1956 Christmas Buffet: Part One

So there is this little 1956 Christmas booklet that I acquired at an estate sale. It is called A Merry Christmas at Your House. It looks to be a booklet that a company could buy and put their name on to hand out to employees as a “Christmas card”. This one was given out by a welding company in Pawhuska, Oklahoma. Inside has a cute holiday message  and then it includes a whole bunch of holiday recipes. 

 

So why am I telling you any of this? Well there is a page that illustrates a buffet setup in which the booklet calls “The Open House Snack Table”. If you have been reading this blog, you know I have a slight obsession with vintage menus. I find them fascinating with the foods they choose as many times I would not, especially with my modern sensibilities, pair such items. Therefore early this year I had made a plan that I was going to recreate this buffet menu. I did have to edit this menu down a bit because of everything going on in 2020 big celebrations are not on option. I just did not want too much extra food. So just know that on this menu was two layer prune cake frosted with seven minute frosting, sweet bread dough and the classic divinity.

The Open House Snack Table

Fudge     Chocolate Turtle     Walnut Strips

Fruit Cake

Tomato Aspic    Nut Dip     Watercress Dip

Cranberry Punch

So today I will talk about and give the recipes for the fudge, chocolate turtle and walnut strips and the rest of the week I will talk and give the recipes for the rest. I will admit today the descriptions are going to be brief because there really is not a lot to say about the candies.

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First up is the fudge. This is a nice recipe for that classic fudge with no real surprises. It uses the marshmallow creme and the traditional walnuts. Next up are the chocolate turtles. These use a shortcut by placing a caramel on a cluster of pecans and placing them in the oven before topping them with melted chocolate. I will admit that these get a little hard so be careful when eating. Lastly is my personal favorite of the three, the walnut strips. These are a slightly sweet, shortbread like cookie with walnuts mixed in. Then they are shaped into logs, baked and then rolled in confectioners sugar. I could have made mine half the size but unsurprisingly the mid century recipe was a little vague on the fine details.

Fudge

  • Servings: 24 servings
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A simple classic fudge recipe from 1956.

source: A Merry Christmas at Your Home (1956)

Ingredients

  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1 14 1/2 oz can of evaporated milk
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 12 oz package semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 cups chopped walnuts
  • Optional: walnut halves for decoration

Directions

  1. In a large sauce pan with a candy thermometer, cook sugar, milk and butter  to the soft ball stage – 235 to 240 degrees. (See Notes)
  2. Add the chocolate, marshmallow creme, walnuts and vanilla. Stir until chocolate is melted and the marshmallow creme is fully incorporated.
  3. Poor in a 9 x 13 pan. Let cool for a bit and then score the fudge and top with a nut halve. Then let it cool completely and cut.

NOTES:

  • Here is link that gives great information on the what to look for with the soft ball stage (as well as the other stages) of candy making.

Chocolate Turtles

  • Servings: 36 candies
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A super quick turtle recipe from 1956.

source: A Merry Christmas at Your Home (1956)

Ingredients

  • 1 bag of pecan halves
  • 36 caramels (the square ones individually wrapped)
  • 4 oz of melted chocolate (whatever your preferred way is)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  2. Place nuts in cluster on a parchment lined baking sheets for a total of 36. I did three pecan halves but you could do a few more if you want to.
  3. Place a caramel on each cluster and place in the oven for 8 minutes.
  4. Remove and flatten the caramel. 
  5. Frost with melted chocolate and let harden.

Walnut Strips

  • Servings: 12 to 24 cookies
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A simple cookie with walnuts.

source: A Merry Christmas at Your Home (1956)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup of powdered sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar. 
  3. Add in flour and mix until combine. Then work in the vanilla, water and nuts.
  4. Shape into fingers about two inches in size and arrange on an ungreased baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes.
  6. Let cool to touch and roll the cookies in powder sugar.

 

4 thoughts on “1956 Christmas Buffet: Part One

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