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Entries in halloween (29)

Tuesday
Oct252011

Boo-Meringues: Meringue Skulls Recipe for Serious Eats

What do you get when you combine spooky skulls and sweet meringues?

Boo-meringues, of course!

If you need a moment to groan at that joke, I completely understand. But what's no joke is that these ghoulish meringues are simple to make, but even more fun to serve: personalize your skulls with funny faces to add some sweet charm to your Halloween fete.

For the full entry and recipe, visit Serious Eats!

Monday
Oct102011

Pop and Corn: Candy Corn Popcorn Balls Recipe for Serious Eats

Legend has it that Candy Corn is named for its coloring, which is inspired by the gradient of a kernel of corn. Sweet as this story may be, I've got to squint really hard to see the resemblance.

Nonetheless, I'm happy to bring the iconic tricolor treat together with popped kernels of its namesake, in the form of Candy Corn Popcorn Balls. These sweet marshmallow-based popcorn balls work beautifully when studded with candy corn; adding an extra shake of salt makes for a sweet, salty, crunchy, crispy, sticky, and overall pretty irresistible fall treat.

For the full entry and recipe, visit Serious Eats!

Friday
Oct072011

Trick or Sweet: Mellowcreme Pumpkin Shaped Cake Recipe for Serious Eats

Candy corn may be popular, come Halloween. But I, for one, think that its cousin, the Mellowcreme Pumpkin, deserves far more love and attention. Its larger surface area makes for a chewier-textured candy, and its pumpkin shape is just so cute.

And so I'm putting these pumpkins on a pedestal—literally—in a full-sized cake form tribute to the Mellowcreme Pumpkin. The look may not be exact, but I hope you'll forgive me when you taste it: made using a pumpkin cake generously coated in tinted cream cheese frosting, this is a highly delicious homage to a second-banana Halloween sweet.

For the full entry and recipe, visit Serious Eats!

Thursday
Nov042010

A-Maize-Ing: Creamed Candy Corn for Serious Eats

Halloween's over, and chances are, you've got a bunch of leftover candy corn. But what to do with all those extra tricolor kernels?

Here's an idea: cream them. That is, creamed corn style.

Starting with a recipe for creamed corn, I simply revised it a little, substituting candy corn for real corn, and leaving out the pepper and spices in favor of a little pudding mix to thicken the mixture. The resulting candy corn slurry is certainly one of those dishes that straddles the line between awful and awesome: that is to say, you might just like it, but you probably wouldn't confess that to your foodie friends.

Note: It is of utmost importance that you add the candy corn after the other ingredients. Add it at the same time and you'll end up with an orange, candy corn-flavored soup because they'll melt completely!

For the full post and recipe, visit Serious Eats!

Friday
Oct292010

Baker's Dozen: A Batch of Sweet Links

Boo! It's Halloween weekend, and therefore, I've put together a collection of mostly ghostly links for you to enjoy before you put on your costume and gorge yourself silly with candy:

Sweet skulls: Whimzkulls is a company dedicated to making cookies decorated like skulls!

DailyCandy offers up a very cute gift guide for baking enthusiasts.

The Best Chocolate Rugelach in Midtown (an exclusive from Blondie & Brownie)

Any establishment that offers a "Couture Cookies and Granola" menu is just fine by me!

Bakery lust: a London-based customer tipped me off to the beauty that is Fleet River Bakery.

What does Jell-O dress up as for Halloween? Halloween Jigglers, duh!

Because "Fun Size" is a lie: Ideas for how to put the "fun" back in "fun size".

Peanut Butter Cookie Pops: Scary-cute fun!

Things I want to eat: Choc-O-Lantern Fudge Pop-Tarts, a special edition for Halloween!

Scary delicious: Halloween treats by Jacques Torres.

Pie in the sky: Keep this one in mind for your Halloween candy leftovers.

Sweet Memories: Candy Corn Nanaimo Bars!

More Sweet Memories: Messing with leftover Halloween Candy!

Wednesday
Oct272010

Trick Or Sweet: A Look at the History of the Custom of Trick or Treating

Trick or treating. The very phrase evokes a shiver of sweet, sugary anticipation, because basically, it usually culminates in the consumption of candy.

But where on earth did this sweet tradition come from? Let's learn a bit about the history of Halloween and how it ultimately equaled candy corn overdose, shall we?

First: What is Halloween? Per the Encyclopedia,

The word comes from medieval England's All Hallows' eve (Old Eng. hallow = "saint" ). However, many of these customs predate Christianity, going back to Celtic practices associated with Nov. 1, which was Samhain , the beginning of winter and the Celtic new year. Witches and other evil spirits were believed to roam the earth on this evening, playing tricks on human beings to mark the season of diminishing sunlight. Bonfires were lit, offerings were made of dainty foods and sweets, and people would disguise themselves as one of the roaming spirits, to avoid demonic persecution.

Per this site, it is the Celts who are credited with bringing Halloween stateside:

Halloween was brought to America in the 1840's by Irish immigrant fleeing their country's potato famine. New England added pranks like tipping over outhouses and unhinging gates to the practive of dressing up.

But what of Trick or Treating itself? From the same source cited above,

"Trick-or-treating" came from a 9th century European custom called "souling." On November 2, All Souls Day, Christians would walk from village to village begging for "soul cakes" made from bread and currants. People would offer paryers for the deceased believing it would speed up a soul's passage to heaven. The more cakes given out, the more prayers offered.

Of course, it wasn't really til the 20th century that Trick or Treating really began in earnest. Now, I'm just spitballing here, but it seems rather timely that this coincides with a large increase with commercial production of candy. Per an article I discovered on What's Cooking America,

"Sometime in the middle of the 1930s, enterprising householders, fed up with soaped windows and worse, began experimenting with a home-based variation on the old protection racket practiced between shopkeepers and Thanksgiving ragamuffins. Doris Hudson Moss, writing for American Home in 1939, told of her success, begun several years earlier, of hosting a Halloween open house for neighborhood children...The American Home article is significant because it is apparently the first time the expression "trick or treat" is used in a mass-circulation periodical in the United States...It is probably that trick-or-treating had its immediate origins in thy myriad of organized celebrations mounted by schools and civic groups across the country specifically to curb vandalism...It is the postwar years that are generally regarded as the glorious heyday of trick-or-treating. Like the consumer economy, Halloween itself grew by leaps and bounds. Major candy companies like Curtiss and Brach, no longer constrained by sugar rationing, launched national advertising campaigns specifically aimed at Halloween. If trick-or-treating had previously been a localized, hit-or-miss phenomenon, it was now a national duty." ---Death Makes a Holiday: A Cultural History of Halloween, David J. Skal [Bloomsbury:New York] 2002 (p. 52-5)

As I also learned on What's Cooking America,

After World War II, the American practice of Trick-or-Treat began in earnest. Sprawing suburban neighborhoods delighted in watching costumed boomer children "beg" from door to door. Traditional Halloween party foods (candied/toffee apples, popcorn balls, nuts) were proferred along with pre-wrapped commercial candies. Savvy candy companies capitalized on this lucrative opportunity by selling seasonal packages containing smaller sized products. "Back in the Day" (your editor trick-or-treated on Long Island in the 1960s) it was fairly usual to get little decorative halloween bags containing all sorts of things. These were assembled at home, usually composed of loose candies (candy corn, Hershey Kisses, marsmallows, MaryJanes or Tootsie Rolls, etc.), some pennies and maybe a small toy. We also carried little milk-carton shaped boxes distributed in school and said "Trick or Treat for Unicef." Beginning in 1952, UNICEF's halloween program thrives today.

As for the Fun-Size treat?

As I learned here,

The "fun size" candy bar was introduced in 1968 by the Mars candy company. The resulting "fun size" Milky Way candy bars were 25 percent lower in total calories and had 50 percent fewer calories from fat.

But knowing that doesn't change the fact that if I could, I'd go back in time and punch the inventor. Because seriously--there is nothing fun about less candy (but here are some suggestions for how to bring the "fun" back to fun size).

Have a happy, safe, and sweet Halloween!

Tuesday
Oct262010

Trick or Sweet: Peanut Butter Cookies on a Stick for Peanut Butter and Co.

CakeSpy Note: You knew I did recipes for Peanut Butter & Co., right? Here's my latest one.

There are probably foods out there that aren’t improved by being served on a stick, but none come to mind at the moment.

But which one is the most fun to serve around Halloween? My vote goes to these peanut butter cookies on a stick. They’re part trick, decorated to look like pumpkins–but they’re even more treat, with a rich, cakey texture and rich, peanut buttery flavor that is far more delicious than any fun-size candy bar could ever hope to be.

For the full entry, visit Peanut Butter & Co.!

Tuesday
Oct262010

Things That Go Wiggle In the Night: Halloween Jell-O Jigglers for Serious Eats

Around Halloween, a lot of attention is given to things that go bump in the night. But for a moment, let's consider things that wobble: the Jell-O Jiggler.

Starting with the classic recipe from the Jell-O website, it's easy to trick out these wiggly, wobbly treats in Halloween shapes for a crowd-pleasing party snack. Of course, I'd advise against handing them out to trick-or-treaters, because there's no bigger bummer than a soggy sack of candy.

For the full entry and tutorial, check out Serious Eats!

Wednesday
Oct202010

Fry, Baby: Deep-Fried Halloween Candy for Serious Eats

It's a funny thing about Halloween candy: it actually makes you hungrier. At least, that's my theory behind how the same person who can't finish off an entire candy bar can easily put away ten "fun size" candy bars or 30 mellowcreme pumpkins in one sitting.

But there's a way to bring a substantial dimension of deliciousness to your Halloween candy: deep-fry it.

That's right. Batter up your Halloween candy and fry it in hot oil, and you've got yourself little nuggets that are beyond decadent, and bound to satisfy—one or two of these morsels is more than enough.

Note: I tried a variety of Halloween candies in this experiment, including candy corn, mellowcreme pumpkins, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Twix, Kit-Kats, and Whoppers. The biggest hit by far was the Peanut butter cups.

For the full entry and recipe, visit Serious Eats!

Monday
Oct042010

Trick or Sweet: Candy Corn Kaleidoscope Cookies for Serious Eats

It's October, and you know what that means: it's officially candy corn season.

But if you appreciate the iconic look more than the mellowcreme taste of the stuff, here's a solution: a reconfiguration of the Kaleidoscope Cooky (yes, cooky) from the Betty Crocker's Cooky Book, made to resemble the tricolor confection. Lightly crumbly, very buttery, and extremely crowd-pleasing, these cookies are a totally sweet tricked-out treat.

Note: This recipe is designed to feed a crowd; I have in the past halved it with fine results. Also, if shaping the dough into the candy corn shape seems too fussy, they're just as festive as Halloween-hued rounds.

For the full entry and recipe, visit Serious Eats!

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