Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Get your Mammo-Grahams!

October is officially National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. All kinds of related events take place during October: The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure takes place in cities across the country, the American Cancer Society holds its Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event, and National Mammography Day takes place on Friday, October 16th.

A couple of years ago, when I was doing a lot of party planning and catering, specializing in theme menus, the more inventive the better, a friend asked me to cater a unique party. A childhood cancer survivor, she and her mother had decided to throw a big bash celebrating 20 years of being cancer-free. Having been to a few shindigs of mine before, she knew the kind of funky, funny food I loved to put together, and she wanted her own food to be very irreverent, sort of thumbing her nose and laughing in the face of cancer. An example she thought of was serving deviled eggs – with black olive “tumors” in them. I asked if she really, REALLY wanted me to run with that, and she insisted she did, as long as it was still good food, so off I went, creating a whole menu devoted to different kinds of cancer.

One of my favorite items I invented for that menu was the “Mammo-Graham”, which I share with you here today in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. As you can see, it’s a fairly realistic edible depiction of the procedure, as anyone who has undergone one will attest:

This is actually very easy to put together, and, yes, inexpensive too.  One option for the, er, fleshy part of the Mammo-Grahams was making them out of marzipan, but that could get very pricy very quickly. So I based them on a recipe for potato candy I found in Paula Deen’s dessert cookbook from The Lady and Sons; it’s normally used to make Easter Egg shapes. TO make about a dozen, depending on cup size:

Potato Candy:

2 medium potatoes
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, chopped
2 16 ounce boxes powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or almond, actually, if you really wanted faux-marzipan)
2-3 tablespoons peanut butter
1-2 tablespoons cocoa powder

Other Mammo-Graham materials:

6 regular graham cracker rectangles, each broken into 2 squares
6 chocolate graham cracker rectangles, each broken into 2 squares
about 1/4 cup milk chocolate chips
about a dozen pink M&Ms, preferably both plain and peanut

Boil the potatoes just until soft. Drain, mash, and measure 1/2 cup out into a mixing bowl. Make a small snack of the excess with some sour cream and chives, I say. Add butter into mixing bowl, mix in thoroughly, and let cool completely(very important).  Add sugar and vanilla/almond extract, knead until smooth.

Roll some of the dough into various ball sizes. Then add the peanut butter and knead thoroughly again – you may want to make a few different ‘complexions’, so you can add it in in increments, make a couple more balls, and repeat. Follow the same process with the cocoa, adding incrementally to represent different complexions.

Now gently squeeze each ball between a pair of graham crackers. Melt the chocolate chips (either in a microwave in 30 second increments or in a double boiler). Transfer to a ziploc bag, cut off the corner (as small as you can manage) and pipe some nice zigzaggy flourishes on top of each sandwich. Finally, complete each mammary with its own M&M nipple, using shades of pink and tan and brown as you please.

We intentionally shared this a couple of days before National Mammography Day, in hopes that some of our readers might be able to take advantage of the opportunity to get a free test on Friday.  So if you find yourself at a fundraising event this October or at any other time, or should you attend any cancer awareness events in the future, consider bringing these treats along – they were a huge hit at my friend’s party!

Other helpful information and resources:

Find a provider for a complementary mammogram
Cancer-fighting recipes at the Nutrition and Food Archive blog
A good round-up of writing on breast cancer from BlogHer
Shop the Think Pink Collection to support the Komen Foundation
Breast Cancer Support Groups
The CDC’s information page
for breast cancer
The Breast Cancer Site:
Click once a day and help donate money to fund free mammograms!

— posted by Anne


  1. T says

    I find these really insensitive and tasteless and frankly I am mortified that anyone would think these are appropriate for breast cancer awareness. Mammos are painful and unpleasant experiences and not something to joke or make light of.

    • says

      Sorry you feel that way. If you read through all the other comments, you’ll find a few others who agree with you, though the majority (including cancer survivors) enjoyed the concept and appreciate the effort to bring a smile into something which can indeed be a daunting experience for some (I’ve had two). Thanks for the commenting and wish you the best.

    • Madi says

      As a health care worker who works daily with ultrasound and mammography of the breasts, I know they are unpleasant but such a key part of breast health. These are a funny spin on what women and some men have to go through every day. Everyone always get your mammograms it can save your life.

  2. Angie Cannon says

    I love this! I live in a very small town, where everyone knows everyone. Sometimes its hard to forget that the lady in the next church pew did my last pelvic exam. I’ve just turned 40 and need my very first mammogram. I will be taking these to the girls at the clinic, we will all get a hearty laugh! Thanks so much :)

    • says

      Hi Valesha – if you follow many of our other posts you’ll definitely see that I keep refined sugar to a bare minimum, using it for the occasional treat such as this. I love using alternative, non-refined sugar for many things! This is definitely a once-in-a-blue-moon item. Be well and have a good day!

  3. Denise Johnson says

    I am having problem with your cookie recipe. I failed to make mine yesterday because it was way too soft and I could not make a ball and if I did try it woudl sick all over my hands. I did wait for the potatoes to be completely cool off. I am not sure what you mean by 2 16 oz of powder sugar and the how much peanut butter should be added to each ball. Also, what if I wanted to double the batch, can I? How many cookies will I make with two medium potatoes or with your recipe you provided. I am Deaf, I wanted to educate the deaf and hard of hearing community. They do not hear, I would like to educate them by starting to share the cookie and then tell them why I had made these cookie so that why I can spark their interest and start educating them why it is importatnt to get ther breast Mammograms test. Can you provide me with a step by step recipe on how to make your cookies. Thank you for your support! I am hoping to make it again this Thursday or Friday. I am also curious to know are these cookies taste good?

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