainly pass on.
The Coffee Treat: Iced Coffee
Pack a tight snowball and put it into mug. Drizzle sweetened condensed milk over top, add some strong coffee and top it with whipped cream.
The results: The kids could take it or leave it, but if I’m going to have to eat snow, this is the way to do it. It had good flavor and the snow texture seemed to work reasonably well in this setting.
The Grown-up Snow Day Survival: Spiked Snow Cones
Grown ups who are stuck at home trying to get work done while their children are home on a snow day might enjoy adding a little special something to their snow cones. Beer snow cones are a simple option, but the snow can replace ice with any cocktail recipe.
The results: I mixed up a ginger-orange-bourbon number and drizzled it over snow. The flavor was good once the snow had mostly melted, however, I’m not sure the snow accomplished anything that a few ice cubes couldn’t do.