Catch my drift?
Credit: Photo by robertsrob via Getty Images

Snow is definitely one of those love/hate things. It’s awful and cold and devolves into disgusting brownish-gray street slush, yet at the same time it provides us with picturesque cityscapes and valid excuses to play hooky. Some might argue that snow is the only perk of a bitterly cold winter season. I definitely subscribe to that school of thought because snow can actually be a very useful and abundant breakfast ingredient. Plus, when it snows you are basically morally obligated to mainline hot chocolate, and that is something I can always get behind.

Eating snow has always been a tradition in my family. Every winter I would wait for the smallest indication that it might snow, don my pajamas inside out and backwards, jump on my bed three times, and screech “let it snow” before going to bed in hopes of a snow day. Of course sledding and watching cartoons all day were optimal outcomes, but really what I had my little heart set on was a heaping bowl of my mother’s snow ice cream. She passed on this snow recipe to me, so now I share her wisdom along with other winter recipes so you, too, can eat snow for breakfast.

A quick note of caution: We all (hopefully) know that yellow snow is a no-go. But when harvesting snow you have to be vigilant because there are all sorts of things that can taint your supply. Animal (or human, I guess) urine and excrement are the biggest red flags. Also keep an eye out for pieces of sticks, litter, and especially melting salt. If you are unfamiliar, the salt used to melt snow and ice on streets and sidewalks is not just big chunks of table salt. There are a number of types with varying chemical compounds, but they all warn against potential damage to concrete and asphalt, so you can imagine what it would do to your body. Probably the safest way to collect your snow-gredient is to put out a clean bowl or bucket that is high enough off the ground that it will be undisturbed by pests and street splatter. Also, try and place it away from any structures that might drip down into it, you know like a roof or gutters.

If you are reading this you are probably celebrating a much-needed snow day. Let’s start it off the right way with a little bubbly and yes, today it counts as orange juice. This recipe adds peaches for a little tangy sweetness, but in your case, opt for frozen peaches because snow is much meltier than ice cubes (not to mention that peaches are way outta season). Also make sure the OJ and bubbly are as cold as possible and grab a little more than two cups of snow because, unlike cubes, you won’t be blending the snow into smaller pieces.

Same principle stands here. 500 grams of ice is about two cups, but since the recipe calls for crushed ice you don’t have to get much more snow. Again, make sure all the liquid ingredients you use are as cold as they possibly can be. You can keep it virgin if you want, but since it is tomato juice I feel confident in suggesting that adding a jigger (or two) of vodka won’t change the fact that it is still a serving of vegetables.

This Laura Ingalls Wilder-inspired winter recipe is arguably the easiest one on the list. All you need is maple syrup and a sweet tooth. Really the only difficult thing is to make sure you don’t burn the syrup and that you keep the snow in the freezer after gathering it so it doesn’t melt while you’re boiling the syrup. You’re going to wish it would snow, like, everyday.

Surprisingly this late 19th century favorite does in fact call for snow, and makes excellent griddle cakes. This recipe calls for chopped apples but you can add whatever fruit you happen to have on hand. I'm still vaguely confused about how this little winter cooking gem was discovered, but I’m definitely not upset about it.

Duh. Really just adapt any blended ice-smoothie you typically make, no recipe needed. Make sure that all of your ingredients are frozen or at least as cold as possible to prevent too much melting, and be generous with your amount of snow because of its finer, more temperamental composition.

Snow Cream (on a waffle)

If you’ve ever eaten ice cream in a cone you know that ice cream on a waffle is the best way to eat dessert for breakfast. But you don’t need to have a pint lying around (you probably would’ve eaten it already anyways). Make your waffles, cover them and put them in a warm oven for a few minutes while you quickly whip up my mom’s snow cream.

Pack a small bowl (about 3-4 cups) with snow and then add about half a can of chilled condensed milk. If you have a sweet tooth then the more the merrier, but don’t put too much or it will just be condensed milk. Then add a teaspoon or two of vanilla extract; sometimes we did one vanilla and one almond when we were feeling adventurous. You can use any extract you want. If you don’t have condensed milk, you can use about half a cup of very cold heavy whipping cream and two tablespoons of granulated sugar to taste. Mix quickly and serve immediately. Welcome to the family.

Using that delicious snow cream recipe, put a scoop or two into a mug and pour your espresso or coffee over it. You can also make a hot chocolate snow-fogato if you aren’t a fan of coffee. There is snow end to the possibilities.