Posted by: Erica Retrochef | February 24, 2014

Fruit Filled Chocolate Bars

We have a tendency to make a lot more meal-based retro recipes than desserts — it’s easier to set aside an evening meal every week and do something silly from the mid-century, but remembering to make a dessert from scratch (instead of, say, buying ice cream) is a bigger hurdle somehow. This week, we managed to do it.


4 squares Baker’s Unsweetened Chocolate
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
3 cups sifted flour
2 teaspoons Calumet Baking Powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter or other shortening
1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 egg, unbeaten
2 tablespoons milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Combine chocolate and milk in top of double boiler. Cook over boiling water until blended and thickened, stirring constantly. Add 1/2 cup brown sugar and continue cooking 5 minutes. Cool.

Sift flour once, measure, add baking powder and salt, and sift again. Cream butter thoroughly, add 1 cup brown sugar gradually, and cream together until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat well. Stir in chocolate mixture, milk, and vanilla. Add flour all at once and mix well. Chill overnight or until firm enough to roll. Divide dough in six equal parts. Roll each portion of dough 1/8 inch thick on slightly floured board, into rectangular sheet 4 1/2 x 12 inches. Spread 1/3 cup filling in 1 1/2-inch strip down center of dough. Fold dough over filling, brush edges with milk, and seal. Place seam-side down on ungreased baking sheet and brush with milk. Bake in moderate oven (350° F.) 20 minutes, or until done. Let cool in pan 5 minutes, then cut diagonally in bars, 1 inch wide. Makes 5 1/2 dozen bars.

PINEAPPLE COCONUT FILLING. Mix 3 tablespoons sugar, 2 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch, a dash of salt, and 2 tablespoons canned pineapple juice in top of double boiler. Add 2/3 cup canned crushed pineapple, well drained. Place over boiling water and cook 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice and 2/3 cup flaked coconut. Cool. Makes 1 cup.

(Additional filling ideas are available from a variety of sources — Baker’s Chocolate advertised this a lot, apparently.)


It started off like pretty normal cookie dough. Butter, sugar, egg.


The chocolate mixture was deliciously rich.


The dough was almost the consistency of cake batter — liquid and pourable, rather than the firm cookie texture you need if you’re going to be rolling out dough.


I chilled the batter for two days, partly because I didn’t have time to roll and fill it yet, but also because it just didn’t seem to be getting much harder than it had been when I first put it in the fridge. We rolled/squished it out anyway.


The pineapple and coconut filling renewed my hopes that this would turn out ok. It was fruity and sweet and congealed to a nice, gooey filling-like state right after cooking, so I smeared it on top.


But once I folded the dough around, it started to fall apart. We had to use the fattest spatula in the house to transfer it off the counter onto a baking sheet.


As you can see, that went badly — everything is all torn and malformed.


Baking didn’t improve them. Well, the cookie part got harder (thankfully), but they still looked ridiculous.


It got better once the logs were cut into slices. There were still some weird shapes, but it looked more intentional than not. The kids were all mostly pleased with this, although Buzz and I found them to be surprisingly bland. Fresh pineapple might have “popped” a little bit more, but I had expected these to have a very rich chocolate flavor — which just didn’t follow through, somehow. That plus the dough malfunctions mean this was a nice one-time event, but won’t be tried again.

Recipe advertisement came from Paul Merrill on Flickr and The Milwaukee Journal, January 14 1965.


  1. Who ARE those “guests who drop in”, where one must drop everything and cook something for them to put in their pie-hole? If I got any “drop-ins” they would get coffee or tea and maybe the last of the graham crackers if they needed to eat. I wouldn’t be whipping up such a “rich and ready” recipe as this. (I’m surprised it didn’t have cherries or prunes in it, pineapple coconut seems a touch exotic for such a retro recipe, and is it really compatible with chocolate?).

    • There were a lot of other fruit fillings listed as possibilities — we had a lot of coconut on hand so used that. But even so, it was an awful lot of work just to have something on hand for Random Neighbor Who Loves To Gossip…

  2. Seems like the cake should have been baked then rolled. What a bizarre recipe. It’s a shame that it wasn’t that great after all of that work.

    • If effort led to quality, most retro recipes would be better!

  3. Awww. This one had potential!
    Yet, I can’t even begin to figure out what made it so weird… it doesn’t *sound* like it should have been cake-y, and not cookie-ish. With 3 C. flour and only a 1/2 C milk, it should have been fine!!! Hmmm… and you say it’s bland? Then, it’s probably not worth fiddling with. Darn.

    • The texture was surprising, yes. They weren’t bad as cookies, with both the chocolate flavor of the dough and the pina colada fililng; however, they weren’t that exciting either, and there could have been a lot more chocolate.

  4. I think they sound absolutely divine, but then, I have a sweet tooth as big as all outdoors

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