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Ambrosia Salad... 80's Party worthy? Other suggestions?

I was born in the 80's so my memories are limited to the jello at the kiddies table.

What are some of the definitive 80's desserts that wouldn't be confused with another decade?

Ambrosia salad came to mind because of its sheer ghetto ingredients (cool whip, cancer cherries, mini marshmallows). Was that 80's specific though? Chocolate fondue seems a little too 70's.

Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks!

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  1. "It's sheer ghetto ingredients...". Word!!
    Ambrosia salad, in my mind, goes quite a bit farther back than that, but it wouldn't stop me from eating it, that's for sure. I think the most ubiquitous dessert I can recall from that era was Dacquoise. And I agree about the chocolate fondue; it just screams '72. I'm thinking, Jello Jigglers came on the scene back in the eighties, though....but not sure at all you'd care to make or eat them.

    1 Reply
    1. re: mamachef

      Oh for sure, 70's. My mom used to make it.

    2. It strikes me that mousses were all the rage. Remember the packet mousse mixes that were supposed to mimic the ones in swanky restaurants? Pudding plus cool whip works pretty well too. I mean... you know, "well." ;)

      And weren't those molten chocolate cakes with the melty centers a product of the 80s too? Just thinking back on movies from the 80s.

      My only other thought is a sad-looking fruit plate for the millions of 80s dieters. HA!

      1. Ambrosia is really more of a 60s throwback. In fact, I recall potlucks that we attended during the 80s in which one particular attendee always brought ambrosia, and it was considered passe at the time.
        Most of the other desserts I recall from that era are really timeless -- cheesecake, brownies, etc.
        80s specific would be chocolate chips made with Reese's pieces, which as I recall became popular as the result of the movie ET.

        1. Chocolate mousse cake -- chocolate cookie crust, chocolate mousse filling, whipped cream swirl on top.

          1. Flourless chocolate cake too.

            1. salmon mousse
              california rolls
              brie & pear quesadillas

              2 Replies
                1. re: greygarious

                  This link is awesome! Animal crackers and conversation hearts came out in 1900? I guess I really do learn something new every day...

                2. Weren't the 80s also the time of the Mrs. Field's Cookies explosion, with the introduction of all manner of cookie varieties like the white chocolate macadamia nut?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: maxie

                    Oooooooh yeah, that's right! You could make ice-cream sandwiches w/ the online copycat of Mrs. Field's Cookies for your own version of the "It's It." !!!!!

                  2. "ultimate" anything
                    chocolate decadence
                    cheesecake spiked with a sweet booze (Kahlua, Amaretto, Frangelico, etc.)

                    All of these were considered tres swank.

                    1. OMG, the quintessential '80s dessert was white chocolate raspberry cheesecake. White chocolate anything, really, but that was *the* hot new item.

                      1. I think the one that was at everyone's potluck was the layered dessert called "The Next Best Thing to Robert Redford".
                        It had a pecan/shortbread like crust, a layer of cooked chocolate pudding, a layer of cream cheese mixed with Cool Whip (I think) - and Cool Whip on top.
                        If you want it, I can track down the recipe and post it - It's still in my recipe box from a gazillion years ago.

                        1. I was catering through the '80s, and the thing that stands out for me is the kind of lavish presentation Martha Stewart and Christopher Idone put forth in their first books, ENTERTAINING and GLORIOUS FOOD, c.1982.

                          Flourless chocolate cake would be a perfect '80s dessert. I've read that it became popular at Michael's in Santa Monica at the end of the '70s. Dont' forget--you need to "present" it in a festive manner. Use a large platter, and decorate it with lemon leaves and purple or orange (not mixed--that's important) Gerbera daisies.

                          Accompanying music: "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)," by the Eurythmics.

                          1. The Ambrosia Salad I have fixed and remember is also called 5 Cup Salad. It contained:
                            sour cream, baby marshmellows, tidbit pineapple(canned), mandarin oranges(canned) & shredded coconut.
                            I still will bring it to potluck & bbqs. I have started adding a little bit of cinnamon and even less nutmeg. There is never any left to bring home, so it seems it is well received.

                            1. What about a Pac Man or ET cake, Italian Ice in an empty orange peel "cup" or chocolate mouse in a wine glass or in a chocolate tulip? I like the idea for white chocolate raspberry cheesecake!

                              I know ambrosia is an older dessert but we still ate it in the eighties!