Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Pumpkin Fudge

Spending summers on Mackinac Island, I have watched a lot of fudge get made, but I've never tried to do it myself. I figured, why not try making pumpkin fudge for a fall party?

Pumpkin Fudge Ingredients

Less than 1 can of milk and pumpkin were used in this recipe, so it would be really easy (and not that much more expensive) to make a double batch. This time, I decided to only make a single batch of the fudge.

I was surprised how easy this was to make. The instructions with this recipe are excellent. The only issue was that the fudge set REALLY fast, so you might want to stir in the chocolate chips while the mixture is still on the stove.

9x9 pans lined in foil to set the fudge.

I had some small Fall cookie cutters that I thought would be perfect for cutting this fudge. Because the cookie cutters were not that deep, I poured the fudge into two 9x9 pans rather than the one the recipe called for. If you are going to cut the fudge into squares, then I would only use one pan.

There was a lot of fudge left over after I finished cutting out the decorations! It was fun to snack on.

I served this fudge at a Halloween party, but it would also work very well for Thanksgiving or any fall event.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Spritz Cookies

These recipe for the Spritz Cookie batter could be easily adapted to fit any holiday. The recipe talks about making them sandwich cookies with white chocolate, but I decided to dip them in semi-sweet chocolate and then holiday themed sprinkles. (Melted in the microwave: 1/8 tsp vegetable oil per 0.5 cup of chocolate chips. Stir frequently.)

To achieve the orange color in the batter, I used 8 drops of red food coloring and 16 drops of yellow food coloring.

The cookies before decoration

At the time when I was making these cookies, I did not have a cookie press. Therefore I used a ziplock bag with a hole cut out of the end to create the shape of these cookies.

My "Cookie Press" used for these cookies. Now I own a real one so next time the shapes might be a little more interesting!

Halloween sprinkles made the perfect final touch to these cookies. I used all (with the exception of the eyeball sprinkles, those I used for another baking project.)

These cookies have a light and delicate flavor. Keith found the taste a bit boring, but I personally LOVED the taste. Will you try this Halloween cookie recipe out?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Halloween Popcorn Pumpkins

Halloween Popcorn Pumpkins
are another great Halloween treat that don't require any baking to finish. (There is some cooking involved with melting the marshmallows, but that is cooking, not baking!)

I found that 3T of unpopped popcorn was enough to create the 5 cups of popcorn requited for the recipe. I burned the first batch of popcorn, but otherwise I found this project to be really simple. To create the orange color, I added 7 drops red food coloring and 13 drops yellow food coloring. I used chocolate twizzlers as the brown stems.

These popcorn balls are absolutely addictive. They are a real mixture of sweet and salty, and I wish that I had made more than one batch!

The pumpkins that we have at our Halloween party. The non-edible pumpkins include a 3-D paper pumpkin and some knit Jack-o-Lanterns.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Black Cat Cookies

So I really enjoyed making the popcorn balls (which will be discussed in the next post) and they were delicious, but they got stale really quickly. These chocolate cat cookies are FANTASTIC. I did not use sticks as the recipe called for, which is probably why I ended up with 24 cookies rather than the 12 the recipe predicts.

The tip to dip the bottom of the glass you're using to flatten the cookies in sugar first is a good one. This prevented a lot of sticking and the sprinkling of sugar on top gave a really pretty visual effect. I "carefully" matched the candy corns for each eye (just to make sure that the colors matched on each cookie.) This is a recipe that I will absolutely do again, and I will try to find an excuse to use them for other holidays.

This is a great example of how you can make fun shapes without the use of Halloween cookie cutters. (Of course, with cookie cutters then you'll be able to make more shapes!)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Spooky Halloween Eyeballs

This is a recipe that I was able to cut in half. The chocolate peanut butter balls ("Spooky Halloween Eyeballs") were such a hit, that I made these (without looking like eyeballs) for my Christmas party, too.

I didn't have any smooth peanut butter, but I did have a lot of chunky!I crushed the peanuts it in the food processor, and used this rather than a hand mixer to do all of the mixing for the recipe. I ended up with a smooth and creamy filling that tasted like the inside of a Reese's peanut butter cup.

I had some difficulty covering these eyeballs in white chocolate. As you can see from the picture below, The resulting eyeballs did not end up nice and round, even though the peanut butter balls that I dipped into the chocolate where spherical.

I mixed a little bit of blue food coloring in the remaining white chocolate to make the irises. The pupils were tiny chocolate chips. Since I had run out of white chocolate, I covered the remaining peanut butter mixture in semi-sweet chocolate, adding two "irises" to function as eyes.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Chocolate Spiders

So these may not look like the Chocolate Spiders the recipe is named for with the eyes, but they are certainly cute and perfect for a Halloween party!

This was such a fun cooking project. You mix chow mein noodles into melted chocolate chips, and then plop small amounts onto a cookie sheet. Adding some eyeball sprinkles bring these Chocolate spiders to life. (Yes, I know spiders have 8 eyes, so consider these cartoonish creatures, not an accurate spider representation.)

The melted chocolate: 1/2 tsp vegetable oil per 2 cups chocolate chips. 33 cookies were created.

These Halloween cookies required no baking, making them an easy addition to a party cookie spread. And I think it's the eyeball Halloween sprinkles that really make this project special.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Simple Spooky Snacks

It is amazing what you can do to add a feeling of Halloween to your party.

I found this "recipe" for Halloween Brain Dip, and since I usually serve chips and salsa at parties, I knew that it would be a must for my Halloween Party. Cutting the stem out of a head of cauliflower to fill it with homemade guacamole is GENIUS! (My guacamole is different from what is shown on the recipe page. In addition to avocados and salsa I add some lime juice to taste.)

Brain salsa and guacamole

I filled some (hand washed) latex gloves with water and put them in the freezer to create some hand shaped ice cubes for my Black Halloween Punch. Unfortunately, when we tried to get the ice OUT of the glove, we ended up breaking off most of the fingers.

The orange and grape Kool-Aid Packets created the black color of the punch. I cut the sugar in half and then used more diet Ginger Ale and less water. This punch was so delicious, but dangerous because you couldn't taste the alcohol at all!

Haunted Brew.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Witch Finger Cookies

Dough for the Witch Finger cookie recipe would work really well as a spritz cookie recipe for a cookie press. Since the recipe included 1 egg, I could not cut it an half and I therefore ended up with dozens of fingers! To add some variety, I added 8 drops of green food coloring to half of the dough.

Raw cookies ready for baking

Each cookie was rolled into a snake, and then pinched to create the knuckles. The almost were baked on the tip of the cookies to make the "finger nail" impression. I LOVE that you reattach these almonds with red gel icing. This really gives the cookies a spooky touch.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Halloween In April

Yes, Halloween is over 6 months away, but it's never too early to start thinking about what you'd make for a party! Last Halloween, I had a blast making a bunch of themed Halloween Cookies for a party I was hosting. In the weeks that follow, I will tell you more about these dishes (but for now I just wanted to tempt you with fabulous pictures!)

I don't think you really want to know how much butter I needed to make all of these treats... but let's just say it required a trip to Costco!

Finishing touches really set the mood!

Chocolate covered goodies. No baking required.

You can't have a Halloween party without some cookies!

Pumpkin posse. I would only recommend eating one of these pumpkin types.

I'm going to have to try to top myself next year, so I'm already collecting new recipes! Stay tuned to read more about these Halloween cookies in the upcoming weeks.