Halloween is officially 10 days away, and while my kids prepare their costumes, I’m considering what to bake to honor my favourite spooky holiday.
Although I’ve done huge Halloween parties where I had to whip up a lot of different treats, this year we’re keeping things pretty low key. Because of that, I’ve picked a few treats to make that are scary, delicious, and have maximum Halloween impact. Try them and see if they become some of your own Halloween favourites.
Cupcakes are a Halloween staple, and the great thing is that you can whip up a big batch and make all sorts of cute treats. Try these ghouly cupcakes to add a ghostly touch to your Halloween this year.
Photo and recipe from The Food Network.
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup root beer, flat
1/3 cup unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1/4 cup sour cream
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
8 large egg whites
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 pinch fine salt
1 teaspoon banana extract, or more to taste
1 to 2 drops pastel food coloring, optional
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line standard muffin tins with cupcake liners or spray footed cupcake holders with nonstick spray.
Put the butter, root beer, and cocoa in a microwave-safe bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave on HIGH until the butter melts, about 2 minutes. Whisk to combine.
Meanwhile, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Whisk the sour cream, eggs, and vanilla together in a small bowl.
Whisk the hot cocoa mixture into the dry ingredients. Stir in the sour cream mixture just to combine; take care not to over-mix. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared muffin cups, filling each one about 3/4 of the way full, about 1/4 cup per cupcake. Bake cupcakes until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool the cupcakes completely in the tin on a rack. Remove from liners and return cakes to a rack.
For Frosting: Bring a few inches of water to a boil in a saucepan that can hold a mixer’s bowl above the water. Whisk the egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar, and salt in the bowl by hand. Set the bowl above the boiling water and continue whisking until the mixture is hot to the touch and the sugar dissolves, about 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat at medium-high speed until eggs beat up into a cool stiff meringue, about 5 minutes. Add a few drops of desired extract and/or food coloring and lightly beat into the meringue.
To decorate: Using a spoon, offset spatula or piping bag, dollop, spread or pipe about 1/2 cup meringue on top of each cupcake to make a ghost or monster of your choice. Decorate with candied eyeballs or other candies. These can be finished 2 to 3 hours in advance and held at room temperature.
Adding a touch of Halloween to your every day foods is as easy as boiling up some eggs with blueberries. Who knew that small touch could turn them into a scary snack? Photo and recipe from MarthaStewart.com
1 dozen large egg
8 cups water
2 cups frozen blueberries
Gray sea salt, for serving
Freshly ground black pepper, for serving
Place eggs in single layer in a large saucepan, and cover with water and blueberries. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Cover; let stand 10 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, remove eggs one at a time, and place on a folded kitchen towel. Lightly crack shell on side with the handle of a whisk or a wooden spoon. Transfer egg to medium bowl; cover with cooking water. Repeat with remaining eggs. Let eggs cool completely in water in refrigerator.
Carefully peel shells from eggs. Serve with salt and pepper.
Who wants some brains with their treats this year? I love these cupcakes, and if you have some zombies coming to your Halloween party, they will love them too. Photo and recipe from SugarHero.com.
For the Spice Cupcakes:
1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground nutmeg
6 oz butter, at room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup packed brown sugar
3 eggs, at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup buttermilk, at room temperature
⅔ cup cinnamon chips (optional)
For the Almond Buttercream:
5 oz unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 lb (4 cups) powdered sugar
2-3 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
½-1 tsp almond extract
¼ tsp salt
Pink food coloring
Ivory food coloring
To Make the Spice Cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices in a small bowl, and whisk them together. Set aside for a moment.
Place the butter and both sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, then add the vanilla extract.
Turn the mixer speed to low and add about a third of the dry ingredients. Once the dry ingredients are incorporated, add half of the buttermilk and mix it in. Add half the remaining drys, then the rest of the buttermilk, and finish with the remaining dry ingredients. Stop the mixer when just a few streaks of flour remain. Finish mixing by hand with a rubber spatula, scraping the bottom and sides of the mixing bowl well. Stir in the cinnamon chips, if using.
Scoop the batter into 18 cupcake liners. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 F, until the tops spring back lightly when touched. Cool completely.
To Make the Almond Buttercream:
Put the butter, powdered sugar, 2 tbsp milk, vanilla extract, ½ tsp almond extract, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat the mixture on low speed until the dry ingredients are incorporated. Raise the speed to medium and beat for about 2 minutes, until light and fluffy.Taste the buttercream, and add additional almond extract if you would like a stronger almond flavor. If the frosting is very stiff, add small amounts of milk until it is the consistency you want. Add 2 drops of pink food coloring and 1 drop of ivory, and mix them in. Add more food coloring as necessary to get a color you like. Almond Buttercream can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. If you have made it in advance, let it come to room temperature and re-beat until light and fluffy before using.
To Decorate the Cupcakes with Brains:
Place the buttercream in a piping bag fitted with a round tip about ¼-inch wide: a Wilton #10 tip or Ateco #12 tip will work well. Pipe a thin layer of buttercream on top of the cupcakes, and smooth it out with a knife or offset spatula. It doesn’t need to be perfect, it’s just going to be the base of the brains.Pipe a line down the middle of a cupcake, then fill up the space to the right with one long buttercream squiggle, beginning at the top, widening through the middle, and narrowing at the bottom. Repeat on the left side, until you have formed both halves of the “brain.” Repeat until all of the cupcakes are decorated with brains.
I hope you have a fun and safe Halloween this year, and if you need a few baking tools, a huge variety of appliances and baking accessories or only a few clicks away online at Best Buy.