Spreading maple taffy along the snow with a stick

Maple taffy: Canada's sweet winter treat

Maple taffy is so uniquely Canadian that it might as well be wearing a mountie uniform and saying "sorry" in line at Tim Hortons! This sweet treat made with pure maple syrup is a great way to enjoy the taste of Canada.

Growing up, we always got maple taffy at Winterlude in Ottawa while skating the Rideau Canal - probably because we then skated the sugar off for the next hour while my parents looked on, exasperated.

Trucks park on the canal in winter when it freezes into the World's longest outdoor skating rink. You'll find stands for Beaver Tails, hot chocolate, skate rentals, savoury food we avoided as kids, and the ultimate stall: the maple taffy stand.

The stands had massive troughs of shaved ice that looked just like fresh snow. As kids, we thought they had an unlimited supply of fresh snow hidden somewhere, but now I realise it was crushed ice they'd broken down in a blender.

Then, right before your eyes, they'd pour out these long caramel-coloured strands of boiled maple syrup. It ran thick, like molasses, as they drizzled it up a popsicle stick.

Spooning the thick syrup onto snow

The maple syrup gets perfectly chewy but doesn't fully freeze. So it really is like taffy - sticking to your teeth and letting the sugar melt so deep into your teeth that your dentist can afford a new vacation home after cleaning them out.

My siblings and I would fight for whichever we thought had the most maple syrup - even though they were all exactly the same.

This special treat is winter-only. You can even get it at Cabane de Sucres (sugar shacks, where they make the maple syrup) across Canada. We used to go for school trips - I know, peak Canadian culture!

The best part of this recipe is that you can make it at home with just a few ingredients and some patience! If you throw a party in winter, this is a great treat to make with kids. Here’s how you can make your own.


  • 3 cups real Maple Syrup
  • Snow or crushed ice (for rolling)
  • Wooden popsicle sticks (optional)


  1. 1
    Line a baking sheet with fresh snow or crushed ice. If you leave a baking sheet outside on a snowy day to collect the snow, that makes it even more authentic!
  2. 2
    In a small saucepan, bring the 3 cups of maple syrup to a boil. Use a candy thermometer to track the heat. When it hits 240F, carefully pour it into a heat-safe measuring cup. If you don't have a candy thermometer, you can test by picking up a bit of syrup with a wooden spoon and dropping it in cold water. It should form a firm ball when it's done.
  3. 3
    Let it cool for about 5 minutes.
  4. 4
    Now comes the fun part! If you're using popsicle sticks, line them up across the snow about an inch an a half apart. Then drizzle the cooled syrup in lines vertically across the snow, covering about half the popsicle stick as you go. I usually do about 2 tbsps per taffy piece.
  5. 5
    Let it sit for 30 seconds until it's cool and firm to the touch, but not hard. Then twirl up the maple taffy with the popsicle stick, or lift it off the snow with your fingers and enjoy!
  6. 6
    Best enjoyed immediately. But you can put them in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 days.

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Nina Clapperton

Author - Nina Clapperton

Nina is a travel blogger and freelance writer. Born Canadian, but having lived in over 18 countries in 10 years, Nina makes expat life accessible. She proves that there's no need to wait for the right time or amount of money, having moved to Italy alone at 16 and to New Zealand with $200 to her name.

Last Updated 5 April 2023

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