Saturday, December 6, 2014

Holiday spit-takes

Now that we learned how fudge was made in the '30s, I started wondering about newer convenience recipes. In the '90s I used to make an easy "fudge" recipe I found on the back of a powdered sugar box. What about the halfway point: the '60s?

One answer is in the Jell-O Pudding Ideabook (1968). It looks as if my '60s counterparts were just as eager to avoid the failure that often accompanies making genuine from-scratch fudge, and given the book's name, I'll bet you can guess the "secret" ingredient for easy fudge:

This (and most of the variants) look awesome! Pistachio creams! (Note that cooks had to add their own pistachios and food coloring to a recipe based on vanilla pudding mix. Pistachio Jell-O pudding wasn't introduced until the '70s.) Peanut butter creams! Peanut fudge! And though I'm not thrilled about coconut cream confections or raisin rum creams, I'm sure they have their fans.

The last recipe though, the one relegated to its own space on the following page, sounded just plain weird. Maybe that's why it had to sit at a table all by itself.

Sure, at first glance layered fudge doesn't sound too surprising: a layer of light-colored fudge covered by a layer of chocolate mint fudge. If it's made with vanilla pudding mix, it is probably fine. But look a little more closely: cooks can use banana cream pudding too. The instructions don't say to omit the mint for this option; in fact, they seem to forget that using vanilla pudding is even an option after the instruction to add mint extract to the chocolate layer.

I can get behind chocolate mint fudge. Even though I'm not a fan of fake banana, I can see the appeal of chocolate banana cream fudge. But minty chocolate banana fudge? I don't think so.

Apparently surprise fruit and mint combos were a thing in the '60s, though. As a final treat, here's a recipe from Magical Desserts with Whip 'n Chill (1967):

The title of candy mint pie sounds innocent enough. It would look innocent too: a nice, pink mousse studded with bits of crushed peppermint. It would look great on a holiday table. And what would a guest at a holiday party expect from a pretty little pink slice? Pure cooling holiday peppermint. What would the unsuspecting guest get? Strawberry cream with peppermint pockets! It makes my whole mouth feel funny just thinking about it.

Hopefully the host has supremely tactful guests and/or a washable tablecloth because I can only imagine the spit-takes....


  1. Peppermint & chocolate, yum! Add in strawberry dream whip, no thank you.

    1. No kidding! If they wanted to sell people on Whip 'n Chill, this was NOT the way...

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