A blended blend of flavors of refreshing mint and rich mocha took June 2022 honors as the winning recipe in the Cooking with Mint contest last month at our town’s 45th annual Mint Festival in North Judson.
During my judging duties and commentary to the audience seated to observe the proceedings, I explained that not only does the taste of a recipe influence the ranking, but also the memories associated with tastes and aromas, as they confer qualities to influence opinion.
Molly Baker – note that last name – has prepared the winning recipe of 2022 in the youth category by submitting a decadent and delicious chocolate cake with mint and mocha. Alison Fields (just like Mint Fields) was crowned the adult division winner for her recipe for Mint Oreo Cheesecake Bars. Congratulations to this year’s winning duo, both from Knox.
My earliest memory of the flavor of mocha, which is a combination of chocolate coffee, comes from the 1976-1980 TV commercials featuring Broadway legend Carol Lawrence, who is about to celebrate her 90th birthday in September. Lawrence was the brand spokesperson for General Foods International Coffees, a popular instant coffee touted as a special, luxurious alternative to the heavy, bitter everyday brews of yesteryear.
Lawrence hails from Melrose Park, Illinois and is probably best known for her role on Broadway as Maria in “West Side Story.” Her career includes many other memorable Broadway roles including ‘Kiss of the Spider Woman’ and she has performed in national tours of ‘Funny Girl’, ‘The Unsinkable Molly Brown’, ‘The Sound Of Music’, ‘Sweet Charity “, “No, no, Nanette”, “Woman of the Year”, “Sugar Babies” and as the main character of “Auntie Mame”. In May 2001, I interviewed her with her talented son Michael Goulet, from her previous marriage to the late Robert Goulet, when mother and son were in Merrillville to headline our very own Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra at the Star Plaza Theater for a special Mother’s Day concert.
She only smiled and nodded when I reminded her of her TV commercial tenure as the famous name that introduced these gourmet instant coffees to consumers two decades earlier, and described that career footnote simply as “just a job opportunity from that era”.
General Foods International Coffees, now owned by the Maxwell House brand, still exists, but only a few varieties of instant coffee are now sold. General Foods International was established as an independent brand in the early 1970s, but has now been a subdivision of Kraft Foods Corporation since the company was purchased in 1990. When launched, he played Lawrence in magazine advertisements and television commercials promoting the brand. from 1975 to 1980. In television commercials, Lawrence often referred to the fact that she had “just returned from Europe” and this line of instant coffees “reminded her of her recent international travels”.
I still remember our neighbor Harriet Morningstar – whose family raised horses and collies on their farm – serving these flavored instant coffees to my mother during an afternoon visit.
For the decade of the 1980s, a revised sales campaign shifted the focus from luxury and emphasized “daily celebrations”. Lawrence was replaced by a series of new TV commercials and print ads using the coffee jingle theme: “Celebrate the moments of your life” and featuring cuddly couples, candles, falling snow and chimneys in the frame distinct advertising and highlighting a romantic “clinking” mesh. » of cups or mugs to market the tiny metal cans of instant coffee. At the height of the product’s popularity, varieties available included Café Suisse Moka, Café Vienna, French Vanilla Café, Double Dutch Chocolate, Orange Cappuccino, Café Amaretto, Café Francais, and Irish Mocha Mint. . In the summer of 2010, this product line was rebranded as Maxwell House International Cafés.
Young Molly’s Mocha Mint Chocolate Sheet Cake’s winning recipe includes instant coffee granules among the batter ingredients, and the flavorful result is perfect.
Columnist Philip Potempa has published four cookbooks and is the Marketing Director of Theater at the Center. He can be reached at [email protected] or send your questions: From the Farm, PO Box 68, San Pierre, IN 46374.
Makes 16 serving slices
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup half and half
1/2 teaspoon mint extract
Mint Cream Topping:
1 1/3 cup white chocolate chips
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon mint extract
1 cup melted butter
1/4 cup cocoa
6 tablespoons half and half
1/4 teaspoon mint extract
5 cups powdered sugar
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 15-inch by 10.5-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
2. To make cake batter, in a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, salt, and instant coffee. Whisk the butter, half and half, the eggs and the extract.
3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 22-25 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let the cake cool completely.
4. To prepare the mint cream filling, combine all ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl and heat on high for two minutes. Stir to make sure the mixture is smooth and the white chocolate has melted. Pour the filling over the cake and allow the filling to harden and firm slightly before the next step. The filler coat should be “dry to the touch”.
5. For the chocolate glaze, combine all ingredients and whisk until smooth, using a double boiler if necessary. Pour over the mint layer of the cake and spread evenly. Let the cake set at least an hour before serving.