halloween.jpgOctober is here and I know we are on the countdown to Halloween in my house. Halloween usually involves a hearty dinner from the crockpot such as chili or stew, and then we head out for trick-or-treating. I usually end up making a snack for my youngest sons class party, and I always like to do some fun baking for at home too.

My oldest at 15 has just gone over to friends the last couple of Halloweens, but my youngest at 10 loves everything about Halloween. He always starts planning his costume in early September so he can make sure they don’t all sell out. We love to create so Halloween is the perfect time for crafts and fun creating in the kitchen.

I found a really cool recipe a few years back for spider cookies and have adapted it to my liking. They are a little time consuming to make and make sure you have a large baking sheet to cook them on, but I assure you they are well worth it. These scary cookies are actually my husband’s favourite cookie to eat. I think it’s the mixture of the sweet cookie, the salty pretzels and the chocolate ganache. It’s the perfect combination.

Scary cookies
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Spider Cookies

Ingredients:

2 C flour
10 tbsp butter
½ tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
3 tbsp cocoa powder
½ C brown sugar
¼ C cane sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
Pretzel sticks
8 oz semi sweet chocolate
1 C whipping cream
Chocolate sprinkles
Mini m&m’s

 

Directions

For the cookies

In one bowl cream the butter and sugars, add the egg and vanilla
In another bowl mix the dry ingredients
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix together
Refrigerate the dough for about an hour for easy rolling
Roll the dough into 1 inch balls and insert 4 pretzel sticks along one side of the ball and 4 in the other side to create the spider
Bake at 350 for 7-9 minutes

For the chocolate ganache

Bring the whipping cream to a boil, whipping cream will start to steam when it is ready, be careful it burns easily
Remove the cream from the heat and stir in with a whisk the semi-sweet chocolate, insuring no lumps are left behind

Once cookies are cooled coat the cookies with the chocolate ganache, cover them in chocolate sprinkles and place 2 m&m’s for eyes.

 

This is a messy job, I like to balance the cookie on a fork and drizzle the ganache over the top until the cookie and the pretzel sticks are fully covered. Allow the ganache to set on a cooling rack in the fridge. The ganache will soften at room temperature so I store the cookies in the fridge for the best finished product.

Gluten free

Unfortunately I am gluten free, so I have to miss out on the delicious spider cookies, but I did find this recipe for meringue ghosts from glutenfreerecipebox.com which I will be making this year. Both my boys also love meringue so I’m sure they won’t last long. My youngest son will probably have a blast making the ghost faces too.

Meringue ghosts

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Ingredients:

2 large egg whites
¼ tsp cream of tartar
½ C cane sugar food processed until fine
¼ tsp pure vanilla

 

Directions

 Beat the egg whites until frothy

Add the cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form
Add the sugar 1 tbsp at a time until stiff peaks form
Beat in the vanilla

Scoop the meringue into a pastry bag and pipe into rounds approximately 2 inches high onto parchment lined baking sheet
Bake at 200 for 60-90 minutes until dry to the touch

You can use royal icing or melted chocolate to make ghostly faces

Cupcake fun

I always like to include the kids in the Halloween prep and any time they get to be creative they are happy. These mummy cupcakes from joyofbaking.com are what I’ll be making for my sons class this year.

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Ingredients:

1/2 cup (50 grams) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 cup (240 ml) boiling hot water
1 1/3 cups (175 grams) all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Marshmallow Cream Frosting:

1 cup (226 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 – 7 ounce (198 grams) jar of marshmallow creme or fluff
2 cups (230 grams) confectioner’s sugar (icing or powdered sugar), sifted
2-4 tablespoons light cream

 

Directions

In a stainless steel or heatproof bowl place the cocoa powder. Pour the boiling water over the cocoa powder and stir until smooth. Set aside to cool while you make the batter.

In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
Then in the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture and beat only until incorporated. Then add the cooled cocoa mixture and stir until smooth.
Fill each lined muffin cup about two-thirds full with batter and bake for about 16 – 20 minutes or until risen, springy to the touch, and a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Once the cupcakes have completely cooled, place the frosting in a piping bag, fitted with a Wilton #47 or #48 basket weave tip, and pipe lines back and forth on the top of each cupcake. Place two candy eyes on each cupcake.

Marshmallow Cream Frosting:

In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until smooth and well blended. Beat in the vanilla extract and marshmallow creme. With the mixer on low speed, gradually beat in the sugar. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the cream and beat to combine. Then, on high speed, beat frosting until it is light and fluffy (about 3-5 minutes). Add more cream or confectioners sugar if necessary to get the right piping consistency.

Halloween is such a fun holiday especially when you have little ones. My youngest at 10 still loves Halloween and every year it is a hard decision to choose what he wants to dress up as. We have quite a collection of Halloween costumes, but since he still loves to use them for playing I don’t mind spending the money on a new costume each year. We also have a lot of little cousins in the family so they get a lot of use through hand me downs as well.

Check out bestbuy.ca for all you Halloween baking accessories.

Title image @Halloweenwallpaperimages.com