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.

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.

Double Delight

Last time, we entered the Kool-Aid-o-Rama Dome (my new nickname for my kitchen), we froze up a batch of Fruit-Flavored Ice Cubes.  This time, we keep it freezy with some Double Delight from the Kids’ Creations section.

This is easily the most head scratching recipe name in the book.  These are Kool-Aid popsicles.  I don’t understand where the “double” is coming from.   At first I thought it was a reference to the higher concentration of Kool-Aid per volume of water.  Normal sugar-sweetened Kool-Aid is 1.5 tablespoons of Kool-Aid mix per cup of water.  These Double Delights work out to 4 tablespoons of Kool-Aid Mix per cup of water.  Much sweeter to be sure, but not doubly so.  It would be more accurate to call these Two and Two-Thirds Delights.  But I guess that’s not as catchy.

Perhaps if you could get some twin pop molds so you could break them in half after freezing, then you could stick with the Double Delight.  Or if you just recommended eating two at a time.  Or if you mixed flavors.

I still don’t get it.

I went with Strawberry for this recipe, because why wouldn’t I?  It’s a popsicle after all.  And strawberry popsicles are great.

I don’t care who you are, these Kool-Aid Double Delights are darned refreshing.  Not sure if they need to be as sweet as they are, but they are good.  Dare I say delightful?!  I dare.

Pick your favorite flavor and go nuts.  Or double nuts.  You’re an adult, you can do what you want.

Next week we step it up a notch.

Rosy Applesauce

Today’s recipe for rosy Applesauce comes to us from the Stir-Ins and Pour-Ons section of Kool-Aid Comes of Age.  And we did indeed stir something in.

Not a very complex recipe, Rosy Applesauce calls for adding some sugar-sweetened Kool-Aid to applesauce.  I went with Strawberry as it was within the bounds of the “any red flavor” directive.

This recipe was unnecessary.  Applesauce is great.  And preparing this made me realize it’s been a zillion years since I’ve had any.  The two tablespoons of Kool-Aid didn’t really add a whole lot to the overall flavor experience.  The applesauce still came out on top.  What it did do was ramp up the already sweet applesauce to unenjoyable levels.

That could’ve been my fault though.  I guess I should have scouted for some applesauce that was not so sugar heavy.  I didn’t know!  I just grabbed the Mott’s.  It’s a time honored product!  Maybe an unsweetened envelope would’ve worked better.

The presentation left a little to be desired as well.  If they were smart they would’ve said to split the applesauce in half and Kool-Aid up only one of the halves, then mix them together for a cool swirly swirl.  I know!  I’m so good at this!  I should host more dinner parties.

Also, I don’t think this needs to be restricted to any red flavor.  I’m sure other flavors would be just fine.  Those poor suckers didn’t have the bevy of flavors and hues we have now.

Break outta the seventies man!  We’re goin’ to Mars!

Strawberry Cooler

We’ve all had watermelon.  Does any food that’s artificially watermelon-flavored taste anything like watermelons?  No.  Watermelon Bubblicious doesn’t taste like a watermelon.  It tastes like watermelon gum.  When you’re offered a piece of watermelon gum, you know the flavor you’re going to get.   But we accept it as “watermelon” and carry on.  I’m fascinated by this.

It floated to the forefront of my mind this week as I made a Strawberry Cooler.  Strawberry Kool-Aid mixed with some frozen strawberries with a few mint leaves thrown in for good measure.  Unlike the Mint Fruity Surprise, the mint is used here mostly for garnish.  No steeping in boiling water.  Cold all the way.  But that’s fine because who doesn’t love a good garnish?

When you have Strawberry Kool-Aid and an actual strawberry in your mouth at the same time, you really ponder how we have come to accept all these artificial flavors.  It’s quite the accomplishment, food manufacturers.  I begrudgingly tip my hat to you.  Makes me wonder how else I am being reprogrammed.

Overall, a Strawberry Cooler is pretty good.  It’s worlds colliding!  Artificial and Natural teaming up to fight together!  How could it not be good?

Also, this could easily be moved from the Some Like It Cold to the Halloween Party section of the book.  There’s something very mad scientist or maybe vampiric about ragged strawberry carcasses floating about it such an intensely red liquid.  Muahahaha!

Mint Fruity Surprise

Here we go!  History is made today, culinary adventurers!  The first recipe from Kool-Aid Comes of Age for the Cooking with Kool-Aid Project.  I figured I’d start with something easy.  To be fair, they’re all pretty easy.  This is not Modern Cuisine by any stretch.  But still!

This recipe for Mint Fruity Surprise (the recipe names could really use some work) is one of the five recipes from the Some Like It Cold section of the book.

Essentially this is mint-infused Kool-Aid, but the term “infused” didn’t exist in the 70s as it was invented four years ago by hipster chefs the world over.  One cup of the water normally reserved for straight-off-the-package Kool-Aid is used to steep mint leaves, and then everything is mixed together.  I opted for the strawberry preparation because this is the first post and strawberry is a classic.

I didn’t think this was going to be any good.  This was the first time I’ve used mint leaves for anything, and I was a little intimidated by their intensity.  But it tastes pretty good, I must say.  The strawberry is the most noticeable, obviously, but the underlying mint is subtle and a nice complement.  (My mint leaves seemed small, so there may be room to ratchet up the mint’s strength) The balance works, and the drink is pretty crisp and refreshing when served ice cold.

And look at it!  It’s beautiful!  That’s some sexy Kool-Aid all up in your face.

I think that might prove to be a fairly common occurrence.  I’m fascinated by anything that’s artificial and candy-colored.

One recipe down and sixty-two to go.  We’re off to a good start!