Posts Tagged ‘Halloween Recipes’

A Belated (but fun!) Halloween

Thursday, November 2nd, 2017

I don’t get trick or treaters here in the wilds of western Massachusetts, but that didn’t prevent me from enjoying Halloween this year. My house was festooned with my favorite fall decorations on Tuesday. Cocoa the dog reluctantly donned her turtle costume. And I made Halloween treats with my friends on the show Mass Appeal.

Actually, the first recipe we prepared wasn’t a treat; it was a hearty soup I recommend for Halloween night (or any other fall evening). Pam’s Country Ham and Potato Soup (the recipe is here; I shared it a few years ago) is so warming and delicious I don’t want dessert after dining on it.

I did feel the need to feature a treat on the air as well, however, so we made festive sweets from the recipe box of one of my area’s best bakers, Paula Rice of Charlemont. In plastic wrap or a sandwich bag, they’re an ideal hand out for trick-or-treaters. They’re also tasty all fall long. (Paula reports that she hasn’t made them yet this year, but she’s going to!)

The recipe below is Paula’s. Instead of her filling, I used my traditional cream-cheese frosting. Either way, the pies are welcomed by adults and children. They taste like pumpkin, spice, and fall.

Paula’s Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Ingredients:

for the cookies:

1 pound light brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil (I use Canola)
2 eggs
1-3/4 to 2 cups pumpkin puree (freshly cooked and mashed, or a 15-ounce can)
1 teaspoon each cinnamon, cloves, and ginger
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups flour

for the filling:

1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 cup marshmallow fluff
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

For the cookies: Combine the sugar, oil, eggs, pumpkin, and spices in a large bowl, mixing well. Add the baking soda, baking powder, and vanilla, mixing well. Stir in the flour 1 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition.

Lightly grease baking sheets or line them with parchment or silicone. Drop rounded 2-tablespoon portions of dough onto the sheets.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the cookies are firm. (A slight indentation where your finger tests them is allowable.)

Cool the cookies completely; then get ready to fill.

Beat together the filling ingredients, and spread them between whoopie layers. If you’re NOT handing these out to children in bags, feel free to decorate the tops as well.

This recipe makes about 20 filled pies. If you wish, you may make your whoopie pies bigger or smaller than indicated. (Paula likes small ones.)

If you make them bigger, you may have to cook them a little longer; smaller, a little less time.

And now the videos:

Tinky Makes Pam’s Country Ham and Potato Soup on Mass Appeal

Tinky Makes Paula’s Pumpkin Whoopie Pies on Mass Appeal

Even More Apples

Friday, October 20th, 2017

The weather outside is getting nippy in Massachusetts—but I’m keeping the house warm with food and laughter. It’s still apple month so I have stocked up on crisp, local apples and sweet cider.

I love the variety of apples available at my local orchards. Last week at Clarkdale Fruit Farms I sampled a new (to me) apple, the Esopus Spitzenburg. I first fell in love with the name—and then with the flavor.

This heirloom variety was one of Thomas Jefferson’s favorite apples, according to apple grower Ben Clark. Our third president did have good taste.

The Monticello website quotes A.J. Downing, whom it dubs “America’s foremost nineteenth century pomologist” (another great term) on this apple. Downing called the Esopus Spitzenburg “a handsome, truly delicious apple … unsurpassed as a dessert fruit” and considered it “the first of apples.”

I have a lot of apples in the house—but next time I go to Clarkdale I’m going to pick up a bag of Mr. Jefferson’s apples. I have a feeling they would be great for cooking as well as eating.

Meanwhile, on Mass Appeal this week I cooked with what I had in the house: cider and honey-crisp apples.

Franklin County’s annual Cider Days are on the horizon so I made a pot roast with sweet cider.

In cool weather my mind frequently turns to pot roast. I have written before about my go-to pot roast, but this version is also appealing, simultaneously sweet and savory.

After the pot roast, I looked ahead to my favorite holiday, Halloween, with caramel apples festooned with chocolate and other goodies. King Arthur Flour generously sent me both caramel and chocolate. I invited small neighbors over to pre-test the apple recipe below, and they were hugely enthusiastic. So were the youthful hosts on Mass Appeal.

The video below doesn’t show Danny New dumping nuts and sprinkles on our apples (he dumped after the cameras were turned off), but those embellishments are a fun part of any apple decoration.

My Facebook friend Nancy gently admonished me for giving the small neighbors chocolate and sprinkles rather than just nuts—but they made that decision themselves. The nuts, although delicious, are a more adult garnish. 

Whether you’re a sprinkle person or a nut person, do try these recipes. Happy apple month!

Cider Pot Roast

Feel free to add more liquid and spices if you like lots of juice in your pot roast—and maybe to add carrots after the first hour of cooking. Carrots are in season right now, and they complement the other flavors in this dish nicely.

Ingredients:

1-1/2 cups cider
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2 whole cloves
1 3-to-4-pound pot roast
flour as needed
canola oil as needed

Instructions:

Combine the cider, the sugar, the salt, the cinnamon, the ginger, and the cloves. Pour this marinade over the beef, and let it stand, covered, in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Turn and baste from time to time. Remove the roast from the marinade; sprinkle it with flour.

Heat the oil, and brown the meat in it in a pot or Dutch oven. Lower the heat, add the marinade, and cover tightly. Simmer for 3 hours. After the first hour, be sure to turn the roast every half hour or so, and to add more cider if the meat looks a bit dry. When ready to serve, thicken the gravy with flour if desired. Serve with noodles. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

 

Caramel Apples Plus

Ingredients:

3/4 pound caramel (or as much as you like) in block form
1/3 pound milk chocolate, cut up
1/3 pound white chocolate, cut up
4 medium apples
festive seasonal sprinkles, chopped nuts, or any other topping you like (optional)

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 200, and bring water to a boil in the bottom of a double boiler. Place the caramel in the top of the double boiler, and place the milk chocolate and white chocolate in oven-proof bowls.

If your caramel needs it (the package should tell you), add a little water to it. Melt the caramel in the double boiler over low heat, stirring occasionally. While it is melting put sticks in the cores of the apples.

When the caramel has melted, place the bowls of chocolate in the oven. Dip the apples in the caramel, gently swirling to cover them. Place the dipped apples on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.

Take the chocolates out of the oven, and stir to confirm that they have melted. (Melting them takes 10 to 15 minutes in the oven.) Use a spoon to drizzle the chocolate over the apples.

If you wish for extra bling, throw a few sprinkles or nuts on top of the apples before the chocolate hardens. Then wait for it to harden before digging in. (Waiting is the hard part!) Makes 4 delicious apples. These are best consumed cut into segments.

And now the videos:

Tinky Makes Cider Pot Roast on Mass Appeal

Tinky Makes Caramel Apples Plus on Mass Appeal

Holy Pumpkin!

Thursday, October 29th, 2015

witchhat copy

Readers of this blog may be under the impression that I eat rich desserts all the time. Actually, my usual dessert (if I eat one) is a piece of fresh fruit. I do post a lot of dessert recipes, however; I’m proud of my baking, and I love to see people enjoy something sinfully sweet, even when I’m dieting.

In any case, one HAS to post something sweet for Halloween! So I’m sharing the formula for the chocolate-chip pumpkin cake I made this week on Mass Appeal. My appearance came the day after co-host Seth Stutman’s 30th birthday so I felt obliged to make a cake. Seth appeared pleased—and he certainly enjoyed the cake.

(Bill Collins, who cooked on the show the day before, did light a candle on a cheesecake, but that chef didn’t sing “Happy Birthday.” And a birthday isn’t a birthday without a serenade.)

I also made a satisfying version of my Irish Stout Cheese using yellow cheddar cheese to make it seasonal and an Oktoberfest ale instead of the stout. Personally, if I had to choose between cheese and cake, I would choose cheese. I’m glad no one is forcing me to make this excruciating decision!

The videos are embedded below. The gist of the cake-making is in the first video about that (the second one below); tune into the follow-up video only if you’re a fan of sprinkles and loud singing. (I like both.)

Cocoa, Rhubarb, and I wish everyone a Happy Halloween!

Halloween dogweb

Pumpkin Cake with Chocolate Chips

Ingredients:

1-1/2 cups non-GMO canola oil
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoons cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3-1/8 cups flour
2 cups pumpkin puree (or 1 15-ounce can)
2 cups chocolate chips

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a large bundt pan. Mix the oil and sugar in a large bowl. Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each egg. Beat in the vanilla, followed by the baking powder, the baking soda, and the spices. Stir in the flour, followed by the pumpkin and the chocolate chips.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the cake tests done (about an hour). Ice with cream-cheese frosting and seasonal sprinkles. Serves 10 to 12.

And here are the videos:

Claire’s Spooky Whoopie Pies

Friday, October 29th, 2010

 
A few months ago my sister-in-law Leigh came home from her friend Claire Bradshaw’s house with several delectable whoopee pies.
 
The first thing I did was eat one, of course!
 
The second thing I did was call Claire and ask her for her recipe.
 
These pies are versatile. They can be filled with a marshmallow filling or a peanut butter filling. For Christmas I’m thinking of trying peppermint! I’m sure you’ll hear about that experiment.
 
Meanwhile, a plain butter frosting with a little spooky topping will stand me in good stead for Halloween. 

Claire suggested the spider-web design, and I’m sure she would do it much more neatly than I did (not a hard feat!).

 
Claire’s Spider-Web Pies
 
Ingredients:
 
for the pies:
 
1/2 cup (1 stick) sweet butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
5 tablespoons cocoa
1 cup milk
 
for the filling:
 
1 cup (2 sticks) sweet butter at room temperature
confectioner’s sugar as necessary to achieve desired consistency (I used about 2-1/2 cups)
2 teaspoons vanilla
milk or cream if necessary to stir
 
for assembly: 

candies and/or sprinkles if desired

 
Instructions:
 
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease 3 nonstick baking sheets. (You may use silicone or parchment, but I found that these particular cookies stick less on well greased sheets.)
 
In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar until they are creamy. Beat in the egg, the soda and salt, and the vanilla.
 
In another bowl combine the flour and cocoa. Add this mixture to the butter mixture, alternating with the milk. Combine just until smooth.
 
Drop tablespoons of the dough onto your cookie sheets 2 inches apart. (I used a little cookie scoop I got from King Arthur Flour to make the cookies as uniform as possible.)
 
Bake the cookies until they are firm when lightly touched (about 10 minutes).
 
Remove the cookies from the sheets as quickly as you can and put them on racks to cool completely.
 
When the cookies are cool make your filling. Beat the butter until it is soft; then add the confectioner’s sugar a little at a time. It will be a bit lumpy, but the vanilla should make everything adhere nicely. If it doesn’t, stir in a little milk or cream.
 
Spread a small amount of filling on the bottom of one cookie and top it with another cookie to make a little sandwich. Continue until all of your sandwiches are complete.
 

For extra Halloween fun, pipe a little filling on top of some of the pies in a spider web pattern and put a little candy spider in the web. I gave up on this project fairly quickly because I’m hopeless at making things like spider webs. You could also spread a little filling on top of some of the pies. Or just enjoy the chocolaty goodness without any adornment.

Truffle was not allowed to sample these particular treats, but she still hopes for some kind of Halloween handout.

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Teri’s Pumpkin Cake

Friday, October 30th, 2009

Teri's Pumpkin Cake web

 
Before I get to today’s recipe, I’d like to remind readers about my beloved Pudding Hollow Pudding Festival, scheduled for TOMORRROW—Halloween!
 
Anyone within shouting distance of western Massachusetts should definitely come (and perhaps enter the festival’s pudding contest). This event offers food, music, and lots of fun.
 
You may come as you are, of course, but there WILL be a prize for best costume for those who feel like dressing up.
 
AND I wanted to mention that we have a winner in the drawng for the book The Perfect Pumpkin. Congratulations to Madge Solomon of Falls Church, Virgnia! I hope to have another drawing soon.
 
Now, on to a perfect Halloween recipe. This cake is ideal for the season—moist, full of good things (a treat), and a little surprising (a treat).
 
I learned to make it from my graduate-school friend Teri Tynes. Teri is smart, vivacious, and just plain fun. Her award-winning blog, Walking Off the Big Apple, is the thinking woman’s (and yes, the thinking man’s) guide to New York.
 
Teri uses her vast knowledge of American culture and history to view the city through the prisms of art, literature, fashion, and photography.
 
I love to make her pumpkin cake at this time of year and think of her.
 
The Cake: 
 
Ingredients: 
 
1-1/2 cups canola oil
2 cups sugar
3-1/8 cups flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons allspice
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups mashed pumpkin
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped nuts
1 cup raisins
 
My friend Chas grew this lovely little pumpkin.

My friend Chas grew this lovely little pumpkin.

 
Instructions:
 
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 10-inch Bundt pan (or spray it with Baker’s Joy). Mix the oil and sugar in a large bowl. Combine 3 cups of the flour and the other dry ingredients and add them to the oil and sugar along with the pumpkin. (Reserve the remaining flour.) Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.
 
In a separate bowl, mix the remaining 1/8 cup flour with the nuts and raisins. Add them to the batter. Spoon into the prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Frost with raisin frosting. Serves 10 to 12.
 
Teri’s Secret Raisin Frosting
 
This icing is a bit tricky. It can almost burn if you don’t stir carefully. It looks a little strange and lumpy as it goes on the cake, but the texture of the final product is one of its joys. I love the fact that it’s SUPPOSED to look messy since most of my baked goods look that way anyway.
 
Ingredients:
 
1 cup evaporated milk
1 cup sugar
3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1/2 cup (1 stick) sweet butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup raisins (plus a few more if you can’t resist; I usually just throw them in impulsively)
1 generous handful of flaked, sweetened coconut
 
Instructions:
 
Combine the first 5 ingredients in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat for 12 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in the coconut and raisins. Let the frosting stand for a minute (or maybe 2 or 3) to cool slightly. Spoon and spread it generously over your pumpkin cake.  
 
I was hoping to look exotic and gorgeous in these glasses, like Halle Berry in "Catwoman." Instead, I'm afraid I look more like Gloria Swanson in "Sunset Boulevard"--creepy and middle aged. In any case, I wish you a Happy Halloween!

I was hoping to look exotic and gorgeous in these glasses, like Halle Berry in "Catwoman." Instead, I'm afraid I look more like Gloria Swanson in "Sunset Boulevard"--creepy and middle aged. Oh, well ... Halle, Gloria, and Tinky all wish you a Happy Halloween!

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