🎃 Countdown to #Halloween 🎃

Only 1 more day until #Halloween2017!!

Here are four super easy, last-minute recipes:

 

Red Velvet Hot Chocolate - an easy and spooky Halloween drink! | From SugarHero.com

Red Velvet Hot Chocolate and Almond Witch Finger Cookies

Original can be found on sugarhero.com.

Red Velvet Hot Chocolate –

If you’d like a sweeter hot chocolate (or a brighter red color) you can substitute milk chocolate for some or all of the dark chocolate, or replace some of the dark chocolate with white chocolate.  This recipe yields about 3 cups.

Prep Time:  10 minutes
Cook Time:  10 minutes
Total Time:  20 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 3 oz cream cheese at room temperature
  • 6 oz semi-sweet chocolate finely chopped
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 1-2 tsp red gel food coloring (I used Americolor Super Red)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Place the milk and cream cheese in a blender and blend them together until smooth.  (If you have a stick blender, you can just place them in a saucepan and blend them together right in the pan.)
  2. Pour the milk-cream cheese mixture into a medium saucepan, and add the chocolate, vanilla, brown sugar, and salt.  Place over medium heat and warm the milk, whisking occasionally, until the chocolate is completely melted and your mixture is smooth.  Whisk in the red food coloring, adding more until you get a color you like.  Serve hot!
  3. Red Velvet Hot Chocolate can be made several days in advance and kept in the refrigerator until ready to use.  Reheat in the microwave or in a saucepan on the stove.

Almond Witch Finger Cookies –

If you want to make regular sugar cookies, instead of this almond version, replace the almond meal with an additional 3/4 cup (3 1/8 oz) all-purpose flour, and either omit the almond extract, or replace it with lemon, orange, coconut, etc.  Yield: about 48 cookies

Prep Time:  1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time:  10 minutes
Total Time:  1 hour 40 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 oz butter at room temperature
  • 8 oz 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 egg at room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1 lb 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 2/3 oz 3/4 cup almond meal
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 48 whole blanched almonds (see Note below)
  • 1-2 tsp red gel food coloring (I used Americolor Super Red)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Combine the butter and powdered sugar in the bowl of a large stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.  Beat them together on medium speed for about 1 minute, until fluffy and well-combined.  Add the egg and both extracts, and beat on medium-low speed.  It is natural for the mixture to look separated at this point.
  2. Whisk together the flour, almond meal, and salt in a separate bowl.  With the mixer running on low, add the flour to the dough, and mix just until most of the flour streaks disappear.  Stop the mixer and finish mixing with a rubber spatula, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl very well.
  3. Form the dough into a disc and wrap it in plastic wrap.  Chill the dough for an hour, until firm.  The dough can be kept for several days in the refrigerator if you want to make it in advance.
  4. While you wait for the dough to chill, paint the almonds red with food coloring.  Use a small food-safe paintbrush and red gel coloring, and paint the top of each almond until it is bright red.  Let them sit on a sheet of paper towel and dry.  The almonds can be painted several days in advance.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Line several baking sheets with parchment paper.  Take a walnut-sized ball of dough, (if you have a scale, I used about .75 oz per cookie) and roll the dough between your palms until it is a long thin snake, about 4 inches long.  Place it on the baking sheet and press a red almond into one end for the fingernail.  Press your finger about halfway down the dough to widen it for the knuckle.  Use a toothpick to press horizontal lines into the cookie under the almond, and across the knuckle.  Repeat until all of your cookies are formed.
  6. Bake the cookies for about 10 minutes, rotating halfway through.  They shouldn’t have much color—maybe a little darkening around the edges.  Cool completely on the baking sheet.  These cookies keep well when stored in an airtight container at room temperature.  They are a little delicate because of the almonds, but if some fall off during storage, you can always stick them on using a little melted candy coating as glue.

NOTES

If you can’t find blanched almonds, you blanch your own regular almonds.  Bring a pot of water to a boil, add the almonds, and let them boil for 60 seconds.  Strain the almonds, run them under cool water, then squeeze them between your fingers to quickly remove the almond skins.  Pat them dry before coloring them red for this recipe.

 

“ Ingredients:
• ½ cup (1 stick butter)
• 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
• 2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
• 2 heaping cups miniature marshmallows (or 12 large)
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 6 drops each green and yellow food coloring
• 8 cups...

Ghostbusters Green Slimed Popcorn

Original can be found on nerdyrecipes.tumblr.com.  Yield:  8-10 large servings.

INGREDIENTS

  • ½ cup (1 stick butter)
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 2 heaping cups miniature marshmallows (or 12 large)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 drops each green and yellow food coloring
  • 8 cups popped popcorn

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Place butter, brown sugar and corn syrup in a 3-quart sauce pan.  Cook over medium heat until sugar is dissolved.
  2. Remove from heat and add marshmallows and vanilla extract.  Stir until smooth.
  3. Add the green and yellow food coloring to create desired color.
  4. Put the popcorn in a large bowl and pour the “green slime” marshmallow mixture over the popcorn.  Stir with a large spoon until coated.  Cover until ready to serve.  Store in an airtight container.

 

Halloween Pumpkin Punch // HonestlyYUM

Halloween Pumpkin Punch

Original can be found on honestlyyum.com.

INGREDIENTS

For the punch

  • 750 ml bottle of spiced rum (since I am sober, I choose a non-alcoholic substitute)
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup spiced syrup
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 1/2 cups sparkling water
  • cinnamon sticks (for garnish)
  • dry ice (for decorating, optional)
  • large pumpkin or punchbowl

For the spiced syrup

  • 1/2 cup demerara sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 6 allspice berries
  • 1 cinnamon stick (broken into pieces)
  • 1 star anise pod
  • 6 white peppercorns
  • 1/2 nutmeg (cracked)

INSTRUCTIONS

For the spiced syrup

  1. Add the spices to a small saucepan over medium heat.  Shake the spices back and forth so that they do not burn.
  2. As soon as the spices become toasty and aromatic, add the water and sugar.  Stir continuously to dissolve the sugar.  Bring to a simmer and turn the heat to low.  Let simmer for 10 minutes, remove from heat, and strain through a fine mesh strainer.
  3. Cool to room temperature before using.

For the punch

  1. In a large bowl, add the spiced rum, orange juice, lemon juice, spiced syrup and pumpkin puree.  Stir to combine. 
  2. Once combined, pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a large pitcher and chill until ready to serve.
  3. Meanwhile, place a large bowl into your hollowed pumpkin.  Be sure your bowl is safe to handle dry ice.  I used a metal bowl.  Next, use tongs to fill the bottom of the bowl with dry ice, and cover with a slightly smaller bowl.  This bowl will hold your punch.  Again, make sure both bowls are safe for dry ice.  Certain materials will shatter when exposed to dry ice.
  4. Pour the mixture into the punchbowl.  Add the sparkling water and stir to combine.
  5. Now for the fun part.  Carefully pour hot water into the bottom bowl so that it contacts the dry ice, thus activating the vapors.
  6. Guests can ladle the punch into their glasses and garnish with a cinnamon stick.  Remember to give it a stir as you serve, as the ingredients will naturally separate over time

NOTES

The length of time the smoky effect will last depends on how much dry ice you use, how hot the water is, and consequently how quickly the ice melts.  To keep the effect going, you will need to replenish the dry ice as it melts.

candy corn cookies.. I'm so making these, but only once a year!

And finally, what to do with those candy corns??  Make cookies with them!

Candy Corn and White Chocolate Softbatch Cookies

The original can be found on averiecooks.com.

  • Yield:  about 20 medium cookies
  • Total Time:  3+ hours, for dough chilling
  • Prep Time:  10 minutes
  • Cook Time:  8-9 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, soften
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons cream or half-and-half
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch salt, optional and to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups candy corn (1o to 11 ounces)
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips (or salted peanuts)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or large bowl and electric hand mixer), cream together the first 5 ingredients (through vanilla) on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  2. Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the next 5 ingredients (through optional salt), and mix on low speed until just incorporated, about 1 minute; don’t over mix.
  3. Add the candy corn, white chocolate chips (or peanuts), and mix until just incorporated.
  4. Using a medium 2-inch cookie scoop, form heaping two-tablespoon mounds (I made 20).  Place mounds on a large plate, flatten mounds slightly, cover with plasticwrap, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or up to 5 days, before baking.  Do not bake with warm dough because cookies will spread and bake thinner and flatter.  Important note – strategically place candy corn so that it’s not baking directly on the cookie sheet because it will melt, burn, or turn runny if it is.  The candy corn pieces need to be in the interior of the cookies, shielded and buffered by dough.
  5. Preheat oven to 350F, line a baking sheet with a Silpat, or spray with cooking spray.  Place mounds on baking sheet, spaced at least 2 inches apart (I bake 8 cookies per sheet) and bake for about 9 minutes, or until edges have set and tops are just beginning to set, even if slightly under-cooked, pale and glossy in the center.  Do not overbake because cookies will firm up as they cool.  Baking longer than 10 minutes could result in cookies with overly browned undersides.  Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.  Cookies will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 4 months.  Unbaked cookie dough can be stored airtight in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or frozen for up to 4 months, so consider baking only as many cookies as desired and save the remaining dough to be baked in the future when desired.