Frosted Cranberry Squares, 1965 – Vintage Thanksgiving Recipe Re-Run

Posted on Nov 2 2016 - 3:31am by RetroRuth

It’s coming up on turkey time, so it’s time to bust out the vintage recipes! I am re-running my most favorite vintage Thanksgiving recipes this month, you lucky readers. It’s very exciting! And we are going to start it off with some gelatin. Because of course we are. This is a very highly-requested recipe in our house, mostly because Tom can never get enough cranberry. Enjoy!

Who is ready for some fluffy topping?


These are Frosted Cranberry Squares!

Frosted Cranberry Squares001

5.0 from 2 reviews
Frosted Cranberry Squares
Serves: 9
  • 1-13.5 oz can (1⅔ cups) crushed pineapple
  • 2 small (3 oz) or 1 large (6 oz) package of lemon-flavored gelatin
  • 1-7 oz bottle (about 1 cup) ginger ale
  • 1-1lb can (2 cups) jellied cranberry sauce
  • 1-2 oz package dessert topping mix (*Ruth Notes: Use 1 envelope Dream Whip or one tub of Cool Whip)
  • 1 8oz package of cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  1. Drain pineapple, reserving syrup. Add water to syrup to make 1 cup; heat until mixture is boiling. Dissolve gelatin in hot liquid; cool. Gently stir in ginger ale; chill until partially set.
  2. Meanwhile, blend drained pineapple and cranberry sauce; fold into gelatin mixture. Turn into 9x9x2 inch dish (*Ruth Notes: I used an 11x7 dish); chill till firm.
  3. Prepare dessert topping according to package directions. Fold in cream cheese; spread over set gelatin.
  4. Toast pecans in 1 T of butter or margarine in moderate oven (350 degrees) about 10 mins; sprinkle over top of salad. Chill.

These are doubly appropriate for us, since we are from Michigan and the recipes author, Mrs. Lorry L. Mudge, was from The D!


It isn’t Thanksgiving without cranberry sauce shaped like a can!


Especially at our house. Tom loves cranberry sauce. Loves it! So I usually make a giant, towering, shuddering cranberry gelatin mold every Thanksgiving. Normally I serve canned sauce along with a homemade one.  I just buy fresh cranberries, cook them down and add them to some raspberry gelatin or plain gelatin and then go to town with apples and oranges, so I thought this would be a fun change because it has lemon and pineapple in it.

And, you know, cream cheese. Because cream cheese.


Not attractive!

But that’s okay, because these get frosted with a lovely poof of white.


Wait…that’s too much poof.

So, I think I might have made too much topping for this. The recipe calls for a 2 ounce package of dessert topping, and a box of Dream Whip mix weighs 2.4 ounces and holds two envelopes of topping mix. I tried to be accurate to the weight measurement and so I made both envelopes, but I don’t think you need them.

I was scraping off topping when Tom caught me.

“Wait, what are you doing?”

“This is too much topping.”

“What!?! It’s just fine!”

“It doesn’t need this much.”

“It ALWAYS needs that much.”


It’s too much.

Also, if you are planning on making this for Thanksgiving, make it the night before. The piece above I cut four hours after I made it.


This piece was cut after it chilled overnight, and it is a big difference!

And I still think there is too much topping, but Tom was very excited.



“This is so good.”

“Ha! Really? I hadn’t noticed.”

“I love cranberry sauce, and this is like cranberry sauce on the next level. It’s like cranberry crack.”

“I don’t think I can use ‘cranberry crack’ as the verdict.”

“Do it.”

The Verdict: Cranberry Crack

From The Tasting Notes –

Excellent. The cranberry gelatin is good even on its own. It’s sweet, flavorful and the ginger ale gives it a little bubbly kick at the end that was really fun. But with the topping??? It was over the top good. Even the crunchy nuts on top added a great texture. It went straight past dinner and into the dessert category. Plop a piece of pumpkin pie on top of this and people won’t even care about eating the turkey.

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I love everything retro, vintage, mid-century, kitsch and all things atomic! A 21st century housewife just trying to fit the 50's. I have a passion for vintage recipes and an enormous vintage cookbook collection that I keep testing, even though by now I should know better. Creator of Mid-Century Menu (, No Pattern Required (, and I Ate The 80's (

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9 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. veg-o-matic November 2, 2016 at 2:32 pm - Reply

    They still make Dream Whip? 🙂

    • Lassie November 2, 2016 at 10:00 pm - Reply

      Walmart carries Dream Whip. you could certainly use one of the many flavors of Cool Whip, or Reddi-whip in a can, or of course, real whipped cream.

  2. Charlotte November 2, 2016 at 7:35 pm - Reply

    Just want to say I really enjoy your website. Yours is one of the few that I actually follow. I was wondering if you were planning on doing any more original recipes? These are all of course very good but I do miss the new ones. Just wondering. Thanks!

    • RetroRuth November 3, 2016 at 1:35 pm - Reply

      Yup, finishing up a project in these next couple of weeks, but hopefully should start up again with some new stuff after Thanksgiving!

  3. Lisa B. November 2, 2016 at 10:18 pm - Reply

    I agree with Tom.
    (“It ALWAYS needs that much.”)

  4. Susan November 3, 2016 at 2:59 pm - Reply

    I used to be a pastry sous chef and I am really enjoying your posts featuring pre/during/post-war recipes. It ceases to amaze me how creative people were with limited ingredients.

    I have my grandmother’s war ration card and ration stamps or whatever they are called. I also have my mom’s cookbooks from the 1940s and 50s.

    Most of my Nonna and mom’s recipes from that time call for Spry. (I think that’s how it’s spelled) instead of butter, no doubt due to food rationing back then.

    I’m half tempted to send these books to you seeing as I doubt I will ever make anything from them.


  5. Becky December 25, 2016 at 8:22 am - Reply

    When it’s says desolve the gelatin in hot liquid does it mean to put the gelatin in the boiling water with the pineapple juice and water or desolve it separately?

    • RetroRuth December 28, 2016 at 3:26 pm - Reply

      It means put it in with the pineapple syrup/water mixture. Hope it turned out for you!

  6. Therese October 21, 2017 at 7:46 pm - Reply

    My Mom has been making this for thanksgiving as long as I can remember. I make it now and usually she and I are the only ones who eat it because my in-laws don’t like it. But it wouldn’t be thanksgiving with out it! Loving your website!!

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