Saturday, July 12, 2008

Homesick Canadians and Puffed Wheat

As the blog says, I'm Canadian. What's not as obvious is that I live in the US. I get homesick sometimes.
When Canadians get homesick, there are certain foods they crave- or at least this is true for my family. You wouldn't think there'd be much difference in foods from Canada to the US, but that's not true. My husband still does not fathom my absolute love of pierogies. Of course, he's never eaten homemade pierogies fashioned by a 60-year-old Ukrainian woman either. My pierogies, I'm sorry to say, don't measure up. At least, they didn't in my opinion even when we could still eat gluten. Which reminds me, I really need to look for a gfcfef pierogy dough recipe.
So today, since I was homesick, I made "puffed wheat" squares with a twist based on this recipe by the Medicine Hat Mommies. As may be obvious from that link, puffed wheat squares are so ingrained in Canadian minds that no instructions are needed for us to know how to make them. We've seen it done so many times from the time we're born, it's pure instinct.
For those of my dear readers who have the misfortune of not having been born with a Canadian gene or not having grown up in Canada, I will enlighten you as to how to concoct this Canadian delicacy.
First, a couple of notes:
As I said, we don't eat gluten in our household. This means we don't eat wheat, rye, kamut, triticale, spelt, teff nor barley (I believe that's all of them, I'm sure that if it's not a person with Celiac will be kind enough to remind me). So, rather than using puffed wheat, I used puffed rice. If you'd like to use puffed millet, it would likely be just as good.
Also, when Canadians say "corn syrup", we mean dark corn syrup, not light corn syrup... and it must be Beehive corn syrup, thank you. I brought some back the last time I went to Canada specifically so I'd have it for a couple of my recipes. When it runs out, I'll... well, I guess I'll use the expensive stuff Americans fob off as corn syrup. Which brings me to a totally off-topic point: if a Canadian sends you to the store for mayonnaise, bring back Miracle Whip. Trust me.
Now then, with no further ado!

1/4 cup margarine
1/2 cup corn syrup (as I mentioned, dark)
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons cocoa (my mom actually uses 1/4 cup)
8 cups puffed rice cereal

Place the cereal in a large mixing bowl. Grease a 9" x 13" cake pan and around the edges of a medium saucepan. Put everything else in the saucepan except the vanilla. Over medium to medium-high heat, bring this mixture to a boil. Boil it for about a minute and then remove it from the heat. Continue stirring while you add the vanilla to this mixture. Then, using a spatula to remove every last drop you can from the pan, pour the mixture over the puffed cereal. Mix this up very well as quickly as you can (but make sure the cereal is coated thouroughly) then scrape it into the cake pan. Using wetted hands, press the mixture into the pan tightly. Allow to set (this may take anywhere from 15 minutes to 2 hours) but do NOT refrigerate if you don't want dentures. Invite your Canadian friends over, cut into squares and enjoy.


Alanna said...

Hi Jacqueline! I always stock up on Canadian ingredients when I go home. Jam, honey, peanut butter, lard for pie crusts, triticale, more.

And peroghies! Aii, peroghies. You might enjoy this post where a food blogger friend made my Nana's Peroghies.

Carla said...

Thank you so much! My aunt just made puffed wheat cake tonight and we could not for the life of us figure out why it crumbled. We totally forgot about beehive corn syrup. Going to try and find some dark corn syrup and try it again : )