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Harry and David's Fruit Cake Confection

From: sharon 
Sent: Sunday, December 23, 2012 10:08 AM
Subject: recipe hunt?

First, let me say, I did read where you said you no longer look for fruitcake recipes - 
I call this fruitcake, but what it is called by Harry and David is: Fruitcake Confection.

I am looking for the recipe to Harry and David's Fruitcake Confection. They now keep it 
under lock and key, but the recipe was bought from some candy ? company on the west coast 
that made it as a side item to sell. The original maker (and candy co owner) was a WWII 
vet who found a recipe for a winning fruitcake published in a west coast newspaper around 
the late 40s maybe early 50s. He tweaked it. It was his children who sold the recipe to 
Harry and David.

I've found at least 3 recipes I've tweaked myself, but just can't break the secret out. 
The confection is: real pineapple chunks, real cherries, pecans with just enough batter to 
hold them altogether!  (and, I mean, I don't think there's a cup + of batter holding these 
ingredients together). No booze, no spiced flavors, but tastes very buttery and maybe rum 
like? Definitely not fruitcake at all, rely a confection! I got one, once as a gift, and 
sat and ate half of it trying to figure out the batter!! 

Thank you for any help you can give me, and if you find anything like it you will fall in 
LOVE with it! 
everso, sharon 

Hello Sharon,

The product of which you speak is here: Harry and David

There is an article that discusses it called "Fruitcake - A Christmas Tradition in Search of Respect" by The Associated Press in the Eugene, Oregon "Register-Guard" - Dec 21, 1997:
Fruitcake - A Christmas Tradition in Search of Respect
"At Harry and David, the fruitcake confection is made with a recipe the brothers bought in 1957 from Tom Clark of California, Inc. The original, written in pencil on hotel stationary, survives in the company's archives. To guard the secret, the brothers would give two halves of the recipe to two different bakers and combine the batches at the end."

Tom Clark’s started out as a popcorn company, founded in 1941 or 1942, the first years of World War Two. Their main products are candy-coated nuts and popcorn. Their website is here: Tom Clark Confections

There is an article about the company here called “Tom Clark Confections - The Family Business Built on a Bedrock of Fruitcake” by Evan Cummings printed in The Los Angeles Times December 13, 1990: The Family Business Built on a Bedrock of Fruitcake

Now, realistically, there’s hardly any way to get the Harry and David’s recipe. They keep it under tight security. Only a high-level Harry and David’s employee would have any access to it. One article even says that no two employees have access to the entire recipe. It’s certainly not on the Internet. There’s an old request for the recipe dated 2005 on the recipelink recipe request board at: recipelink
It’s been 5 years and no one has even responded to her.

Going back a step to Tom Clark Confections, the “Register-Guard” article does indeed say that Harry and David’s bought the recipe from Tom Clark of California. However, any sale would have included the requirement that Tom Clark Confections would keep the recipe secret and never sell it to anyone else. Harry and David’s would have legal rights to the recipe and might be able take legal action if their terms of sale were ever broken.

Finally, back to that “recipe for a winning fruitcake published in a west coast newspaper around the late 40s maybe early 50s”, I didn’t find anything anywhere that stated that’s how Tom Clark got the recipe. I’m not saying it isn’t true, but I didn’t find any mention of it. It might be a rumor. Sharon, even if it is true, the only people who’d know which newspaper and which recipe would be Tom Clark Confections. The old newspaper article isn’t going to say “this recipe is the one that Tom Clark used to create ‘fruit cake confection’ which he later sold to Harry and David’s.” Plus, if it began with an old recipe like that, it was tweaked first by Tom Clark and then tweaked again by Harry and David’s, and it wouldn’t necessarily be very close to what Harry and David’s sells now.

Your best choice, and probably your only choice, is to locate a good “copycat” or “clone” or “tastes-like” recipe. I found this article called "Knockout Knockoffs - Cloned from Catalogs" by Jane Snow of Knight-Ridder Newspapers printed in "The News" - DelRay Beach, Florida - Dec 21, 1995: Knockout Knockoffs - Cloned from Catalogs "Toffee-Topped Fruit Cake is a clone of Harry and David's Fruit Cake Confection, a big seller that was a prize winner in a European gourmet foods show. The catalog blurb says, 'Harry and David's original creation is such a well guarded secret, no single person has access to the entire recipe.'"

The recipe for “Toffee-Topped Fruit Cake”, their clone for the Harry and David’s product, is printed in that article. Google’s newspaper archives are scans in graphic format, which makes them very difficult to print unless one knows what he is doing, so I have transcribed the recipe for you below, to assist you in printing it out. All the right ingredients are there. If you think it is too “cakey”, reduce the amount of the cake part that you use or increase the fruit or syrup. Tweak it, if need be, until it’s close to what you want. This is probably the best you’re going to do with this recipe search. I hope that you haven’t already tried this recipe. You didn’t say which recipes you have actually tried.


Toffee-Topped Fruit Cake
(Makes three cakes)

3/4 pound walnut halves
3/4 pound pecan halves
1 pound candied red cherries
1 pound candied pineapple chucks
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 eggs

Toffee Syrup:
1 cup sugar
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons water

For the cakes: In a large bowl, stir together the walnuts, pecans, cherries, 
and pineapple. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, and 
baking powder until mixed well. Pour the flour mixture over the fruit and 
nuts and stir to coat evenly. Beat the eggs until frothy and pour over the 
fruits and nuts. Mix well with hands. Generously butter three 8-inch round 
cake pans. By hand, press the fruit mixture into the pans. Bake at 350 degrees 
for 40 minutes, until cakes just begin to brown. Cool for 10 minutes, then 
remove from pans.

For the toffee syrup: While cakes are cooling, combine toffee ingredients in 
a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat until the sugar has 
dissolved, about 10 minutes, Boil without stirring until the mixture reaches 
the soft-crack stage, 290 degrees on a candy thermometer. Remove toffee syrup 
from heat. Working quickly, drizzle over the three fruit cakes. Let stand until 
firm. Wrap tightly to store. 

thank you so very much for trying! I actually think this may be the best one yet, I didn't 
try to make a toffee syrup for it, and it does have a rummy/toffee smell/aftertaste! 
Also, the amts of sugar and flour are really in line w/ almost no batter! Somewhere in my 
computer I have a copy of a winning fruitcake recipe from a west coast paper from around
'47/48? Maybe, its old and it's a scanned copy cut out of a paper. It wasn't right either - 
too much spice and dried fruits, but it did have some real fruit too! I found it thru an 
old recipe site, or, or in one of those articles you mentioned - I've read 
thru them also, in my hunt. 
I've got down to a fruitcake made w/ real fruits (just cherries, pineapple and dried apricots 
soaked in rum. My guys like it enough I've made 6 so far this yr - but, alas, I think its 
because I soak the suckers in a mix of rum/brandy/amaretto/ butter shots!!


Karo White Fudge

From: Linda 
Sent: Sunday, December 23, 2012 2:45 PM
Subject: 5-pound fudge

My name is Linda from Martinsburg WV. When I was young, I had a recipe 
for delicious white candy called Five-Pound Fudge. 
It contained a whole bottle of Karo white syrup and took forever to
 stir using mixer and then by hand. I have somehow lost the recipe and 
all of the people that I knew that made either are "gone" or have lost 
the recipe. Can you help?

Hello Linda,

I cannot find a recipe called “five pound fudge” that calls for a whole bottle of karo syrup and that does not contain chocolate or cocoa. I have several recipes on my site with that name, but they all contain chocolate or cocoa. The only white fudge recipe that I can find that calls for a whole bottle of karo white syrup is the one on this page: Frugal HomeKeeping
It’s called “Aunt Vivian's White Christmas Fudge”. See below.


Aunt Vivian's White Christmas Fudge

1 bottle clear Karo Syrup
5 3/4 C sugar
1 lb. unsalted butter
1 large can Pet Evaporated Milk
1 lb. chopped nuts

Put all ingredients except the nuts in a heavy pan. Cook, stirring frequently, 
to soft-ball stage on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat and beat with an 
electric mixer until it starts to gather around the beaters. Mix in chopped 
nuts and pour into greased pans. Let it set up; cut into squares. 
Prep time: 2 1/2-3 hrs.  

Old Spaghetti Recipe with Bacon

From: Bea 
Sent: Saturday, December 22, 2012 12:10 PM
Subject: Searching For An Very Old Spaghetti Recipe

Hi Uncle Phaedrus,

I am looking for the recipe for the spaghetti we used to eat at home when I was 
growing up. I am 73 yrs old now, so this is going way back. 
My father's side of the family is German, my mother's side Swedish, so I do not 
know if the recipe is of either origin or not. The ingredients as near as I can 
remember are ground beef, diced bacon, tomato sauce, green peppers, onions and I 
don't know what spices other than salt and pepper. 
I think it had garlic in it, but I'm not sure. They used to call it yakkiman, but 
I don't know the correct spelling. This was so delicious and I have never been able 
to find this recipe. I really miss having it. Any help you could give me would be 
so appreciated.
Thanks so much and have a Merry Christmas!

Hi Beatrice,

Well, I had mixed results. I looked for “yakkiman”, but I could not find anything with a name similar to that. Need the exact spelling. I found multiple recipes for both “Swedish spaghetti” and “German spaghetti”, but I didn’t find any recipe from either country with exactly the ingredients hat you give. Bacon is popular with German spaghetti, but not both bacon and ground beef, usually one or the other. I found German recipes where the ground beef was browned in bacon drippings to give it extra flavor, but no actual bacon was included in the sauce. Green peppers were also rare in spaghetti sauces from these two countries. The closest recipe that I found to your description was an Italian spaghetti recipe. See below.


Italian Spaghetti 

l/2 lb. ground beef 
l/2 lb. bacon 
2 onions
1 green pepper
3 or 4 pieces celery(tops,too)
2 cans tomato paste
1 can tomato sauce
Salt & pepper to taste

Fry bacon slowly until crisp, then place it on an absorbent paper towel. Brown beef 
in bacon grease. Add onions,celery, and green pepper which have all been chopped fine. 
Break the crisp bacon and add it. Then add the tomato paste, sauce and water. Cover and 
let cook slowly for about one hour. Serve over thin spaghetti and sprinkle with grated cheese. 
Serves 6.  
Thank you so much for your rapid reply. I think this might be very close 
to my family's recipe and am so excited to try it. I will let you know how 
it works out. Your website and the service you provide is awesome. 
I appreciate your help so much. 
Merry Christmas!

New Jersey Italian Hot dogs

From: Timm
Subject: Johnny & Hanges
Date: Thursday, December 20, 2012 4:06 PM

The Johnny & Hanges dogs are popular but there another "Jersey Dog" that I prefer. 

New Jersey Italian Hot Dog 


1/4 cup olive oil 
Kosher salt 
2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks 
2 medium size green peppers, sliced into strips 
1 large yellow or white onion, sliced into strips 
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning or a mixture of oregano, basil and rosemary 
8 beef hot dogs, preferably with natural casings 
4 hoagie rolls 
Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan or skillet or griddle until it shimmers. 
Place the potatoes in the pan in one layer and fry on medium-high heat for 2 to 3 
minutes without touching them. Use a metal spatula to scrape the potatoes off the 
bottom of the skillet, flipping them. Sprinkle salt over the potatoes and cook for 
another 2 to 3 minutes without touching them. 

Remove the potatoes, which should be partially browned, to a bowl and set aside. 
Turn the heat to high and add the peppers and onions. Arrange evenly in the pan 
and cook for 2 to 3 minutes without touching them. Sprinkle salt over the potatoes 
and then flip and cook for another 2-3 minutes untouched. There should be some 
browned and even blackened bits here and there. Add the Italian seasoning and the 
potatoes to the pan, stir to combine and cook over medium-high heat until they are 
soft and nicely browned, about 8 to 10 minutes. 

Heat a grill or a frying pan to cook your hot dogs; don't boil your dogs for this 
recipe. Grill or fry until they are done to your liking and set aside. 
Liberally smear mustard on both sides of the sandwich roll. Add two hot dogs per 
roll and top with as much of the potatoes, peppers and onions as will fit. 

Note: The recipe calls for hoagie rolls but I prefer to use  Mexican style Bolillo rolls. 

Timm in Oregon 

Hot dogs with potatoes sounds tasty...

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