Thursday, October 18, 2012

Halloween dessert bar

Halloween Dessert Bar

As one who adamantly dislikes horror movies, it is a bit ironic that Halloween is one of my all time favorite holidays.
 Admittedly, my tastes veer more towards mysterious and mystical than outright gore and ghoulishness, more Edgar Allen Poe than anything with a chain saw.

But it really only takes a few subtly spooky touches to add some magic to your house even if temporarily. Here are a few very budget friendly tricks and treats to whip up with some simple how-tos.

Melted Witches
Crystal Ball Cupcakes
Day of the Dead Sugar Skulls
Crunchy Bones

Melted Witches!

These are fun to make in a variety of different colors or flavors!
For the brooms I molded either a piece of cut licorice or half a starburst around small pretzel rods. The starbust will soften in your hands and I then marked them with a knife to create bristles. I sprinkled the witches with a little sugar for sparkle.

Crystal Ball Cupcakes
A dessert that tells your future?
The magic of turning sugar into glass doesn't require a magic wand, just a few kitchen basics.
 I adapted this recipe from for clear hard candy omitting flavoring as I wanted as clear finish as possible. The candy has a mild sweet taste and be careful it is tough on the chompers so I just used mine for decoration. Also as I didn't have high heat resistant candy molds I used ordinary muffin tins. I used a combo of store bought and homemade cupcakes in simple white and chocolate.
Sugar glass has so many possibilities, I am sure it will reappear in different incarnations in recipes to come. It is often used as a replacement for in stunts in movies- but it can still be quite sharp. 

My not-so magic potion
Be very cautious as this liquid is extremely hot!
I used two size muffin tins pouring enough liquid to just cover bottom.
This photo shows the depth
To remove from tins- press firmly on the underside of the tin in the center of each "cup" the sugar disk should "POP" free- or can be easily pried out.
 There will be some casualties but these can be repackaged as "broken glass candy" !
bubbles add mystery!

I layered them on a cake tier with cheesecloth underneath and topped with a Raven

Day of the Dead Sugar Skulls

These are such fun to make! In Mexico creating Sugar Skulls is an art form, but not wanting to apprentice to a confectioner, I adapted a simple candy clay recipe from
Milwaukee is a long way from Mexico but -----

Authentic sugar skulls require an elaborate recipe and special molds which can be tricky to find and a bit pricey so this is a budget friendly version in the same spirit. I nestled them on a bed of colored cotton candy and silver tray (both Dollar Store)

Five ingredients! I mix it in the sink as anytime I use confectioners sugar my kitchen looks like a Christmas village
Mold a simple skull shape: add more sugar if necessary
For the eyes: That all purpose kitchen tool, the plastic cocktail stirrer 
I used a small knife to create smiles. You could leave them like this for Halloween

I added flower shaped sprinkles, sugar pearls and jimmies for teeth

*These are very sweet- like eating frosting out of the bowl so a little goes a long way

Crunchy Puff Pastry Bones

These are so fun and easy: basically one ingredient and whatever herbs or spices you choose to add!
I made the "bones" from this recipe 
I made a few batches and found they took considerably longer to brown than suggested- up to 20 plus minutes - depending on the size. I sprayed mine with cooking spray and added sea salt and garlic for a savory bite but a sweet version with cinnamon and sugar would be fun to try too!
I cut the thawed puff pastry in thin strips with a pizza cutter
to form ends wrap like you are starting to tie a knot in the ends of the dough
each one will be a little different- like real ones! 

bake @ 375 until golden and crispy!

They're a fun light snack or served with soup and salad
Here good old tomato soup gets some holiday flare

I put some plain Greek yogurt in a plastic baggy, poked a hole in the end and piped some spooky garnishes. Plastic spiders on napkin rings add to the creepiness!
Bon Appetite!

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