Ghoulish Goodies: Creature Feature Cupcakes, Monster Eyeballs, Bat Wings, Funny Bones, Witches' Knuckles, and Much More!

Ghoulish Goodies: Creature Feature Cupcakes, Monster Eyeballs, Bat Wings, Funny Bones, Witches' Knuckles, and Much More!

by Sharon Bowers

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Overview

Scare up some frightful fun! Sharon Bowers shows you how to add a ghostly thrill to Halloween parties, kids’ birthdays, and scary movie nights with more than 70 easy-to-make recipes for terrifying treats, wicked brews, and spooky savories. The irresistible ickiness of Monster Eyeballs, Swamp Creature Toes, Ghost Lollipops, Bandaged Fingers, and many more deliciously ghoulish goodies will delight partygoers of all ages. Get ready for a ghastly great time as you serve up these delectable, spine-chilling confections.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781603426619
Publisher: Storey Books
Publication date: 06/13/2016
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 160
File size: 12 MB
Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

About the Author

Sharon Bowers is the author of Ghoulish Goodies, Candy Construction, and The Lazy Way to Cook Your Meals. She lives in New York City and Dublin, Ireland
 

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

Candy and Goodies

When I was a greedy child, I spurned homemade Halloween goodies in favor of amassing packaged stuff in shiny wrappers. It wasn't until I was a greedy adult that I truly realized the value of homemade candy — better flavor, fewer chemical additives, and a lot more fun in the making. Even if your children think they'd rather have a candy bar, they'll join you in the kitchen with joy and gratitude (well, joy) to help dip apples in caramel, shape popcorn balls, or roll plump little chocolate mice in cocoa.

I don't think homemade candy should be a specialty niche, so I shy away from complicated equipment in favor of winging it with what's already on hand (shaping white chocolate ghosts with the back of a spoon, for example). And since I'm a cook who's always had bad luck with traditional fudge recipes, for example, these versions are easy and foolproof. An instant-read thermometer is the one tool that's indispensable for some recipes. For the safest and best results, don't attempt to make Caramel Corn or Pumpkin-Seed Brittle without one.

Not all homemade candy requires a huge effort or a thermometer: there are many easy, tasty, and kid-friendly things you can make that begin with melted chocolate and pretzel sticks. All you need is a sweet tooth and some wax paper.

Monster Eyeballs

Makes about 48 eyeballs

Use miniature M&Ms (green are fun) to make the irises in these monster eyes and begin with very soft butter, or the ingredients will be difficult to blend. Mound the eyeballs into a bowl for serving, or lay them out on a tray in row after unblinking row.

INGREDIENTS

* cups creamy peanut butter

• ½ cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature

1 (1-pound) package confectioners' sugar (about 4 cups)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 (12-ounce) package semisweet chocolate chips (2 cups)

2 tablespoons solid vegetable shortening

1 (3-ounce) package miniature M&Ms

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Blend the peanut butter with the butter, sugar, and vanilla in a medium bowl. It may be easiest to use your hands (kids love doing this).

2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with wax paper. Roll the peanut butter mixture by teaspoons into small balls and place on the baking sheet. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour to firm up the eyeballs.

3. Put the chocolate chips and shortening in a microwave-safe bowl and melt the chocolate in the microwave: Heat on high for 60 seconds, and then stir well. If it's not quite smooth, heat in two or three 10-second bursts, stirring well after each burst. (Alternatively, you can melt the chocolate, stirring frequently, in a double boiler, over just-simmering water. Avoid overheating, which can cause chocolate to seize up into a stiff mass.)

4. Take the sheet of balls from the refrigerator; use a fork or a toothpick to dip each one most of the way into the chocolate, leaving a round or oval opening of undipped peanut butter on top. (This opening in the chocolate will be the cornea.) Hold each ball over the chocolate to catch the drips, and then return to the wax paper, cornea side up.

5. Place an M&M in the center of the peanut butter cornea to make an iris. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. Store the eyeballs in the refrigerator or freezer and serve chilled.

Boo-rific Pumpkin-Seed Brittle

Makes about 1 pound

Too many recipes for brittle include a big baking soda addition at the end, which makes the hot sugar puff up and become opaque and bubbly. It looks impressive, but it doesn't have the delicate, transparent crispness that brittle-lovers crave. This recipe's tiny amount of baking soda produces the brittle of your dreams. You must have a candy thermometer to make this confection properly.

INGREDIENTS

* 1 cup granulated sugar

• ½ cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 cup water

• 1/3 cup light corn syrup

2 tablespoons butter

1 cup pepitas or 1/¼ cups dry-roasted,
• ½ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Liberally grease a large rimmed baking sheet.

2. Combine the granulated sugar, brown sugar, water, and corn syrup in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar has dissolved, and then bring to a full boil.

3. Increase the heat to medium high and continue to boil without stirring until the temperature reaches 260°F on a candy thermometer, 15 to 20 minutes.

4. Remove the pan from the heat to stir in the butter and pepitas with a wooden or other heatproof spoon. Return the pan to the heat and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the temperature reaches 295°F, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and quickly stir in the baking soda and vanilla. Be careful; the vanilla will spatter.

5. Immediately pour the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Spread it as thinly as possible with a heatproof spatula, and let stand until completely cool. Break the brittle into serving pieces and store in a ziplock bag, squeezing out the air before sealing, for up to 2 weeks.

Orange Popcorn Balls

Makes 12 popcorn balls

This is a speedy version of popcorn balls, stuck together easily with melted marshmallows, and with the added fillip of orange food coloring for a pumpkinlike appearance. Peanuts add salty flavor and interest, and you can add gummy creatures as well, if you want to ratchet up the horror factor. The dryness of air-popped corn with no added oil is perfect here, but you can use any popcorn you like, including microwave.

INGREDIENTS

* 10–12 cups popcorn
1 cup dry-roasted, salted peanuts

• ½ cup gummy worms or bugs, optional

3 tablespoons butter, plus more for buttering your hands

1 (10-ounce) package marshmallows

• red and yellow liquid coloring or orange paste coloring

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper. Combine the popcorn with the peanuts and gummy worms, if using, in a large glass, ceramic, or stainless steel bowl (plastic may stain); set aside.

2. Melt the butter and marshmallows in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat and add 5 drops each of red and yellow liquid coloring or a dab of paste coloring to achieve your desired shade of orange. You can always add more if the marshmallow is not orange enough.

3. Pour the marshmallow cream over the popcorn and mix thoroughly. Working quickly, lightly butter your hands and form balls about 4 inches in diameter. Set the popcorn balls on the baking sheet; allow to cool and firm. Cooled popcorn balls can be wrapped in plastic wrap or wax paper and tied with black or orange ribbon. The balls are best eaten the day they're made.

Sticks and Stones Caramel Corn

Makes about 8 cups

Homemade caramel corn outshines the purchased version because it's both tender and crisp, the thin sugar coating giving way to popcorn that melts in your mouth. This colorful version includes candy corn, salted peanuts, and broken pretzel sticks for an addictively sweet and salty taste combination; brown sugar makes a rich, dark caramel. Air-popped popcorn is ideal; the caramel sticks well to it. A digital candy thermometer and a heatproof silicone spatula (or a wooden spoon) for stirring and tossing the hot caramel make this candy super-easy.

INGREDIENTS

* 1 cup pretzel sticks

8 cups freshly popped popcorn
• ½ cup dry-roasted, salted peanuts

• ½ cup candy corn

CARAMEL

* ½ teaspoon baking soda

• ½ cup (1 stick) butter

2 cups firmly packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Break the pretzel sticks with your hands into bite-size pieces and put them in a large, heatproof bowl with the popcorn, peanuts, and candy corn.

2. Liberally grease a large rimmed baking sheet or line it with parchment (not wax paper, which sticks). Measure the baking soda and set it in a small dish by your workspace.

3. Combine the butter, sugar, and corn syrup in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly until the sugar crystals have dissolved. Without stirring, boil until the mixture reaches 300°F on a candy thermometer, 5 to 10 minutes.

4. Immediately remove the pan from the heat, add the premeasured baking soda, and stir briskly. Pour the caramel over the popcorn mixture and mix well, stirring up from the bottom to incorporate the candy corn and peanuts.

5. Quickly pour the caramel corn onto the prepared baking sheet and spread it out to cool. (The process from the time the caramel reaches 300°F through spreading the mixture on the baking sheet should take about 1 minute.) When the confection has fully cooled, break it into large chunks and serve or store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Swamp Creature Toes

Makes about 36 toes

Salty, sweet, and nutty, these funny big-toe-like snacks are made extra ghoulish by tossing the almonds with green food coloring to give the end result an eerie glow. Even if you skip the green color, you'll still have funky toes.

INGREDIENTS

* ½ cup whole skinless salted almonds

• green liquid coloring

1 (12-ounce) package semisweet chocolate chips (2 cups)

1 (6-ounce) bag 8-inch pretzel rods (about 12)

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment or wax paper. Blend the almonds with about 10 drops of coloring in a small stainless steel, ceramic, or glass bowl (plastic might stain). Stir well until all the nuts are coated. Spread the green almonds on a plate to dry.

2. Put the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl and melt the chocolate in the microwave: Heat on high for 60 seconds, and then stir well. If it's not quite smooth, heat in two or three 10-second bursts, stirring well after each burst. (Alternatively, you can melt the chocolate, stirring frequently, in a double boiler, over just-simmering water. Avoid overheating, which can cause chocolate to seize up into a stiff mass.)

3. Break each pretzel rod into 3 pieces. Dip a broken piece about three-quarters of the way into the melted chocolate, leaving a broken end visible. (If it's an end piece of the pretzel, dip the finished end, leaving the broken end showing.)

4. Lay the dipped pretzel on a prepared baking sheet and lay a green almond on the top of the dipped end. If the almond won't stick, dip the underside in a bit more chocolate. When all the toes are decorated, place the bakin g sheets in the refrigerator or freezer to firm the chocolate. Serve cool.

Funny Bones

Makes 36 bones

More fun with pretzels and melted chocolate! Like the pretzel lollipop ghosts, these are a tasty mix of sweet and salty. With the white chocolate coating on them, they are uniformly charming. For the best effect, heap and jumble the little bones in a bowl rather than laying them on a plate. (Although I call for white chips, this is one place where lower grade white "coating" chocolate or bark is so easy to work with that it might be worth the trade-off in taste.)

INGREDIENTS

* 1 (12-ounce) package white chocolate chips (2 cups)

36 pretzel sticks and rods of various sizes

72 mini-marshmallows (about 1
INSTRUCTIONS

1. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment or wax paper.

2. Place the chips in a double boiler over just-simmering water and melt, stirring frequently. As soon as the chips are just melted (there may even be a few solid ones left), remove the pan from the heat and remove the top section of the double boiler so the chocolate's temperature doesn't keep rising.

3. Stick marshmallows onto both ends of the pretzels, with the marshmallows' flat sides parallel to the pretzel.

4. Dip each pretzel in the chocolate and lift out with a fork, letting the excess drip back in the bowl. Lay the bones on the baking sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes to harden the chocolate. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or at a cool room temperature.

Worse-Than-Its-Bite Chocolate Bark

Makes about 1½ pounds

Chocolate bark is an all-purpose recipe: You can use any kind of chocolate to make it — milk, dark, or white — and you can add just about any ingredient that tastes good with chocolate. The swirling combination of dark and white chocolate, studded with peanuts and raisins, gives this bark an appropriately mysterious Halloween look, but other good spooky additions include any gummy creature (gummy spiders are especially alarming), candy corn, dried cranberries, chow mein noodles, any roasted and salted nut, and orange and black M&Ms. Something salty, such as nuts or chow mein noodles, in each mix is good to relieve the tooth-cracking sweetness! Allow about 1 cup of add-ins to every 3 cups of chocolate chips. (Chocolate chips are what I always have on hand, but this is a forgiving recipe whether you're using your high-end, 60-percent-cacao drops or a big block of no-cocoa-inside chocolate "bark.")

INGREDIENTS

* 1 (6-ounce) package white chocolate chips (1 cup)

1 (12-ounce) package semisweet chocolate chips (2 cups)

• ½ cup dry-roasted, salted peanuts

• ½ cup raisins

• ½ cup sweetened coconut

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment or wax paper. (If using wax paper, grease lightly to prevent sticking.)

2. Place the white chocolate chips in a double boiler over just-simmering water and melt, stirring frequently. As soon as the chips are just melted (there may even be a few solid ones left), remove the pan from the heat and remove the top section of the double boiler so the chocolate's temperature doesn't keep rising.

3. Meanwhile, put the dark chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and melt it in the microwave: Heat on high for 60 seconds, and then stir well. If it's not quite smooth, heat in two or three 10-second bursts, stirring well after each burst.

4. Stir the peanuts, raisins, and coconut into the dark chocolate and pour it out on the baking sheet, spreading it into a thin layer with a knife or spatula. Working quickly, drizzle the melted white chocolate over the bark. Use a fork to gently swirl the 2 chocolates together, being careful not to overmix. You want the 2 colors to remain distinct.

5. Refrigerate the bark for 20 minutes, and then break into serving pieces. Chocolate bark can be kept in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

White-as-a-Sheet Ghost Lollipops

Makes 12 ghosts

Kids are crazy about these super-simple lollipops, free-formed from melted white chocolate. You can use paper lollipop sticks if you have them, but the ghosts are even easier and tastier when you use salted pretzel sticks. White chocolate can be a little tricky to work with; pay close attention while melting it because overheating will cause it to seize up. If it does form a stiff mass, butter your fingers and shape it into ghosts anyway — they won't be glossy but they'll taste good. White "coating" chocolate will melt more smoothly, but chips taste better here: your call.

INGREDIENTS

* 1 (12-ounce) package white chocolate chips (2 cups)

12 (3-inch) pretzel sticks

24 miniature chocolate chips

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment or wax paper.

2. Place the white chocolate chips in a double boiler over just-simmering water and melt, stirring frequently. As soon as the chips are just melted (there may even be a few solid ones left), remove the pan from the heat and remove the top section of the double boiler so the chocolate's temperature doesn't keep rising.

3. Drop a generous tablespoon of melted chocolate on the parchment. Use the back of your spoon to shape the ghost from the melted chocolate: Drag the back of the spoon slightly downward and sideways to form a curved tail; push the chocolate up and over with the back of the spoon to shape a head and two little hands.

4. Push a pretzel stick into the tail, burying the pretzel about 1/½ inches in and spooning a bit more chocolate over to cover it. (You'll have a relatively short 1/½-inch handle to hold, but these ghosts don't last long!) Press 2 miniature chocolate chips into the head for eyes.

5. Continue working until you've used all the melted chocolate, making 6 ghosts on each baking sheet. If the chocolate firms up before you've finished, set it back over the hot water in the double boiler and stir again, being careful not to overheat it.

6. Place the baking sheets in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes, until the ghosts are firm, and serve cool.

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "Ghoulish Goodies"
by .
Copyright © 2009 Sharon Bowers.
Excerpted by permission of Storey Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Introduction
1: Candy and Goodies
2: Cookies
3: Cakes and Cupcakes
4: Party Food, Snacks, and Drinks
5: Halloween Supper
6: Scary Party Food
Postscript
Index

Customer Reviews