Puffed Wheat Squares are a super popular bar back home in Winnipeg, and it seems to be mostly a Canadian Prairies tradition.
Originally posted January 10, 2013. Updated 11/23/2022
Well, this chewy puffed wheat cake is... almost healthy. (Well, as long as you're not allergic to wheat, anyway!)
The bulk of these no bake treats comes from the puffed wheat itself, which is very low in calories, anyway.
I know, I know... it's a stretch - but I feel a bit guilty blogging dessert recipes, with all the talk of resolutions out there!
I was feeling homesick and nostalgic lately, and decided to make a batch of my best ever puffed wheat square recipe for my husband.
What are Puffed Wheat Bars?
You know how you can get Rice Crispy squares pretty much anywhere here, even in the gas stations?
It's the same way with these bars back home - these chewy squares are a SUPER common treat. Gas stations, convenience stores, high school candy shop - everywhere!
It’s a great snack, and the type of recipe that everyone will love - whether they grew up with them, or not.
For those that DID grow up with this easy treat, it’s a MAJOR hit of nostalgia.
Even just that earthy, roasty aroma of the puffed wheat, as I opened the bag... Mmm. Memories!
My puffed wheat squares recipe is super quick and easy to make, and definitely "comfort" food!
This recipe uses only a few really simple ingredients. Depending on where you live, at least MOST of the ingredients should be really easy to find in most grocery stores.
You will need:
Puffed Wheat Cereal
Puffed Wheat Cereal is the one ingredient that can be a little harder to find, depending on where you are.
It’s sold in the cereal aisle, usually as a bagged cereal - I don’t think I’ve ever seen it in boxes.
If you can’t find it - or need a gluten free version - you can substitute Puffed Rice Cereal.
Note: this is NOT the same as crisp rice cereal / “Rice Crispies”.
Rice Krispie squares are great, but that cereal will NOT work in this recipe.
In addition to the cereal, you will need:
... I just really don’t have anything to add, for any of them. Pretty straightforward!
How to Make Puffed Wheat Squares
Generously grease a 9x 13″ baking pan, set aside. Pour puffed wheat into a heat-proof extra large mixing bowl.
In a medium saucepan, combine butter, corn syrup, brown sugar, cocoa, and salt.
Cook over medium heat until butter melts.
Boil the syrup mixture for 1-2 minutes.
Note: Boiling for closer to 1 minute will give you a gooey bar, 2 minutes will be a more firm bar.
Pour hot chocolate mixture over puffed wheat.
Stir (carefully!) with a rubber spatula until all of the puffed wheat is coated with chocolate.
Using lightly greased (or slightly damp!) hands, firmly press mixture down into the pan, until compacted and relatively flat.
I actually like to use an oven mitt and a piece of parchment paper for this.
Note: How firmly you press it will determine the final texture of the bars. Loosely pressed makes for a tender, pull-apart bar. Firmly packed makes a more dense bar.
Cut bars can be transferred to an airtight container - or individually wrapped with plastic wrap - and stored at room temperature for a week or so.
Note: They’ll still be safe to eat after a week, but may start to taste a little stale.
Tips and Tricks
A few bits of info to help you out:
Weigh your Wheat
Puffed wheat comes in different sized bags, and RARELY is it the right amount for this recipe.
So, I put my extra large bowl on my kitchen scale, turn it on, let it come to 0, and just pour in my puffed wheat until I’ve got the right amount.
Then I just set the bowl aside until the chocolate syrup is ready.
Line the Pan!
While puffed wheat squares are usually made in a greased pan, I like to line the pan with parchment, instead.
To do this, I spray the pan with nonstick spray, then add parchment paper. The spray acts as a loose glue, holding the paper in place.
Fold the corners to tuck away the excess paper bulk, and you’re good to go!
After the bars have cooled, you can lift the whole pan of bars out, for easier cutting.
The Boil Matters
While I’ve never used a candy thermometer for this - haven’t needed to, wouldn’t know what temps to hit! - the boil time can affect your final bars.
2 minutes gives a nice, firm bar.
If you prefer a more gooey bar, boil for just a minute or so.
This recipe is one of many fantastic Canadian recipes in my cookbook, "More Than Poutine: Favourite Foods from my Home and Native Land”.
"More than Poutine" is a Canadian cookbook like no other - written by a Canadian living away, it includes both traditional home cooking recipes, as well as accurate homemade versions of many of the snacks, sauces, convenience foods, and other food items that are hard to come by outside of Canada!
More Canadian Comfort Food!
Whether you’re a Canadian in the US or not, we could all use some comfort food these days. Here are some Canadian Favourites!
Back Bacon / Canadian Bacon
Canadian Popcorn Seasoning Recipes
Dill Pickle Dip
French Canadian Pea Soup
Homemade Deep N Delicious Cake
Doughnut Holes - Timbits!
How to Make Peameal Bacon and Back Bacon
Maple Butter Tarts
Poutine, My Way!
Replica Swiss Chalet Sauce
Tiger Tail Ice Cream
Looking for even more Canadian recipes? Check out our full Canadian Recipes list!
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Puffed Wheat Squares
- 1 9 x 13 Baking Dish
- 6 oz Puffed Wheat
- ½ cup Butter
- 1 cup Corn Syrup
- 1 cup Packed Brown Sugar
- ⅔ cup Cocoa Powder
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Generously grease a 9x 13″ baking pan, set aside. Pour puffed wheat into a large, heatproof mixing bowl.
- In a medium saucepan, combine butter, corn syrup, brown sugar, cocoa, and salt. Heat over medium until butter melts.
- Once butter melts, turn heat up a bit and bring mixture to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, then remove from heat and stir in vanilla until well combined.
- Pour hot chocolate mixture over puffed wheat, stir (carefully!) until all of the wheat is coated with chocolate. Dump mixture into prepared baking pan.
- Using lightly greased (or slightly damp!) hands, firmly press mixture down into the pan, until compacted and relatively flat. Allow to cool completely before cutting into squares.
More Recipes that Remind me of Gramma
Since originally writing this post, my gramma has sadly passed... but her memory lives on.
Here are a few recipes that remind me of her, whether as something she taught me to make, a replica of a retail treat we used to enjoy together, or one of my own recipes that she would request whenever I’d visit, as an adult.
Gramma's Perogies Recipe
Homemade Marshmallow Cones
Homemade Clodhoppers Candy
Honey Dill Dipping Sauce
Paska - Ukrainian Easter Bread
Baking Powder Biscuits
Grandma's Potato Salad
Easy Butterfly Cupcakes
Breakfast of Champions
French Canadian Pea Soup
Beep Drink Recipe