“Gooooffffffiooo!”, screamed the kids with their mouth full of this sweet powder, covering their unsuspecting friends with one of Dominican children’s traditional sweet treats.
Part treat, part practical joke, Gofio (Sugary Corn Powder) was one of those things that you could buy in nearly every Dominican “colmado”. Back in the 70s (yeah, I am dating myself here), you could even win a toy with the purchase of your gofio, if you were ever so lucky.
Yeah, ask your mama what a chuflai was.
Some lucky kids got a token in their gofio cones that they could exchange for some cheap toys at colmados, kinda like the ancient version of today’s scratch-offs. This gave us the expression “se lo sacó en un chuflai” (he/she won it in a chuflai), meaning getting stuck with an unexpected — and often unwanted — object or person.
The top price was a plasticky, naked baby doll, the looks of which would give modern children nightmares, and necessitate a lifetime of therapy (think third-rate version of the kewpie doll). Perhaps that’s what wrong with us oldies.
This treat was originally prepared using dry corn grain that would be roasted, then ground in a big mortar… by hand. But who has time for that? In this version we will use regular medium-grain cornmeal, which makes it much easier, fast, and the results are nearly the same.
This makes a fun treat at children’s parties. You could also include your own token (see instructions after recipe), and perhaps one of your guests should be so lucky and win some ugly toy. Therapists have to make a living too.
- 1 cup of medium-grain cornmeal
- ½ cup of sugar
- Pour the cornmeal into a cast iron or aluminum pot. Heat over medium heat.
- Cook stirring vigorously until it turns a uniform golden brown color.
- Remove from the heat and pour into a bowl. Mix in sugar.
- Cool to room temperature. Serve in paper cones (see instructions for paper cones after the recipe).
How to make the cones:
- Print the pattern linked here onto a thick paper (to mark the pattern onto wrapping paper).
- Cut another one from the thick paper, roll into a cone and glue the end, use this one to roll the cones around it, as the wrapping paper is thinner and it’s harder to keep the shape.
- Trace and cut out twelve cone patterns from the wrapping paper, and twelve from wax paper. Cut 12 circles from thick paper.
- Line a piece of wrapping paper with a piece of wax paper (so the food does not come in contact with the wrapping paper) and roll using the thick-paper cone to keep the shape. Glue the ends. Repeat with the remaining 11 cones.
- Fill out the cones with gofio, leaving half an inch space at the top. Place a circle (one circle should be a token, with the prize handwritten on it) and fold the edges at the top. Hold with a piece of adhesive tape. Alternatively, you can just leave them open and place them upright into a glass or vase.