Sunday, January 23, 2011

Guest Post #8 - Time For Dessert!

When my Twitter pal Carrie asked for a Retro WW dessert recipe for her guest post challenge, I was thrilled. Up 'til now, no one had been brave enough to attempt a dessert. And, trust me, this one is worth the wait. Are you scared? You should be. But we WILL get through this. So pour yourself a cuppa joe, grab a Xanax and enjoy Carrie's "Brownies"...

This dessert was a classic WW attempt at making gelatin and some other random ingredients into "food." Therefore, I thought it deserved a classic WW-style photo — hence, the random props.

Chocolate "Brownie" Dessert (1974)
2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup cold water
3/4 cup boiling water
1 1/3 cup non fat dry milk
artificial sweetener equal to 1 cup sugar
2 tbsp chocolate extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
red & green food coloring

Sprinkle gelatin over cold water in blender container to soften. Add boiling water; process at medium speed until dissolved. Add remaining ingredients, except food coloring; process at high speed to blend. Pour into an 8x8 square pan. Chill uncovered until firmly set. Makes 4 servings (although, we stretched it to 6). At 4 servings it’s 4 PP per serving; 6 servings makes it 3 points.

I had about half the ingredients in my pantry, and most of the others were easy enough to find, but I will warn anyone attempting this recipe that chocolate extract is not readily available. I had to hit a health food store in my community to locate some. Also, do not make this in a glass pan. The bottom gets quite shiny and unappetizing. I would also recommend not attempting this particular recipe at all. Ever.

I’m going to wager a guess that working with gelatin is akin to working in certain types of clay. There’s an art to it that I’m certainly not looking to master. One of the joys of this particular recipe was the realization that gelatin foams … a lot.

Also, I am going to go out on a limb here and guess that Weight Watchers members in the ‘70s resigned themselves to the fact that their food was going to look horrifying. Personally, I couldn’t get past the gelatinous gray goo that looked something like the beverage Luke Skywalker drinks at the beginning of the original Star Wars movie. I’ve always wondered what that was; now I know.

And yes, I said it was gray. Trust me, I tried for brown by mixing my red and green food coloring (incidentally, the recipe never said when to add the food coloring, so I guessed). It just started turning this putrid shade of lavender, and I admit, I ultimately gave up. After it set, it did darken up a bit, but as you can see from the pictures, it’s definitely not the rich shade of brown one would expect from traditional brownies. I’m guessing this is the reason it was dubbed “brownie” dessert.

All in all, the mixture itself tasted fine — like sugar-free chocolate typically does. But the texture of the fully set product was abysmal. I got through one bite of it, took a second, and had to spit it out. My husband ate the remainder. Then again, he eats week-old, cold Chinese food mixed with mustard and salad dressing without batting an eye. He also renamed the concoction “gray matter.” But bless his heart, he is always appreciative of my efforts: “You’re a provider, honey — meat, beans and gray matter!” (I had served it with barbecue chicken and baked beans.)

It was an adventure, to say the least.

Speaking of adventures, I’m working on blogging more regularly, and I’m currently a Tumblr addict.

If you’re looking for a few laughs with a heaping side of judgment:

If you’re looking for heart-felt reflections on a quest to start a family:

Or just follow my random, stream of consciousness on Twitter @carriepack.


Anonymous said...

Hi Mimi and Carrie. Carrie, your husband in indeed a brave soul!!! Hats off to you for trying the "Brownies" and for him eating them. Laughed at the name "grey matter". Have a great week, steer clear of those bouncey brownies!!

Debra919 said...


I just wanted to say that I was on Weight Watchers in 1972. I do remember the cookbook (mine had a picture of Jean Neidetch (sp?) "before" and "after" on the back of the dustcover.

Anyway, the 2 recipes I remember most were "spaghetti" (notice how everything in that cookbook has quotation marks!) made with BEAN SPROUTS and tomato sauce boiled ad infinitum. It was not and never will be spaghetti. "Spaghetti" maybe, but never the real thing.

The other recipe was a tuna bake. I just remember it was tuna, breadcrumbs, lemon, some celery and stuff. Not bad, but I was comparing it to the "spaghetti".

Thanks for the memories!

Debra in MD

Fizz said...

I have just found your blog and have started reading at the beginning of 2011.

This particular one is funny for me on several levels. First, my mom actually made this once. It didn't go over very well.

Second, I was very sick once as a child and had the "scoots". Mom had me drink Knox Gelatin to try to solve the problem. I went thru 4 boxes before she finally gave up. And, I'll never eat Jello or gelatin again... not willingly anyway...

Thanks for bringing back that horrid memory!! :-D