10 “Favorite” Dessert Recipes Shared by Newspaper Readers of the Past

Newspapers have been a hub for sharing recipes for well over a century. Today, if we find a recipe we love, we might share it through social media; but in decades past, people often shared their favorites in the newspaper!

07 Nov 1948, Sun Evansville Press (Evansville, Indiana) Newspapers.com

We used Newspapers.com™ to find dessert recipes that home cooks submitted to newspapers as their “favorites.” Here are 10 of them, though we discovered many, many more! Check them out—and maybe even give them a try!

Read more: 7 Helpful Hints for Making Vintage Recipes

(We’ve transcribed the newspaper recipes below to make them easier to follow. Click on any image to see the original recipe on Newspapers.com™.)

1. Crazy Cake (1955)

Recipe: Crazy Cake (1955)Recipe: Crazy Cake (1955) 09 Jun 1955, Thu The Gazette (Grand Forks, British Columbia, Canada) Newspapers.com


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup cocoa
  • ½ cup shortening
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • ½ cup boiling water


  1. Put all ingredients in a bowl in order but do not mix until boiling water is added. Then beat for three minutes.
  2. Put in a nine-inch greased pan and bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes or until done.

2. Banana Drop Cookies (1952)

Recipe: Banana Drop Cookies (1952)Recipe: Banana Drop Cookies (1952) 31 Jan 1952, Thu The New Haven Leader (New Haven, Missouri) Newspapers.com


  • ¾ cup shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup mashed bananas
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • ½ tsp soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ¾ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup oatmeal (uncooked)
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts


  1. Blend shortening and sugar until creamy. Stir in bananas, then add egg and vanilla.
  2. Sift dry ingredients together and add to mixture.
  3. Blend in oatmeal and chopped nuts.
  4. Drop from a teaspoon on greased cookie sheet. Bake about 12 minutes in hot (400 degree) oven.

3. Boiled Cookies (1968)

Recipe: Boiled Cookies (1968)Recipe: Boiled Cookies (1968) 05 Jun 1968, Wed Honolulu Star-Bulletin (Honolulu, Hawaii) Newspapers.com


  • ¼ lb butter or margarine
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ½ cup cocoa
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 cups quick uncooked oats
  • ½ cup nut meats or coconut, if desired


  1. Bring to a rolling boil the butter, sugar, cocoa and milk, and then remove from heat. Stir in the remaining ingredients.
  2. Drop on waxed paper and serve.

4. Ginger Shortbread (1964)

Recipe: Ginger Shortbread (1964)Recipe: Ginger Shortbread (1964) 23 Apr 1964, Thu Cornish Guardian (Bodmin, Cornwall, England) Newspapers.com


  • ½ lb plain flour
  • ¼ lb corn flour
  • ¼ lb castor sugar
  • ½ lb butter
  • 2 ounces of crystalised ginger cut into small pieces


  1. Sieve the flours together and add the sugar.
  2. Cut the butter into little pieces and rub into the flours. Knead well to smooth paste.
  3. Knead in the chopped ginger.
  4. Roll out to about half an inch thick and press into a shallow sponge roll tin. You may find it necessary to press into the tin and smooth out.
  5. Bake in a moderate oven [approx. 350–375 degrees Fahrenheit] until golden brown.
  6. Cut into finger slices and leave in the tin until cool and crisp. A secret of successful biscuit making is to leave in or on the tin until quite cold.

5. Unbaked Brownies (1940)

Recipe: Unbaked Brownies (1940)Recipe: Unbaked Brownies (1940) 15 Oct 1940, Tue The Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) Newspapers.com


  • 2 squares (2 ounces) unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 1/3 cups sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 cups vanilla wafer crumbs, about 1/3 pound
  • 1 cup finely chopped walnut meats


  1. Melt the chocolate in double boiler. Add condensed milk, stirring over water 5 minutes until mixture thickens.
  2. Add vanilla wafer crumbs and ½ cup finely chopped nut meats.
  3. Place chocolate mixture in buttered biscuit pan and spread evenly using a knife dipped in hot water. Sprinkle top with remaining chopped nuts.
  4. Place in refrigerator several hours or overnight. To serve cut into squares. Makes 18.

6. Marshmallow Pie (1965)

Recipe: Marshmallow Pie (1965)Recipe: Marshmallow Pie (1965) 17 Nov 1965, Wed Honolulu Star-Bulletin (Honolulu, Hawaii) Newspapers.com


  • 30 graham cracker squares
  • ¼ lb butter
  • 30 marshmallows, regular size
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 pint whipping cream
  • 1 square (1 ounce) bitter baking chocolate


  1. To make graham cracker shells for two small (8-inch) pies, melt butter, and crush graham crackers into crumbs. Blend the butter and crumbs together. Spread and press mixture into pie pans. Place in refrigerator while making filling.
  2. For filling: Melt marshmallows in ½ cup milk slowly, stirring constantly. Cool mixture to room temperature. Grate square of bitter baking chocolate. Whip cream, adding grated chocolate. Fold into cooled marshmallow mixture.
  3. Put into the crumb crusts and chill. Makes two small (8-inch) pies.

7. Karo Nut Pie (1933)

Recipe: Karo Nut Pie (1933)Recipe: Karo Nut Pie (1933) 10 Mar 1933, Fri The Kilgore News Herald (Kilgore, Texas) Newspapers.com


  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 cup white Karo [corn syrup]
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 cup nut meats


  1. Mix ingredients and bake in one crust for 45 minutes.

[Note: This recipe doesn’t specify a baking temperature, but a similar recipe says to bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for first 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 for the remainder of the time.]

8. Pineapple Nuggets (1955)

Recipe: Pineapple Nuggets (1955)Recipe: Pineapple Nuggets (1955) 07 Jul 1955, Thu The Gazette (Grand Forks, British Columbia, Canada) Newspapers.com


  • 16 marshmallows cut small
  • 1 cup crushed pineapple
  • 1 cup heavy cream—whipped  
  • 1/3 cup chopped nuts or cherries
  • 2/3 cup graham wafers


  1. Cut marshmallows small and add to pineapple. Put in refrigerator for ½ hour. Then add whipped cream, and nuts or cherries, and chill again for two hours.
  2. Remove from fridge, form into small balls and roll in graham wafers. Chill until time to serve. This dessert is soft and should be eaten with a spoon.

9. Gooey Baked Apple Buns (1941)

Recipe: Gooey Baked Apple Buns (1941)Recipe: Gooey Baked Apple Buns (1941) 24 Feb 1941, Mon The Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) Newspapers.com


  • 2 cups flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 4 Tbsp shortening
  • ¾ cup milk
  • Well-flavored apple sauce
  • ¼ lb butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water


  1. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Add shortening and mix thoroughly with fork. Add milk slowly to make a soft dough.
  2. Roll or pat out with hands on floured board in oblong sheet ¼-inch thick. Spread generously with applesauce.
  3. Roll as you would a jelly roll and cut into six portions.
  4. Melt butter in deep baking pan. Place portions in pan.
  5. Cook water and sugar together for five minutes and pour while hot over the apple rolls.
  6. Bake in moderate oven [approx. 350–375 degrees Fahrenheit], 45 minutes. Turn out of pan as you would cinnamon buns.

10. Potato Candy (1936)

Recipe: Potato Candy (1936)Recipe: Potato Candy (1936) 03 Mar 1936, Tue Edmonton Journal (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada) Newspapers.com


  • 2 or 3 potatoes, well boiled
  • Powdered sugar
  • Peanut butter


  1. To make potato candy, take two or three potatoes, well boiled. While they are hot, mash them fine with a fork and add powdered sugar (icing sugar) until it is like pastry dough.
  2. Then roll with a rolling pin, very thin, and spread with peanut butter.
  3. Roll as for a jelly-roll cake.
  4. Cut in short pieces. Stand these on end in a buttered platter until firm. This makes very good candy.


Have you tried any of these recipes? Let us know in the comments! Or share your own favorite dessert recipe with us!

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