Tucked in the very back of Mom’s cookbook is a tiny accordion-folded recipe booklet called “How to use your Treat-Time Toaster.” You can enjoy a scan of it below.
I had thumbed passed this booklet many times before but in late January 2017 I finally took my curiosity online to try and find out what a “Treat-Time Toaster” might actually be.
In just a few clicks I found myself at eBay where I discovered these toasters were in fact vintage grilled sandwich makers. These were the same things I remember being in our kitchen at Trailend Drive – Mom used them to fashion some of the coolest grilled cheese sandwiches ever!
After quickly checking with my older brothers about the whereabouts of our toasters, I sadly realized they were long, long gone.
Gone, too, was the company who made them – NuRod, Inc., based out of Monrovia California. So since I couldn’t score one of my own new Treat-Time Toasters, I found a set of two vintage toasters that I scored on eBay for about $30, including shipping.
A few days later a bountiful box arrived at my home and boy, was I excited! Soon my kitchen would be turning out delicious sandwich snacks. The possibilities were endless, thanks to the recipe booklet that contained 13 ideas for transforming mere bread into a myriad of mouthwatering delights filled with awe-inspiring ingredients like cocktail sausages, bologna, baked beans, raisin bread, marmalade, fried eggs and more.
Are you salivating yet?
The Treat-Time Toaster looked part flying saucer and part clamshell. Placing the toaster over campfire or stove in mere seconds you can create panini, grilled sandwiches, pocket sandwiches … anything your mind and appetite can conjure!
The toaster churns out culinary delights that remind me of those from the raclette tabletop grill, which has been a favorite kitchen accessory of mine for many years.
The adman in me appreciated reading the recipe booklet that appears to have been written by Donna Reade, who was Director of Consumer Service at Nu-Rod. I cracked a few smiles when I read passages like “You’ll find family and friends runnin’ back for more,” “Not only delicious but filling” and “M-M-M-boy!”
The folks at Nu-Rod also knew a little something about target marketing back in the early 1960s. I found evidence of ads for their Treat-Time Sandwich Maker in Popular Science, Boys’ Life, Mobile Home Journal, and V.F.W. Journal.
Where did it all go wrong?
So if the Treat-Time Toaster is so awesome, why did it disappear from America’s kitchens almost as fast as it arrived?!
Based on my online research Nu-Rod was in existence from 1960-1970 and then their digital footprint is no more. Perhaps they were intent on connecting the Treat-Time Toaster with men more so than women? Or perhaps the name “Treat-Time Toaster” was too innovative at the time.
Whatever the case all I know is I’m glad I’ve reconnected my appetite with this fond foodie kitchen gizmo.
❤ While supplies last you can likely find vintage Treat-Time Toasters on Ebay or similar machines like these on the web. I ordered two so that I didn’t have to share my toaster with anyone else! Hey, twice the fun!
❤ The ingredients list below is for the most basic – and delicious – grilled cheese sandwich. But don’t let your imagination and appetite stop here – try any of the original recipes in the Treat-Time Toaster recipe book (below)… or you let your imagination go wild. My top three favorite sandwiches are grilled cheese, PB&J, and our own creation – a grilled caprese sandwich (shown above), crafted from mozzarella, fresh basil leaves from the garden and a few slices of red tomato.
i. ingredients (per serving)
2 slices | white bread (or artisan bread if you’re feeling très gourmet)
schmears | falfurrias brand butter
assorted | ingredients for your sandwich (melting cheese, crisp bacon, sliced tomato, etc.)
no-stick cooking spray or butter | to grease your toaster
(optional) to serve | your favorite condiments (ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, honey, etc.)
ii. what to do
1. Butter the outside of two slices of bread and set aside. Hey, if you’re feeling adventurous you can also butter the inside, if butter complements your chosen ingredients.
2. Top one inside with your chosen ingredients, making sure to keep things mingling toward the center of the bread.
5. Hold/Place the Treat-Time Toaster over campfire or medium-fired kitchen stovetop for 1-2 minutes on each side. I used my toaster inside over a gas range. I experimented a few times to find the right combination of flame and time to deliver the perfect oozy, gooey, buttery treat.
Serve warm with your favorite sides!
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook
A word about bread…
One of my favorite childhood memories happened when our elementary school (go, Northwood Unicorns) made an outing to San Antonio’s ButterKrust Bakery that graciously rested alongside 2251 Broadway Street.
I’m confident my love of carbs was born that day. In fact, every time I drove past the bakery (passenger or driver), the window somehow found itself miraculously resting so I could enjoy the waft of butter and bread while the wind whipped through my hair. Never underestimate the power of bread!
Yup. I scored this vintage spot for you!
Holiday traditions are the best, right?
One of my more recent holiday traditions was literally handed to me by my brother Roger’s mother in law, “Lou.”
Each year when I blew into town from college for holiday visits Lou would always have a special plate of several handmade holiday sweets for me … and her special chosen ones. There were cookies and brownies and some things I never knew what they were called and I loved them anyway because they tasted great and they were made with love.
Of all the holiday treats the ones I always ate first were the chocolate pb balls. If you love Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups you will love these as much as Christmas itself!
A few years after Lou had passed I remembered these favorites and finally tracked down the recipe through a family member “Dollie” who secured her spot in “Awesomeville” forever more for sending a pic of the recipe (below) my way. On Thanksgiving weekend 2013 two of my nieces (Lou’s grandkids) Kim and Lizzie and I made these together and it was one of the most special things ever!
We all love and miss Lou very much. But especially when I eat these chocolate covered peanut butter balls, she’s only a lick of a chocolatey finger and a wink away!
foodie tips ~
♥ What’s oleo? It’s margarine. What’s better than margarine? BUTTER! Which butter’s best? Falfurrias brand butter per my grandmother Nanny and my stomach! Get the unsalted stuff.
♥ Kim, Lizzie and I had a difficult time finding the paraffin wax. My local HEB Foodie intercepted our shopper’s frustration and told us to use chocolate cubes because they have more cocoa and they include the paraffin wax ingredients which makes them great for coating. He was right! We omitted the Hershey’s chocolate bar (forgive me), the chocolate chips (forgive me again) and the paraffin wax and used Ambrosia brand Chocolate Flavored Bark Coating (a.k.a. bark coating).
♥ We were only able to find Jif Extra Crunchy peanut butter. I checked out the Jif website and it appears Jif only produces creamy or extra crunchy peanut butter (no “regular” crunchy) at this time. My hunch is that the folks at Jif had some consumer insight that said their customers are big crunch lovers.
♥ About 30 balls into the mass dipping, we noticed the balls were starting to crumble when the toothpicks were inserted into them or when they were toothpick diving into the chocolate. Angry faces! We put the tray of balls into the freezer for 10-15 minutes and they firmed right back up. Happy faces! You can leverage your angry broken ball frustration by re-forming any broken balls into new balls or simply put the broken pieces into a freezer-safe Ziploc bag – I plan to decorate the top of a large bowl of ice cream with the broken pieces. Soon.
♥ If the melted chocolate becomes difficult to work with, zap it in the microwave about 30 seconds and it’ll return to creamy.
♥ We doubled this recipe and it made a ton! Plan on a single batch yielding about 50-60 balls. For the doubling we used extra butter to aid with forming (½ cup) and extra chocolate to help coat (4-6 squares) for each batch.
♥ On the next go of this recipe I’m going to try and drizzle some white chocolate on top for some contrast. That was actually Kim’s idea but since I typed this recipe up on Betty’s Cook Nook, I’ll take credit for it. Ssssshhhh! :)
1 stick | margarine (oleo)
1 pound | powdered sugar
2 cups | jif brand chunky (extra crunchy) peanut butter
3 cups | kellogg’s brand rice krispies cereal
8 ounce bag | hershey brand chocolate bar*
6 – 9 ounces | chocolate chips*
⅛ pound (½ a slab) | paraffin wax*
* See an important foodie tip above regarding a substitution for these three ingredients.
ii. tools n’ materials
1 | medium-large mixing bowl
1 | tray for refrigerating the peanut butter balls
1 | pyrex bowl for microwaving the chocolate
1 | spatula for mixing and dipping the chocolate
a few | toothpicks for dipping
a few sheets | wax paper or nonstick foil
to present | petit four cups or packaging, if gift giving
iii. what to do
1. Mix together the butter, powdered sugar, peanut butter and the rice krispies. Form the mixture into 1″ balls then refrigerate for at least 1 hour. You will have to use pressure to mold the balls as the mixture is fairly dry. You’ll get better at forming as you go!
2. Just before you’re ready to start dipping, melt your Ambrosia bark coating (or the last three ingredients above) in a microwave safe Pyrex bowl. Do not boil!
3. Insert a toothpick into the center of the rolled ball and completely dip it into the melted chocolate. With the toothpick horizontal to the bowl gently tap the toothpick and ball against the rim of the bowl a few times to return some of the chocolate “runoff” back into the bowl. If you leave too much chocolate on the ball it may form a flat foot for the finished ball and this tapping technique will yield a tight round ball.
4. While the ball is still on the toothpick move it over a tray or counter lined with wax paper (or nonstick foil) and shake it off of the toothpick. It may be helpful to use a second toothpick to free the ball from the toothpick. If there’s a crater-blemish on the top of the ball you can smooth things over with the toothpick or a dab more chocolate. Continue dipping the balls until you’re all done.
5. The chocolate will cool with a little time. You can transfer the finished chocolate covered peanut butter balls to fluted paper petit four cups or to a serving plate or gift box.
Yields: 50 – 60 balls per batch
This recipe is super easy to make and something you can share with your kids to teach them the simple art of food making.
The best part? It’s a foodie favorite for any time of the day (or night)!
1 | banana
2 heaping fork fulls | peanut butter (I prefer crunchy)
a drizzling | local honey
2 slices | whole wheat bread, toasted
ii. what to do
1. Peel the banana, cut off the ends and place it on a plate or in a shallow bowl.
2. Add 2 heaping fork fulls of peanut butter and top with a 4-6 second drizzle of your favorite local honey.
3. Smash all ingredients together with a fork and set aside.
4. Toast the wheat bread; when done top one piece of the bread with the pb-banana mixture, add the last piece of toast on top and cut on the diagonal.
Yields 1 heaping sandwich – or 2 more reasonably-sized sammies, if you add 2 more pieces of bread.
Foodie Tip ~
♥ Try toasting the bread last; eating the sammy warm makes it extra special.