Well, here I am again with another quintessential Canadian treat – and it’s not even Canada day or anything! This time I made fancy puffed wheat squares – I’m calling them Chewy Chocolate Cherry Puffed Wheat Squares. But really they’re just regular old puffed wheat squares with dried cherries in them for a little extra Yum.
Puffed wheat squares, like Butter Tarts and Nanaimo Bars, are a sweet Canadian treat that have been a regular part of my Mom’s and/or Grandma’s baking repertoire for as long as I can remember. I’m not the only one that loves the chewy chocolate treat. In fact it was one of the most commonly searched for recipes on Google Canada in 2015. However, unlike Butter Tarts and Nanaimo Bars, I had no idea that they were distinctly Canadian until very recently. This made me want to share the love with my new American friends. Try it, you’ll like it – I promise!
These chocolately treats are sticky, chewy and delicious, and almost as easy to make as good ol’ rice krispie squares. I say “almost” because it does take a little more mixing and boiling of ingredients, but after that it’s all just stirring.
You can find the puffed wheat in the cereal aisle. It should be available in several brands, and likely a low cost generic. You can also probably find it in the natural foods aisle, where you might also find puffed barley, kamut, rice and corn. Barley and kamut would make great alternatives for this recipe. In fact, this time when I made them I used a half and half mixture of wheat and barley as that’s what I happened to have on hand. I gave both to Baby J as early finger foods when he just started eating, but of course he had them so often that he’s sick of them now. Funny, he didn’t seem to mind them coated in sweet, sticky, chocolatey coating. The dried cherries are a non-traditional ingredient in this recipe. I just decided to add them because, well, chocolate and cherries! They turned out great, and I will definitely add the cherries again in the future. However, leave them out if you choose, regular puffed wheat squares taste great too!
- 5 cups puffed wheat (see note)
- ½ cup dried cherrries, coarsely chopped (optional)
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ cup corn syrup
- ½ cup white sugar
- 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
- 4 Tablespoons cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Lightly oil a 9x9 baking pan and set aside (you can also line the bottom of the dish with parchment paper to make removing the squares even easier.
- Stir together puffed wheat and dried cherries in a large bowl. Set aside.
- Combine butter, corn syrup, white and brown sugar and cocoa powder together in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat (mixture must come to a boil or the syrup will not set and your squares will fall apart). Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract.
- Pour cocoa syrup mixture over puffed wheat and cherries. Stir until puffed wheat is completely coated. Press mixture into the prepared baking pan and let set at room temperature for at least an hour. Cut into squares and serve.
Puffed Wheat Square Nutrition Notes
Puffed wheat squares are a relatively low calorie sweet treat. But like any desserts, they’re still high in sugar, so eat them in moderation!