Month: October 2012

Halloween & Fall Ideas II


Here’s my Halloween/Fall recipe roundup for this year! Hope you are all enjoying the season.

1. Pumpkin Cupcakes
2. Pumpkin Raisin Bread
3. Mummy Cupcakes
4. Halloween Brownies
5. Hoot Owl Cupcakes
6. Pumpkin Sandwich Cookies
7. Trick-or-Treat Rice Krispie Treats
8. Pumpkin Pi Cookies
9. Frankenstein Cupcakes
10. Pumpkin Cupcakes II
11. Caramel Apple Cake
12. Candy Corn Gummy Cupcakes
13. Sparkling Candy Corn Cookies
14. Spider Cupcakes
15. Day of the Dead Cookies
16. Monster Cupcakes

Day of the Dead Cookies


Most Americans celebrate Halloween but are unaware of another interesting holiday: the Day of the Dead (Dia de Los Muertos, if you know Spanish). The Day of the Dead is celebrated primarily in Mexico, but extends throughout the world. Family and friends gather together to pray for and remember loved ones who have died.

The Day of the Dead is celebrated on November 1st and 2nd, and the 2nd is a national holiday in Mexico. Babies’ spirits return to their parent’s home on November 1 and the spirits of dead adults return home November 2. Traditions associated with the holiday include honoring the deceased with sugar skulls, marigolds, and favorite foods, beverages, and trinkets of the deceased. Gifts are left at the deceased’s grave.

While this holiday may appear to be morbid at first glance, it’s actual considered a time of celebration and reflection.

I wanted to make cookies that resembled the traditional sugar skulls. There are so many amazing bakers out there who have made truly stunning cookies for this occasion – see for yourself here, here, and here.

I decided to make my cookies with candy instead of just royal icing.

Day of the Dead Cookies
Cookie/icing recipes from annies-eats.com
Print Recipe

Almond Flavored Sugar Cookies
1 cup butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 egg, beaten
1-1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
2-1/2 cups sifted flour

Directions:
Cream butter. Add powdered sugar. Blend in egg, almond extract, vanilla, salt and flour. Chill dough until firm. Roll to ¼” thickness on well-floured surface. Cut with cookie cutters. Place on greased cookie sheets. Bake at 375° for 8-10 min. Cookies should not brown. Frost and decorate when cool. Yield will depend on size of cookies.

White Royal Icing
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 Tablespoons meringue powder
5 Tablespoons water

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the sheen has disappeared and the icing has a matte appearance (about 7-10 minutes). Transfer the contents of the mixing bowl to an air-tight container. This will be the stiffest consistency of the icing, and at this point it is still too stiff to use for decorating. Add water a very small amount at a time and stir by hand until fully incorporated. Continue until the icing has reached a consistency appropriate for piping.

Decorating Instructions:

  • Refer to Annie’s Eats for her tutorial on royal icing – and how to outline, flood, etc.
  • I used a Wilton soft-grip skull cookie cutter for these cookies.
  • I outlined and flooded the pumpkins with white royal icing. Some people add white coloring to achieve an extra bright hue, but I don’t think this is necessary.
  • Once the icing dried completely, I outlined the skull again with a thin line of icing — then dipped the cookie into sprinkles. I used a variety of colors.
  • The eyes are Starlight mints – in peppermint and spearmint. I glued them onto the cookie using a dab of royal icing. I placed a large round sprinkle on top, then a candy button on top of that to create a more three-dimensional look. [Candy buttons are those treats from your childhood – the little dots of sugar that are sold on white strips of paper.]
  • The noses are two chocolate-covered sunflower seeds “glued” onto each cookie.
  • The teeth are white licorice candies (white Good ‘n’ Plenties will also work), “glued” to each cookie with icing. Then I piped a smile across the teeth using royal icing tinted black.
  • I used other decorations (like more candy buttons, or slices of rainbow Twizzlers, or little skull candies) to embellish the rest of each skull.

Pumpkin Pi Cookies


Halloween is 1 week away! Also, I want to say hi to Linzy! Thanks for reading my blog as much as you do – and I love that you and your Dad enjoy baking together. I got my love of cooking/baking from my dad, too. :)

Today’s post is a merger between Halloween and Thanksgiving.

It is no secret that I’m not a huge fan of anything having to do with pumpkin. I don’t like pumpkin lattes, I don’t like pumpkin cookies, and I REALLY don’t like pumpkin pie. But then I saw these cookies over at Bake at 350 and fell in love. They combine my love of cookies, puns, and math/science. Perfection! Also, Bridget from Bake at 350 has a new book out – all about how to decorate cookies with royal icing. It’s called “Decorating Cookies: 60+ Designs for Holidays, Celebrations & Everyday” and it is amazing. If you want to learn how to decorate these kinds of cookies, buy her book! I am not being paid or compensated to say this, I just really love her book.

Pumpkin Pi Cookies
Inspired by: Bake at 350, cookie/icing recipes from annies-eats.com
Print Recipe

Almond Flavored Sugar Cookies
1 cup butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 egg, beaten
1-1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
2-1/2 cups sifted flour

Directions:
Cream butter. Add powdered sugar. Blend in egg, almond extract, vanilla, salt and flour. Chill dough until firm. Roll to ¼” thickness on well-floured surface. Cut with cookie cutters. Place on greased cookie sheets. Bake at 375° for 8-10 min. Cookies should not brown. Frost and decorate when cool. Yield will depend on size of cookies.

White Royal Icing
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 Tablespoons meringue powder
5 Tablespoons water

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the sheen has disappeared and the icing has a matte appearance (about 7-10 minutes). Transfer the contents of the mixing bowl to an air-tight container. This will be the stiffest consistency of the icing, and at this point it is still too stiff to use for decorating. Add water a very small amount at a time and stir by hand until fully incorporated. Continue until the icing has reached a consistency appropriate for piping.

Decorating Instructions:

  • Refer to Annie’s Eats for her tutorial on royal icing – and how to outline, flood, etc.
  • I used a Wilton soft-grip pumpkin cookie cutter for these cookies.
  • I outlined and flooded the pumpkins with orange icing; using Wilton’s gel food coloring to achieve the bright orange.
  • I piped the stem using a small round tip and Wilton’s gel coloring in “Leaf Green”
  • Once the cookies were dried completely, I piped the symbol for pi onto the cookie using a slightly larger round tip and icing dyed with AmeriColor’s Super Black.

Candy Corn Cookie Cake


Candy corn is one of those polarizing candies – you either love it or hate it. I love it… for about 5 minutes. Then I want nothing to do with it until next Halloween. But just about anything having to do with a cookie cake is great in my book. I made this cookie cake last month – but this time it has a Halloween twist.

Candy Corn Cookie Cake
Recipe source: dineanddish.net
Print Recipe

1 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour, plus 4 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips [I used mini chips for this one, they worked really well!]

1. Beat butter and sugars together.
2. Add eggs and vanilla.
3. Mix flour, salt, baking soda, and cream of tartar.
4. Add dry ingredients to the batter and mix until well blended.
5. Stir in chocolate chips.
6. Spread dough into a 15 1/2 inch round pan.
7. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

I spread a layer of vanilla frosting on top of the cake and then topped with candy corn. Be creative with your design!

Monster Cupcakes


Boo! Halloween is less than two weeks away! Do you have your costume planned? Candy ready to hand out to the kids? I always loved the houses that handed out chocolate candies – or even better, the houses that handed out full-sized candy bars. Jackpot! The duds were the houses that gave raisins (“Nature’s candy!” according to Parks and Recreation), apples, or dimes. Don’t be that house. It’s the Halloween season and we should all indulge a little bit.

If you need to make cupcakes for an office party or for your kid’s Halloween party at school, give these a try. They are so simple to do!

Monster Cupcakes
Print Recipe

2 boxes of cake mix (plus required eggs and oil)
A few batches of buttercream icing
Mini cupcake liners
Colorful full-sized cupcake liners
Various piping tips and bags
Various food colorings
Dum-Dums
Gummy rings
M&Ms (or another small candy – Skittles would also work)

1. Make a batch of full-sized cupcakes and a batch of mini cupcakes.
2. Once all of the cupcakes are cool, remove the mini cupcakes from their liners. Using a dab of icing, “glue” each mini cupcake onto the full sized cupcake. This will help to create the dome shape you can see in the above photo.
3. Divide the buttercream frosting and tint each with a different color. The colors are up to you!
4. Using a variety of piping tips, pipe the frosting onto each cupcake. No need to be perfect – they are monster cupcakes! Be crazy. And because I know you’ll ask, here are the tips I used: Wilton #16 (red), Wilton #47 (orange), Wilton #352 (yellow), Wilton #21 (green), Wilton #8 (blue), and Wilton #233 (purple).
5. Next, assemble the “eyes”. Unwrap the lollipops and stretch a gummy ring around each. Using a dab of frosting, “glue” an M&M to each lollipop. Stick the “eyes” into each cupcake.

That’s it! I’ll have a few more Halloween recipes up next week – so check back!