Vintage Halloween Treats


 Every Halloween, its easy to find recipes for modern Halloween treats whether you’re standing at the checkout line at the grocery store or browsing through your favorite blogs. Most of the time you’ll find recipes for overly cliche food items and almost nothing from times past. As a baker, and a homespun gourmet cook, I have poked and proded through the tombs of time for Halloween recipes from the 1940s and 1950s. Heck, I’ve even made them and took pictures just for you readers.

Cut-Out Gingersnap Cookies

This recipe hails from 1945. During WWII sugar was scarce, so it was suggested that people use molasses as a sweetener. Of course, it was also suggested to hand out these cookies to trick or treaters, but that was before modern-day paranoia about treats and strangers.

¾ cup Shortening
1 cup Granulated Sugar
¼ cup Molasses
1 Egg
2 cups Flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
½ tsp Salt
½ tsp Ground Ginger
1 tsp Ground Cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 375F. Have ungreased cookie sheets at hand and cookie cutter (I used a 2-½ inch diameter cutter)
2. In a large bowl, cream together the shortening, sugar and molasses. Add the egg and beat well.
3. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, ginger and cinnamon.
4. Add the flour mixture gradually to the shortening mixture and mix well.
5. Turn dough out on a lightly floured board. Roll 1/8 to ¼ inch thick and cut with a floured cookie cutter.
6. Place on ungreased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.
7. Bake @ 375 degrees F for approximately 10 minutes until cookies are golden brown on top. Remove cookies to a wire rack to cool.


Orange Jack O Lantern Salad

This recipe is from 1940 and was designed as a healthy appetizer for kids or adults. It would be great for dinner parties.

4 Large Oranges
16 Dates
1 cup Small Marshmallows

1. Cut the tops off of each orange and very carefully scoop out the fruit without going through the peel.
2. Once each orange is free of fruit, carve out jack o lantern faces on each orange.
3. Chop up the fruit of the orange and place into a mixing bowl. Chop up the dates and make sure they are free of their pits. Add the dates and marshmallows to the mixing bowl and gently toss.
4. Fill each carved orange with the salad mixture and serve.


Tell-Your-Fortune Cake

This is a classic Halloween party cake that remained popular through the 1950s and was usually some sort of spicy cake. It requires having a key for symbols available while people eat. Its suggested that you find charms at a craft store. Be sure they are metal. This particular cake isn’t frosted, but it could be if that’s what you prefer.

Cake:
2 cups Flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
1/2 tsp Allspice
2 Eggs
1 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Shortening
3/4 cup Milk
1 tsp Vanilla
1/2 cup Graham Crackers, crushed fine
1 TBSP Sugar
1/4 tsp Cinnamon
2 TBSP Melted Butter

Charms:
Ring - Marriage to come.
Dime or Diamond - An increase of wealth.
Safety Pin or Bottle - A baby on the way.
Airplane - Travel in the near future.
Horseshoe - Incredible luck.
Fish - Meetings with people.
Chair - Lots of company.
Gun - Quick to act.
Button - Bachelor.
Thimble - Old Maid.

For the Cake:
1. Mix the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice together in a bowl.
2. Cream together eggs, sugar, and shortening in a mixer.
3. Add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture. Add in the milk and vanilla.
4. Turn into a greased 9 by 9 pan and hide the charms in the batter so each future slice will have a charm.
5. For the topping, combine crushed graham crackers with sugar, cinnamon and melted butter. Sprinkle over cake.
6. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes. Cool for an hour.


Tell-Your-Fortune Cake with Chocolate Graham Cracker topping.  The cake is great, but a little dry.  I'd recommend having cream cheese frosting available or throwing in a 1/2 cup of applesauce to the cake mix for moisture.

Hot Spiced Cider

This recipe comes from the Bureau of Home Economics from 1940. I’ve adjusted the recipe for a larger party.

1 gallon Apple Cider
1 cup Sugar
4 Cinnamon Stick
12-24 Whole Cloves
24 Whole Allspice
1/2 tsp Salt

1. In a pot on the stove, add the apple cider and sugar. Turn the stove on med-high.
2. Cut each cinnamon stick into 8 pieces. Add the cinnamon stick pieces, cloves, allspice, and salt to the pot. Let this come to a boil.
3. Once the pot boils, turn off the heat and remove the whole spices. Let this set up for an hour.
4. Heat this on the stove again before serving. It should be hot.

NOTE: The Bureau of Home Economics suggests serving this with doughnuts.


Popcorn Balls

This is a recipe direct from 1944. This is a Halloween classic!

1-1/2 cups Sugar
1 cup Water
2 TBSP Vinegar
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Vanilla
4 cups Popcorn
2 cups Nuts (peanuts, pecans, etc)

1. In a pot, mix the sugar, water, vinegar, and salt together. Boil these until the mixture reaches 250F/121.1C, or until the syrup hardens when you drop in a few drops of cold water.
2. Once you’ve reached the proper temperature, add in your vanilla.
3. Have your nuts and popcorn in a large bowl, then add in your syrup. Quickly mix these all together with a big spoon.
4. Let the mixture cool enough so you can handle it. Grease your hands with butter or lard and form the mixture into balls. Let them dry on waxed paper.


Libby’s Original Pumpkin Pie

This recipe comes to you direct from 1950. It’s still printed on the cans of Libby’s Canned Pumpkin and it’s the recipe my family always uses.

3/4 cups Sugar
1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Ground Ginger
1/4 tsp Ground Cloves
2 large Eggs
1 can LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin (15 oz)
1 can NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk (12 fl oz)
1 unbaked 9-inch deep-dish pie shell

1. In a bowl, mix the sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger, and cloves together.
2. Add the eggs to the mixture and beat.
3. Stir in the pumpkin.
4. Gradually stir in the evaporated milk.
5. Pour pumpkin pie mixture into the pie shell.
6. Bake in preheated oven at 425F for 15 minutes.
7. Reduce heat to 350F and bake for 40-50 minutes. Test with a knife, after inserting it into the pie it should come out clean.
8. Let the pie cool for 2 hours and serve.


Deviled Eggs

This is a Betty Crocker recipe from the 1950s. Deviled eggs are always a great appetizer and when it comes to Halloween, food with the word “Deviled” in it is always a plus. This is incredibly easy and fast to make.

6 Eggs, hard-cooked and peeled
3 TBSP Mayonaise or Salad Dressing
1/2 tsp Ground Mustard
1/8 tsp Salt
1/8 tsp Pepper

1. Cut eggs lengthwise in half. Slip out yolks and mash with fork.
2. Stir in mayonnaise, mustard, salt and pepper. Fill whites with egg yolk mixture, heaping it lightly. Cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours.


Pigs in a Blanket

In 1956, pigs in a blanket was a Halloween party food according to Betty Crocker. They’re easy to eat and easy to make.

2 cups Bisquick Mix
1/2 cup Water
12 Frankfurters

1. Preheat oven to 425F.
2. In a bowl, mix the bisquick mix and water. Gently smooth dough into a ball on floured cloth-covered board. Knead 5 times. Roll dough with lightly floured stockinet-covered rolling pin into square, 12×12 inches.
3. Cut square into 12 equal rectangles by cutting into 4 long strips, then cutting each strip crosswise into rectangles, 4×3 inches.
4. Wrap each rectangle of dough around 1 frankfurter.
5. Pinch edge of rectangle into dough to seal. Place on ungreased baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes. Serve hot with catsup.


If you’re so inclined to have a selection of candy used in the 1940s or 1950s for Halloween, here’s what you should know: in the 1940s there was a sugar shortage due to WWII and typically nuts, cookies, and popcorn were passed out. Candy corn, made with honey, and jelly beans were also passed out as sweets to trick or treaters. By the 1950s, sugar was back on the shelves and the list of trick or treat candy had grown long. According to the Washington Post, these were quite popular: Goeltiz Candy Corn, Brachs Harvest Jelly Beans, Brach's Harvest Panned Mix, Hershey's Kisses, Hershey's Miniatures, Butter Cream Pumpkins (pound bulk), Fleers Double Bubble Gum, Pure Sugar Apples, Jordan Almonds, Goetzes Caramel Creams, Reed's Buterscotch Squares, Midgee Tootsie Rolls, Starlight Kisses, Roasted Peanuts in Shell, Tootsie Roll Handi Pak, Chocolate Bridge Mixture, Spiced Jelly Drops, Chocolate Nonpareils, and Fireside Marshmallows.



Bibliography

Classic Deviled Eggs. Betty Crocker Recipes. 2014: General Mills.

Halloween Treats. US Dept. of Agriculture. Washington DC, 1945: United States Department of Agriculture, Office of Information, Radio Service.

Hallowe’en Snacks. US Dept. of Agriculture. Washington DC, 1944: United States Department of Agriculture, Office of Information, Radio Service.

Hints For Halloween. US Dept. of Agriculture. Washington DC, 1940: United States Department of Agriculture, Office of Information, Radio Service.

Libby’s Pumpkin Pie Original Recipe from 1950. Libby’s Pumpkin Pie. 2013: Nestle Food.
http://libbyspumpkinpie.com/libbys-pumpkin-pie-original-recipe-1950/

Pigs in A Blanket. Betty Crocker's Picture Cook Book, revised and enlarged second edition. New York, 1956: McGraw-Hill Book Company:New York.

“Trick or Treat Candies.” Washington Post. October 28, 1951 (p. M7)

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