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December 2016

Holiday Baking: Tomato Soup Fruitcake

For some Americans, the tomato soup fruitcake is a holiday classic.

For the rest of us, it's a head-scratching oddity.  

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Tomato Soup Fruitcake
Old recipe from 1962 Campbell's advertising

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. each: ground cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg
1/2 cup shortening
1 can Campbell’s Tomato Soup
2 eggs
1 cup chopped candied fruit, or raisins, or prepared mincemeat
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350˚ F. Grease and flour a 9-inch tube pan. In large bowl, sift dry ingredients together. Add shortening and 1/2 can soup. Beat until smooth. Add remaining soup and eggs. Beat again until smooth. Fold in fruit and nuts. Pour into pan. Bake about 1 1/4 hours. Cool in pan 10 minutes; remove.

Frosting

Soften 3-oz. package cream cheese with 1 tbsp. milk; gradually blend in 2 1/2 cups sifted confectioners sugar and 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract.

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 Seems to me, fruitcake should be served on old-fashioned china.

Like this Christmas plate from Johnson Brothers:

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Or this pattern from Spode:

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Or this classic from Lenox:

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Retro Holiday Baking: Jell-O Spritz Cookies

Jell-O in cookies. Who knew?

Use this recipe to make spritz cookies — that is, cookies you form with a cookie press — or just drop the dough by spoonfuls for soft pillow-like cookies. 

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Fruity Cookies
Old recipe from vintage Jell-O advertising

4 cups sifted flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 3-oz. pkg. of Jell-O gelatin, any flavor
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 400˚F.

Sift flour and baking powder. Cream butter. Gradually add sugar and gelatin, creaming well after each addition. Add egg and vanilla; beat well. Gradually add flour mixture, mixing after each addition until smooth.

Press dough through the cookie press onto ungreased baking sheets. Sprinkle with colored sugar or candy sprinkles if desired. Bake for about 13 to 14 minutes or until golden brown at edges.

Makes about 5 dozen cookies.

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Thank heavens, my mother never did this to us.

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 Retro Dad totally phoned it in with that tie.

Recipe via Scout901
Image via Awkward Family Photos


Retro Happy Hour: Spicy Holiday Punch

Here's a nifty old recipe for homemade holiday punch. Make it with or without alcohol. 

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Spicy Punch
Old recipe from 1964 Sprite advertising

1/4 tsp. ground allspice
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 cup fresh lemon juice
12 bottles of Sprite (bottles held about 8 oz. back in the day, so "12 bottles" would equal about one and a half 2-liter bottles' worth of Sprite)
food coloring, if desired

Combine all ingredients except Sprite. Add food coloring, if desired. Chill. Add cold Sprite just before serving. Makes 38 4-oz. servings.

If desired, add 1 part blended whiskey to 5 parts punch. Also good with brandy or rum.

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 Nice girls don't hang around the punchbowl making eyes at strange men. Just saying.

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Recipe via SenseiAlan
Image via My Luscious Life


P-Nutty Butterscotch Crunchies

These candies (or are they cookies?) are to die for. And they're super-easy to make.

They travel well, too. So if you're looking for holiday treats to mail, these would be ideal.

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P-Nutty Butterscotch Crunchies
Recipe from a 1961 ad

 1/2 cup peanut butter
1 (6-oz.) package butterscotch morsels (1 cup)
1 (3-oz.) can chow mein noodles (2 cups)
candied cherries

In top of double boiler combine peanut butter and butterscotch morsels. Place over hot (not boiling) water till butterscotch morsels melt. Stir until blended. Add chow mein noodles and stir until well-coated. Drop teaspoonfuls onto waxed paper lined cookie sheet. Top with candied cherry. Chill until set.

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 Page from the 1956 Sears Christmas catalog.

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Recipe via Click Americana


Retro Holidays: Easy Karo Candy

Time to start making holiday candy. Here's an easy recipe to start off. 

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Easy Karo Candy
Recipe from vintage Karo advertising

1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup clear Karo corn syrup
1 lb. sifted confectioners sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

STIR CONSTANTLY butter, Karo syrup and half of sugar in 3-qt. saucepan over low heat until bubbly. Quickly stir in remaining sugar and vanilla. Remove from heat, stir until mixture just holds shape. Pour in greased pan. Cool until candy is lukewarm. Knead until smooth.

BonBons: Form Easy Karo Candy around nuts.
Roll in colored sugar or sprinkles.

Mint Patties: Flavor Easy Karo Candy with peppermint or wintergreen. Color with red or green vegetable coloring. Form into patties.

Filled Fruits or Nuts: Fill pitted prunes, apricots or dates with Easy Karo Candy. Roll in sugar.
Or place between nut halves.

Peppermint Popcorn Tree: Make these simple changes in the Easy Karo Recipe: Replace butter with 2 tbsp. water and increase Karo to 1 cup. Remove from heat; stir in 32 large marshmallows, 1 tsp. peppermint flavoring. Toss with 14 cups popped corn. Press into pan (13 x 9 x 2-inch) lined with greased aluminum foil. Cool until set (about 15 min.); remove from pan. Cut into pieces, two each: 5 x 5", 4 x 4", 2 x 2" and three 3 x 3". Stack with largest on bottom, alternating corners over sides. Decorate with candies and candles.

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 Here's some vintage holiday candy inspiration.

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Recipe via Shelf Life Taste Test


We have Rice Krispies Treats, the Brits have Krackolates

This is an old British recipe. I've converted it to US measures.

 The photo in the ad is a little misleading — it was to me, anyway. Don't the Krackolates look muffin-size? They're actually the size of chocolates.

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Chocolate Krackolates
Recipe from a 1953 English ad from Kellogg's and Cadbury's

7 tbsp. Kellogg's Corn Flakes
1 level tbsp. cocoa
1 tbsp. sugar or confectioners' sugar
1 tbsp. corn syrup (if corn syrup is not available, double the quantity of sugar)
2 tbsp. butter

To improve the flavor, add:
2 tbsp. shredded coconut or 1 tsp. grated orange peel

Melt butter and corn syrup in saucepan. Do not boil. Add the cocoa. Remove from heat, stir in sugar. Using metal spoon, quickly fold in coconut or orange peel) and corn flakes, until coated. Spoon into eleven or twelve portions. 

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Vintage Christmas cards and vintage ornaments equal twice the holiday awesomeness. 

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Recipe via totallymystified


Easy peasy spiked eggnog

This recipe calls for you to whip up some cream and fold it into store-bought eggnog. That makes the result homemade, as far as I'm concerned.

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Bacardi Eggnog
Recipe from 1955 Bacardi advertising

1. Pour 2 quarts of non-alcoholic eggnog into a punch bowl.

2. Stir in a fifth of Bacardi rum, light or dark.

3. Fold in a pint of stiffly whipped cream, then chill for at least 3 hours in the refrigerator.

4. Top individual servings with a light sprinkling of ground nutmeg.

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So, Vern got the macrame plant hanger from his craft-y mother.

Right before he snapped the photo, Dad referred to Mom's creation as a commie hippie rope contraption.

Mom didn't think that was funny but it cracked up Bobby Joe.

Recipe via Jon Williamson