Seven-Layer Rainbow Loaf

Ahoy, Kool-Aid enthusiasts!  This week at the Cooking with Kool-Aid Project we dive into Kool-Aid Comes of Age to try a recipe from the Easy and Elegant Desserts section that is neither easy nor elegant.  It’s Seven-Layer Rainbow Loaf, a layered treat involving Kool-Aid, applesauce, graham crackers, and Dream Whip.  It’s my first loaf, guys!

First off, the words elegant and loaf have never been used so close to one another before.  As a rule, a loaf of any kind is not elegant.  This dessert certainly proves that rule.

Secondly, the authors of this book love to throw the word rainbow around even if it means you are only using one or two flavors of Kool-Aid.  Layered does not equal rainbow.

Thirdly, I do not know what this is.  Everything I’ve made since beginning this project has been based in food reality.  I’ve made drinks, pudding, and a pie.  I’ve used Kool-Aid as an agent to bring color and flavor to another food like cranberry sauce.  But I have never heard of the applesauce and graham cracker thing.  Do apples and graham crackers go together?  Is this a normal combination?  Have I missed out on a childhood classic? A few internet sites tell me it is a thing, so I guess I must capitulate.  Still doesn’t seem all that enticing flavorwise.

It also doesn’t work on a structural level.  Applesauce is wet.  Graham crackers are porous.  After a few minutes, I was left with a mound of multicolored mush covered in whipped cream substitute.  I picture my loaves having a little more backbone, but what do I know?  This is my first loaf after all.

One thing I do love about this dessert is the fact that’s it’s covered in Dream Whip.  Covering anything in whipped cream seems delightfully retro to me.  No one makes desserts like this anymore.  Every time I see a dessert slathered with whipped cream in a vintage cookbook, I always think it looks awesome, and hilarious.  Sadly, there is not photo of this dessert in Kool-Aid Comes of Age.  As with the Rainbow Ribbon Parfait, this makes me suspect that no one actually made this thing before putting it down on paper.

But enough of my pontificating.  How does it taste?  Not terrible.  The orange Kool-Aid dominates the strawberry completely, and then joins forces with the Dream Whip.  In the end it tastes a bit like an orange creamsicle.  With graham crackers.  All mashed into it.  Like you do.

Also, as the weeks progress, I am constantly surprised at how much sugar the authors of this book were able to cram into each recipe.  Case in point.  Not only does this recipe call for one entire cup of sugar-sweetened Kool-Aid, it also makes use of graham crackers, and applesauce, and Dream Whip. All products with pretty decent sugar contents, but then they ask that you toss in three tablespoons of confectioners’ sugar into the Dream Whip!  Why?!  What is happening?!  Three tablespoons of sugar?!  Just because?!  That’s lunacy.

All totaled, and if my calculations are correct, one Seven-Layer Rainbow Loaf contains 277 grams of sugar!  That’s 106 Hershey Kisses.  Or ten Snickers bars.  And I even used applesauce that had no additional sugar added!  It is overwhelmingly sweet.

What was happening in the 70s, you guys?  I know there was white powder everywhere, but I always assumed that was cocaine.  Perhaps I was incorrect.  Maybe it was just sugar.  Lots and lots of sugar.  Just like this loaf.  This elegant, elegant loaf.

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Double Berry Sauce

I went to the Food and Wine Festival at Epcot last weekend.  Ocean Spray has a big presence at the event this year.  They’ve set up a cranberry bog toward the front of the park complete with jovial employees sloshing around in waders.  I think they’re trying to get the word out that you can buy cranberries all year round.  (Not getting The Cranberries to play during the festival’s concert series seems like a wasted opportunity.)

Ocean Spray is targeting people like me.  While I know cranberries are available all the time, I still only buy them the week before Thanksgiving and then the week before Christmas.  Which is dumb because I LOVE cranberries.  Cranberry sauce is the highlight of the eating holidays for me.  I’ve taken it upon myself in my adult years to be my family’s official cranberry maker due to an overabundance of the canned gelatinous cylinders during years past.

So this seemed like a good time to try the Double Berry Sauce recipe from the Stir-ins and Pour-Ons section of the book.  As with all of the other very simple recipes-that-are-barely-recipes in this section, Double Berry Sauce requires the depositing of some sugar-sweetened Kool-Aid into some other food product.  In this case, I dumped some Strawberry Kool-Aid into a can of whole cranberries.

The result is an affront to the pure beauty that is the taste of cranberry sauce.  The Strawberry Kool-Aid completely takes over the show.  It covers of the flavor and wonderful tartness of the cranberries and leaves nothing behind but a familiar texture.

And IT IS INCREDIBLY SWEET!  A normal, unmodified can of this cranberry sauce has well over 100 grams of sugar in it.  When you add FIVE TABLESPOONS of sugar sweetened Kool-Aid to the mix, the sweetness level becomes just absurd.  It’s shudder inducing.  Reducing the Kool-Aid by at least half would be a huge improvement, as would forgoing the sugar-sweetened stuff completely and opting for a few dashes from a regular unsweetened envelope.

The only reason you should be serving this Double Berry Sauce at any family holiday event is if you are a human who has been adopted into a family of hummingbirds.  And how many of us can claim that distinction?  Like 10%?  At most.

Happy holidays!  Eventually.