For me, Canada Day always involved a trip to one of the municipal events, most often my hometown of Ajax's lakefront festival. From about 11AM until the fireworks at 9PM, the waterfront was full of bustling activity for all ages - magic shows and musicians (both for the childhood and adult crowds), petting zoos, jumping castles, a BBQ and in most recent years free henna tattoos by local artists. It was a great excuse to go out for an afternoon of free fun outside, and as long as we remembered the sunscreen it always ended with some very happy, exhausted kids, teens and adults cuddled up on lawn chairs and blankets watching the (usually disappointing) fireworks show. Unless, of course, you happened to be me - I HATE the sound of exploding close-range fireworks, though I love sparklers and the burning schoolhouse (but I think that's a favourite of all kids!). I would hide in the comfort of the car or house and watch through the window, or spend the entire show plugging my ears against the bangs of the explosives. I still do that to this day, no matter where I am - even when watching Fantasmic or EPCOT's light shows at Walt Disney World!
One of the other main highlights of Canada Day festivities was always the "birthday cake". Usually it was a very large Canadian flag made out of several vanilla slab cakes, though last year (and possibly the year before) the delicious and (to me) better tasting Rice Krispie squares took the place of the cake mix. The kick of sugar was what all the kids lined up for - sometimes for hours - while their parents tried to brace themselves for the ensuing sugar high. It was this memory of the crispy, gooey squares that I wanted to preserve in blogging memory during Jennifer (The Canadian Domestic Goddess)' special roundup of Sugar High Fridays, aptly entitled Mmm... Canada!.
Unfortunately, as with many things in this fickle foodie world, my luck would have it that there would be nobody around to share the pan of gooey sugar attack goodness with me if I made them. There was NO way I could eat a whole tray by myself, and the deal was severed completely when a pantry search revealed no marshmallows. Sigh.
As luck would have it though, we DID have a source of Canadiana in our pantry, in a few forms! Between my (irrational, since I can't have it) jonesing for a cup of Tim Hortons coffee and my discovery of some very patriotic Coffee Crisp snack-size bars, a brand new source of Canadian memorabilia was created in a matter of 45 minutes or so in my kitchen. While the rain poured and pounded outside (scaring the dog half to death and making me worry our power would go out) I mixed up a heavily caffeinated basic brownie batter and threw in a bunch of chopped up candy bars. Right out of the oven, I knew we had a winner. Rich, deep coffee and chocolate cake studded with bits of wafer cookie... nothin' better for this Canuck! I'm taking them into my mom's work tomorrow as a thank you to the ladies - they're taking me out to lunch at the St. Lawrence Market in the afternoon and deserve a treat!
So, for all you Canadians, ex-pats and wannabe's out there, take a bit of my culinary culture with you and enjoy your weekend!
Coffee Crisp Bars
1/4 cup "light" margarine (I use Becel)
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup non-fat milk (I used potato milk, but soy or rice would work too)
1 cup flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp instant espresso powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
7 "snack size" Coffee Crisp bars (16g each), chopped
- Lightly coat the bottom only of a 9' pan with nonstick cooking spray.
- Melt margarine in a large bowl.
- Beat in sugar and milk.
- Sift in flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder and baking powder, mixing until just combined.
- Fold in candy pieces.
- Bake 20-25 minutes.
- Cool completely on a wire rack before cutting.
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat: 4.3 g
Cholesterol: 0.2 mg
Sodium: 47.9 mg
Total Carbs: 27.8 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.9 g
Protein: 2.4 g