Happy Holidays Feed

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.


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.


 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:


Or this classic from Lenox:



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. 


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.


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. 


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.


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


Recipe via SenseiAlan
Image via My Luscious Life

Retro Holidays: Easy Karo Candy

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


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.


 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.


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. 


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.



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

Guinness Gingerbread

Okay, your mother probably didn't make Guinness gingerbread when you were a kid. But I bet you wish she had.


Guinness Gingerbread

1 1/4 sticks (10 tbsp.) butter, plus some for greasing
1 cup golden syrup (you may substitute with corn syrup)
1 cup packed plus 2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 cup Guinness stout
2 tsp. ground ginger
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
2 cups all-purpose flour (I suggest you sift it)
2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 cup sour cream
2 eggs
1 rectangular aluminum foil pan or 13" x 9" x 2" cake pan 

Preheat oven to 325˚F.

Grease your aluminum foil pan or line your cake pan with aluminum foil and grease it.

Put the butter, syrup, brown sugar, Guinness and spices into a pan and melt gently over low heat.

Take off heat and whisk in the flour and baking soda. Be patient and whisk thoroughly to get out any lumps.

Whisk the sour cream and eggs together then beat into gingerbread mixture, whisking again to get a smooth batter. 

Pour this into your foil loaf/cake pan and bake for about 45 minutes; when it's ready, it will be risen in the center and coming away from the pan at the sides.

Let the gingerbread cool before cutting into slices or squares.

It's me again. Gingerbread tends to look too much like an unfinished cake waiting to be frosted, so I always dust the finished gingerbread with powdered sugar. Makes a big difference.


 Can you tell what's driving me crazy about this old holiday photo of Mary Tyler Moore?


It's the brown carpeting. It has nothing to do with the holidays. Details matter! So don't forget to dust your gingerbread with powdered sugar.    ; )

Recipe via Irish Central
Image via Vintage Everyday

Oh, fudge!

If you're making food gifts for the holidays, you're probably making fudge. Here are a few old fudge recipes for you to try.


Marshmallow Cream Fudge
Recipe from 1958 Nestle's advertising

Bring to a full boil — stir constantly: one 5 to 10 oz. jar marshmallow cream; 2/3 cup evaporated milk; 1/4 cup butter; 1 1/2 cup sugar; 1/4 tsp. salt.

Boil 5 min. over moderate heat, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat. Stir in till melted: 12 oz. (2 cups) Nestle's Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels; 1 tsp. vanilla; 1/2 cup nuts, chopped (optional).

Pour in greased pan 8" x 8" x 2".

Chill well. Yield: approximately 2 1/4 lbs.


C&H Potato Fudge
Recipe from a bag of C&H powdered sugar

3 squares (3 oz.) unsweetened chocolate
1/2 stick butter
1/3 cup cold mashed potatoes
1 tsp. vanilla extract
dash salt
4 cups powdered sugar

Melt chocolate and butter over low heat. Remove from heat and add potatoes, vanilla extract and salt. Mix well. Blend in powdered sugar and mix. When mixture is moistened, turn out on board. Knead until smooth and thoroughly mixed. Press into 8-in. square pan. Chill. Cut into 1 inch squares. Makes 1 1/2 lbs.


Carnation Velvet Fudge
Recipe from old Carnation advertising

3 squares (3 oz.) unsweetened chocolate
3 cups sugar
2 tbsp. corn syrup
1 cup evaporated milk, undiluted
3 tbsp. butter
1 tsp. vanilla

Cut chocolate over sugar into 2-quart saucepan. Add corn syrup and evaporated milk. Place over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves and chocolate melts. Bring to boiling; cover and cook 2 minutes. Uncover and cook, stirring occasionally, to 234˚F or until soft ball forms when a small amount of mixture is dropped into cold water. Remove from heat. Add butter and let cool without stirring until mixture is 110˚F or pan is cool enough to hold in palm of hand. Add vanilla and beat until thick and no longer glossy. Spread in buttered pan. When firm, cut in squares. Makes 1 3/4 lbs.

Variations Just before turning beaten candy into buttered pan, add one of the following:
Nut fudge — 3/4 to 1 cup chopped nuts
Coconut fudge — 1/2 cup shredded coconut
Raison Roll — 1/2 cup raisins and 1/2 cup chopped nuts. Form fudge into roll, chill and slice.


 Julie Andrews wants you to have a nice holiday season. And she wants to serve you a bread and cookie sandwich.


 Recipes via Classic FilmRecipe CurioRetro Magic Shop
Image via The Julie Andrews Movie Club