Though I didn't make this particular treat when it was my turn for the Friday fundraising adventure, I do recall making it's "kissing cousin" with my mom once or twice. I had half a bag of organic puffed millet in our pantry which almost screamed "crispy squares", but no marshmallows to make the classic recipe (and I wasn't about to go and buy any - I was trying to use what excess I had, not make more!). Googling around didn't yield much other than a few vegan recipes which all used brown rice syrup and agave (which I also didn't have, being a broke student in the boonies of Ontario!). After a while, I kind of gave up and put it on the "back burner" of my mind.
Then I was flipping through my old church cookbook (my all time favourite, by the way!) for a totally different idea and came across one of the ladies' entries for "Golden Puff Squares" that used puffed wheat stirred into a corn syrup, sugar and butter caramel, without a marshmallow in sight. The lightbulb went on, and I abandoned my previous quest (which I now can't remember!) and got right into the kitchen. The recipe struck me as being quite brilliant, actually, since while I do have an everlasting (and some might say irrational) fear of boiling sugar, for some reason the addition of already cooked corn syrup made it "safe" to me. For a more complex, "ooh la la" flavour, I opted for a partial honey swap rather than use only corn syrup. Even if it isn't the maligned HFCS, corn syrup can be a bit... boring. And honey caramel? Yum! For a little bit of visual appeal, I topped the warm pan of squares with a few "dots" of chocolate chips and popped it into a hot oven for a minute just to melt them onto the surface a bit. Cooled and cut (I made triangles, because I can't do anything by the book!), they made for a delicious snack, and I have it on good authority that some young foodies nearby had a pretty delicious dessert too!
Dotty Golden Squares
- Heat syrup, honey, and sugar in a large heavy-bottomed pan until bubbling.
- Boil for 2 minutes, then remove from heat, stir in the butter until melted and add the puffs.
- Mix well and press into the pan.
- Cool 15 minutes, then remove from pan and cut into squares (or triangles, whatever!).
- Cool completely before indulging!