in the eye of the beholder: butterscotch confetti squares

whatever you call 'em, they're delicious

Warning: you are either going to love these or hate these. I mean, just look at that tin of fluffy pastel confectionary! It’s definitely a bit frightening but beautiful, in that retro kitchy way. I wish I could tell you that this recipe has long been in our family recipe box, but that would be a lie. I first came across these on Twitter via The Casual Baker and I was intrigued and a quick google search revealed a bunch of forums and online chatter of Canadian moms reminiscing about these squares from their prairie childhood. So when my in-laws were hosting a large family barbeque where most of the family comes from solid Manitoban stock, I knew these marshmallow treats would feel right at home.

just a slice

The night before the barbeque as I got all the ingredients on the counter – mini fruity pastel marshmallows, processed peanut butter, butterscotch – I could feel the decades rolling back. The recipe was a cinch to prepare and I felt that Canadian prairie grandmas were along for the ride cheering me on! I even added a couple handfuls of rice krispies to the recipe sensing that the added crunch would be a nice surprise (it was). Sure, I felt a pinch of guilt when the documentary, King Corn, about the evils of corn syrup, was on tv while the squares were cooling, but all that changed when I took my first bite. These were good…really, really good. And I wasn’t simply charmed by their retro good looks or their Canadian prairie pedigree either. When I gave a slice to my husband, he remembered these squares from his childhood as he reached for seconds.

These are so much more than a retro throwback or a low brow guilty pleasure. Or maybe not. Make up a batch and give them a try. Just be sure to slice ’em small because they are teeth-clatteringly sweet and share them with friends and family.


elsewhere: In the grips of summer? Give Mexican corn a try – lime, chili & salt. And whip up a Panzanella salad with beans – a salad that works as a meal.

27 comments to “in the eye of the beholder: butterscotch confetti squares”

  1. 1
    Blog is the New Black   July 27, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    This looks great!

  2. 2
    kristel   July 27, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    They’re not really a Canadian thing are they? I mean, I grew up (in Saskatchewan) eating them, I guess I sort of assumed they were a common potluck/reunion/picnic food everywhere.

  3. 3
    Katie   July 27, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    I think I’m going to love these! I’m not normally a huge butterscotch fan, but in this kind of dessert it really calls out to me! It’s always fun to try out an older recipe.

  4. 4
    Renee@sweetsugarbean   July 27, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    As a Canadian Prairie girl, these squares take me back, and I LOVE them! My mom made these frequently when I was a kid, and I remember having a raging toothache after eating too many, but they were worth it!

  5. 5
    Sheena S.   July 27, 2011 at 7:07 pm

    Would love to see a blog that deals solely in Canadian prairie favourites. I just polished off a batch of puffed wheat squares (well, puffed rice this time), which surely would have a place alongside these butterscotch beauties!

  6. 6
    Joanne   July 28, 2011 at 2:21 am

    I’m pretty sure making and eating these will make me feel like I’m five again…so…instant love!

  7. 7
    Gretchen @   July 28, 2011 at 5:56 am

    Why do we worry and feel shame when we delight in an old comfort food? I think it’s time to embrace the foods of our past and not worry so much–good food speaks for itself.

  8. 8
    Bijoux   July 28, 2011 at 6:56 am

    I’ve never heard of these before but I’m curious to try them – I do like sweet things! – even though (gasp!) I’m not a fan of marshmallows. Maybe I’ll make them for a pot luck one day, try one (or two) and share the rest with others 🙂

  9. 9
    christina   July 28, 2011 at 10:25 am

    How funny, my in-laws are from Minnesota (just below Manitoba) and this would be just up their alley too. I didn’t know Minnesotans and Manitobans would have so much in common. 🙂

  10. 10
    kickpleat   July 28, 2011 at 10:49 am

    Thanks, blog is the new black!

    Kristel, as far as I know, I do think they are Canadian. Glad you remember them from your childhood.

    So true, Katie. I didn’t grow up with these, but their appeal is clear 🙂

    Renee, so glad to hear this! Sorry about the toothaches!

    Sheena, that would be amazing. Though through my husband’s family we have a lot of Mennonite family cookbooks which is kinda the same thing! Lots of jello salads!

    Thanks Joanne.

    Gretchen, I do feel guilty buying processed peanut butter and marshmallows and bscotch chips probably because my own mom made her own yogurt/granola and tried to steer us down a healthy path. But I agree, there shouldn’t be shame, as long as it’s a once in awhile treat!

    Bijoux, I don’t like marshmallows either and I loved these. I’m sure you will too!

    I think that the prairies probably share a lot in common, Christina! I’m sure they’d love these squares too.

  11. 11
    Loretta   July 28, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    Oh boy…..I’m back in Flin Flon Manitoba at the Rotary Wheel for a congregation potluck and home made french fry feast!
    Thanks for the memories!

  12. 12
    Kathryn @ Dramatic Pancake   July 28, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    Ha, this post cracked me up- love the line about the prairie candadian grandmas! And I don’t think you should feel guilty about these squares at all- sometimes you just need some good old-fashioned sweetness!

  13. 13
    Amanda   July 28, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    Peanut butter, “not the natural kind” is sort of a metaphor for my entire childhood, haha. I remember eating these squares as fuel then running the neighbourhood ragged with my brother and cousins, circa 1978 : )

  14. 14
    Rebecca   July 29, 2011 at 8:13 am

    I love these squares, although they are very Prairie-specific.. often set out with plate of other dainties at open houses or socials.
    I’ve only ever seen them in Manitoba.. never here in Ontario where I live now. Thanks for this blast from the past…

  15. 15
    Karen   July 29, 2011 at 10:07 am

    I love these and every so often make them because I crave (as well as chocolate puffed wheat squares) them from my childhood. When I went to flea markets in rural Saskatchewan a couple years ago, there were always on sale for far more than I felt comfortable paying; thus, making them myself. I’m going to buy supplies and make some this weekend. Thanks for the reminder!

  16. 16
    Kate   July 29, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    I forgot about these, they are soo tasty! Thanks for the reminder!

  17. 17
    kickpleat   August 2, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    Glad I could help bring back those memories, Loretta!

    Thanks Kathryn! I agree about the old-fashioned sweets 🙂

    I’m sure if these treats were part of my childhood, me and my brother would have driven my mom crazy – let alone the whole ‘hood! Thanks for sharing Amanda!

    Rebecca, I love that you call these dainties!! I grew up in Ontario I had never heard of them until recently!

    Okay, I’m going to have to give puffed wheat squares a try, Karen! Hope you enjoy them 🙂

    Kate, glad I could jog the memory!

  18. 18
    Ashley   August 26, 2011 at 7:23 am

    Yumm! I love the chocolate peanut butter version of these, haven’t tried the butterscotch one.

  19. 19
    LP   November 19, 2011 at 5:49 am

    Yeah for Canadian recipes! I just made these for the first time and my 6 year old loves them!!! He asks for one as soon as he comes home from school. Unfortunately, as wonderful as they would be in a lunch box, the peanut butter makes these sinful delights not appropriate for school. Yahoo for vintage recipes!
    A Canadian Fan

  20. 20
    lyndsay   December 20, 2011 at 9:19 am

    if i have time i am seriously going to make these for christmas eve. i even just bought butterscotch chips for another usage, but i bought a few bags… woot!

    on a butterscotch chip note, i was googling how to make my own… i will try to make my own one day!?

  21. 21
    kickpleat   December 20, 2011 at 10:06 am

    Never knew there were other versions out there, Ashley! Thanks.

    LP, glad you both love them!!

    Lyndsay, yes to butterscotch chips – this year I kinda fell in love with them! And yes to making your own – DO IT!!!

  22. 22
    rose rondeau   January 15, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    im am looking for a unifarm cookbook any idea where a person can get one i have lost mine on one of my moves

  23. 23
    Kelly   December 22, 2015 at 11:16 am

    I stumbled upon this recipe, these look so festive! I want to make them this year for Christmas. However, I am getting differing information on the marshmallows. The only kind I could find colored were “fruit” flavored so I thought that’s what you would use. Are these not what are used?

  24. 24
    kickpleat   December 28, 2015 at 7:09 pm

    Kelly, yes, these marshmallows are the fruity kind! Sorry for the delay – I hope you made them 🙂

  25. 25
    Hilary   September 7, 2018 at 8:02 pm

    I thought these were a maritime treat! We have these at Christmas here in New Brunswick- one of my faves. I literally cannot since near them, so tasty!!

  26. 26
    Klachyn   December 16, 2023 at 10:20 am

    Only a monster would dislike these.

Leave a comment