Halloween is a holiday that’s fun for all--both kids and kids at heart consider it to be a favorite holiday. While this occasion is a celebration of all things ghostly, it’s also the day to enjoy lots of laughs, sugar and treats. Since Halloween falls on a Saturday this year, many of us will have a little extra time to prepare some special treats for the spookiest day of the year.
Your kids will delight in some of the fun and funky ideas out there for creative Halloween fare, including some of the ones here on CDKitchen. You can base a whole meal around such ghoulish offerings as peeled grape eyeballs, spooky cheese sandwiches cut into the shapes of Jack O’Lanterns and ghosts (use dark pumpernickel bread for an ultra scary effect), hot dog mummies, and finger shaped pretzels or cookies complete with an almond fingernail. And for dessert, pumpkin cupcakes or a spiral shaped pumpkin roll dusted with powdered sugar in a Halloween themed pattern would be the perfect thing. A refreshing beverage to go with it all would be witches brew, a spiced apple cider and cranberry concoction you can serve warm or cold.
There are so many fun ideas that I am thinking of throwing a little pre- trick or treating get together on Halloween this year. My husband’s birthday happens to fall right after Halloween, so this year the pumpkin cupcakes will definitely be on the menu (And I’ll know he has been reading my column if he knows in advance we’ll be celebrating his birthday with them!).
The recipe for pumpkin cupcakes is so easy - you start by following the directions for a packaged vanilla cake mix, simply substituting one fifteen ounce can of pumpkin puree for the water called for in the recipe. If you want to spice it up a bit you can also add a quarter to a half teaspoon full of pumpkin pie spice. Then bake as directed for cupcakes and top with your favorite cream cheese or buttercream icing. You can decorate the cupcakes in any number of ways. Top with festive candy such as candy corn or colorful sprinkles, pipe spiderwebs designs in chocolate icing, or cut a Halloween shaped stencil out of a plastic lid, lay across the top of each cupcake, and dust with black or orange sanding sugar.
Halloween is also the time of year for classic snacks like caramel apples dipped in nuts and roasted pumpkin seeds (recipe below) that will sustain your favorite little trick or treaters. During your next Jack O’Lantern carving session, you can reserve the seeds that you pull out with the pumpkin guts, and clean and wash them. Simply spread them in layers on a baking sheet, with salt and the optional addition of garlic and red pepper flakes, and bake for fifteen to twenty minutes until crunchy. It’s a traditional, yet healthy Halloween snack that will supply some added energy for the big night.
So whether your haunted Halloween treats turn out fun or scary (or both), your family is sure to enjoy some of these festive ideas this year. And please feel free to share some of your own ideas for spooky treats in the comments section below. Happy Halloween!
Pumpkin Roll with Cream Cheese Filing Recipe
Ready in: 2-5 hrs
* 1/4 cup powdered sugar (to sprinkle on waxed paper/towel)
* 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
* 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 3 large eggs
* 1 cup granulated sugar
* 2/3 cup canned pumpkin
* 1 package (8 ounce size) cream cheese, softened
* 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
* 4 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1/4 cup powdered sugar (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan or cookie sheet; line with wax paper. Grease and flour paper. Sprinkle additional sheet of wax paper or towel with powdered sugar.
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in small bowl.
Beat eggs and sugar in medium mixing bowl on medium speed until thick. Beat in pumpkin. Stir in flour mixture. Spread evenly into prepared pan.
Bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until top of cake springs back when touched. Immediately loosen and turn cake onto prepared wax paper. Carefully peel off paper. Roll up cake and wax paper together, starting with narrow end. Cool on wire rack.
Beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter and vanilla extract in small mixer bowl until smooth. Carefully unroll cake; remove paper. Spread cream cheese mixture over cake. Reroll cake. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving, if desired.
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds Recipe
Serves/Makes: 1.5 cups
Ready in: 30-60 minutes
* 1 1/2 cup raw whole pumpkin seeds, cleaned and rinsed
* 2 teaspoons butter, melted
* 1 pinch salt
***Optional spice add-ins***
* 2 teaspoons garlic powder
* 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
* 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Toss seeds in a bowl with the melted butter, salt and spices, if using. Spread the seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet.
Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until seeds are crispy and golden brown; stirring occasionally.
Cool completely before serving.
Roasted seeds will keep in an airtight storage container for up to 1 week.
Mummy-in-Wraps Hotdogs Recipe
Ready in: under 30 minutes
* 1 can (11 ounces) refrigerated breadstick dough
* 8 hot dogs
Separate breadstick dough and slice each piece of dough in half the long way (this creates more bread for a "bandage").
Pinch the ends of the strips together to make one long "bandage". Beginning at one end of hotdog, wrap the dough around dog, creating the look of a wrapped "mummy" when you get to the top of the hotdog, leave an opening for the face and wrap the dough around the head once or twice, adhering it to another piece of dough on the back. (At this point the wrapped dogs may be covered and kept in the refrig until party-time.)
Bake at 375F for 12-15 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and place two mustard dots for eyes on the face area. Serve.