Baking And Decorating Tips For Halloween
Monday, October 24, 2011
Aired 10/24/11 on KPBS Midday Edition.
Halloween is becoming as big a holiday as Christmas in terms of decorating the house and putting on parties. Today's guests have some do-it-yourself tips and ideas for how you can celebrate the holiday.
Halloween Activities in San Diego
Halloween is becoming as big a holiday as Christmas in terms of decorating the house and putting on parties. Today's guests have some do-it-yourself tips and ideas for how you can celebrate the holiday. Amy Finley is a traveler, cook, and writer, and author of the blog How to Eat a Small Country, and she has some recipe suggestions for adults or for your kid's classroom party. Kurtis Strange is a filmmaker with a love for the holiday and for continually adding to his year round haunted house he's been constructing in his back yard. And watch Evening Edition on Friday to see some make up tips for extreme Halloween makeovers.
Here are Amy's recipes.
Oh, the humanity! Oh, the poor, sweet, innocent cookie bars! Who would do such a grisly thing!?
1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
½ cup sugar
1 egg yolk
¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup assorted Halloween candy (autumn mix—with candy corn and candy pumpkins—and malt balls looks great)
2 tablespoons cherry preserves
Preheat the oven to 325°. Generously butter a long rectangular baking pan or 8” round tart pan with a removable bottom. (Or, the bottom and sides of a tinfoil baking dish you can peel away when the cookie’s finished.)
In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until very light. Drizzle over the egg yolk and mix until thoroughly combined. Mix in the flour and salt on low speed, just until combined. Don’t over mix! (That’s a whole different level of baking horror.)
Pat the dough into the pan with greased fingertips and bake until pale golden brown and just set in the center, about 15-20 minutes.
While the dough is baking, with a large butcher’s knife (the bigger, the more horrific), roughly chop the Halloween candy into shards and bits.
Take the cookie bar out of the oven and, while still warm, scatter the well-knifed candy over the top, gently pressing it into the cookie before it hardens. Remember, you’re creating a crime scene. Be theatrical!
Microwave the preserves in a small dish for 15 seconds, until thinned. With a spoon, drizzle the bloody jam over the candy, letting little clotted bits accumulate on top of the pumpkins, etc.
Ghoulish and sickly green, crawling with slimy, slithering gummi worms, these jell-o shots will disappear quickly down the throats of your victims…er, guests.
1 6 oz. package lime jell-o
2 dozen gummi worms (Black Forest makes the tastiest and most colorful)
Equipment: 12 Clear shot glasses or other miniature serving pieces
Follow the speed-set directions on the jell-o packaging. In a glass bowl, dissolve the gelatin in 1 ½ cups boiling water until starting to thicken. In a large measuring cup, add ice cubs to 1 cup of cold water to bring the level to 2 ½ cups. Mix the cold liquid (and ice cubes) into the hot gelatin and stir until starting to set. Skim out any remaining ice cubes. Divide the gummi worms between the shot glasses, curling some into the bottom and letting some wiggle over the top. Ladle the gelatin into the shot glasses and refrigerate until set.
Mix the jell-o powder and boiling water together as above, then stir in 6 oz. cold water and 10 oz. vodka before proceeding as above. Bwahhahaha…
I can’t remember back to 1958, when this classic horror film starring Steve McQueen debuted, but I can remember the drive-in scene in Grease, the preview for The Blob! playing in the background on the big screen. Just like the blob in the film escaping through the theater doors, when you spoon into them, these molten center chocolate cakes ooze decadent chocolate creepiness all over your plates.
½ c. (1 stick) unsalted butter (plus extra for the ramekins)
4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips (about ½ c. plus 1 tablespoon)
2 egg yolks
½ tsp. kosher salt
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour (plus extra for the ramekins)
Preheat the oven to 450°. Generously butter and flour 4 6-8oz. ramekins and set aside.
In a glass or ceramic bowl, microwave the butter and chocolate chips for 1 minute on full-power until the butter is nearly melted. With a wooden spoon, stir the chips and butter together until completely melted and combined. Set aside to cool slightly.
In the bowl of a mixer, with the whip attachment, beat the eggs, egg yolks, and sugar to the ribbon stage, about 5 minutes. (It should be thick, pale yellow, and fluffy. When you lift the whip out of the mixture, it should fall back into the bowl in a thick ribbon. Thus, ribbon stage.)
Dollop a spoon or two of the egg mixture into the melted chocolate/butter, and stir to combine. (This is called tempering and will prevent the warm chocolate from separating into shards when you add it to the cool/cold egg mixture.) With the mixture running, drizzle the chocolate mixture back into the egg yolks and beat until combined. Add the flour and mix on medium-low speed, just until incorporated.
Divide the batter between the four ramekins. You can now either, a) bake the cakes right away, or b) refrigerate or freeze them until you’re ready. (If you’re baking from frozen or refrigerated, remove from the fridge/freezer well before baking and allow to warm up to room temperature.) Bake the cakes 7-8 minutes, just until puffed and a thin crust has formed. The centers should still be wobbly. Invert the cakes on serving plates and let stand 1-2 minutes, then remove ramekin carefully, exposing the trembling cake. Serve immediately.
Extra credit: "The Blob!" premiered with "I Married a Monster from Outer Space:" fashion an amoeba-like Simpsons’s-esque alien out of a scoop of pistachio ice cream decorated with two miniature jaw breakers for eyes. (Make pupils out of black sprinkles, affixed to the jaw breakers with some of the egg white left over from the recipe, above.) Freeze your aliens on a sheet pan until ready to serve. Place atop blob cake at service.
Amy Finley is a traveler, cook, and writer, and author of the blog How to Eat a Small Country.
Kurtis Strange is a filmmaker with a love for the holiday and for continually adding to his year round haunted house he's been constructing in his back yard.