Hello, All! Welcome to this week’s Mid-Century Menu.  I have kind of a sweet tooth this week, so I thought this would be a good chance to bake from one of my more interesting cook book finds, Mail Box News, a baking and cake decorating monthly newsletter from Maid of ScandinaviaMail Box News was started in 1956 as a monthly newsletter designed to answer the many questions customers had about Maid of Scandinavia products, and continues to this day as a monthly magazine.  It has undergone some changes, and is now published by the same people who do American Cake Decorating Magazine, as Maid of Scandinavia has since gone out of business.

This issue of Mail Box News is from January 1968, and I must say this was a really great publication, especially for housewives interested in cake decorating. It had tons of tested recipes, reader tips and featured cakes made by professional bakers and regular housewives. I have been dying to try some of the recipes in this issue, especially the recipe for East End Bars.

Interesting.  They kind of remind me of Magic Cookie Bars, but they have frosting made with instant pudding mix?  Sign me up!

Thanks to my mom for the giant, gorgeous bag of fancy pecan halves that you gave me.  I crushed some up to go into this recipe.  A waste, I know, but I still appreciate it!

The first ingredients in my “double boiler”, which is just a metal bowl over a saucepan. Not classy, but effective.

The ingredients, all melted and whisked together.  Now, I kept waiting for it to become custard consistency, but it bypassed custard and went straight to…

Curled. Eeeesh. Oh well, I poured it over the other ingredients and used it anyway!

See?  Everything is fine.  Can’t even tell the difference.

The bar base, pressed into the pan.

The ingredients for the frosting, getting ready to be mixed.  And then….

They got mixed! Surprise!  I know, not really.  Nothing too special here.  It just looks like regular frosting.

The chocolate chips and butter getting ready to be microwaved.  Aren’t the swirled chips pretty??  I had some left so I decided to use them up instead opening a new bag of straight semi-sweet chips.

The pudding frosting, spread over the base.

The melted chips and butter.

Ooooookay. So, this looks crappy, but give me a break, ok?  The chips started solidifiying as soon as they hit the cold frosting.  I suppose it is better than everything melting, right? Right?  Ah, screw it.

Tom’s first bite! 

He looks a little concerned. 

“What do they taste like?”

He chewed for a bit.  “Grainy.  The frosting stuff is really grainy.  But the bottom part is good.”

I took a bite.  The top “frosting” was really grainy, but other than that it was pretty good. Rich, but good.

The Verdict: Good. Very rich, so cut them small.  If I was going to make them again, I would beat the butter and powdered sugar together, and dissolve the pudding mix in the milk and beat the whole thing for a long time in an electric mixer to get rid of the grainyness.

**Verdict UPDATE!  These bars have been upgraded from good to completely awesome after 24 hours of refridgeration.  Tom ate three in one sitting and would have eaten more if I hadn’t taken them away from him.  The grainyness in the filling goes away and the base tastes even better!  Definitely recommended!

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