10 October


Witch Hat Cone Cookies

Witch Hat Cone Cookies

October 31: Halloween

Islander joined a local cake coven club so she could learn more about and practice witch sugar craft. At its monthly meeting every October, which has a Halloween theme, members bring in desserts to share decorating ideas.

For this particular post, we wanted to “hocus-focus” on a stereotypical witch’s most fashionable accessory—her pointy hat. Islander saw two styles at the Halloween meeting. One version included a candy-filled sugar cone sprayed with black color mist and set on a small, round chocolate cookie base. Another (easier) version featured Hershey’s Kisses on top of the backsides of Keebler Fudge Stripes Cookies.

As a Blair witch project, Islander adapted the idea and used ice cream sugar cones and waffle cookies (same textures with a frillier-brimmed hat). The trick to making this treat is patience in “painting” with chocolate. The result is a festive food and decorative dessert for Halloween!

Recipe

Ingredients 

  • Round waffle cookies (Italian pizzelles)
  • Ice cream sugar cones
  • Semi-sweet chocolate, melted (or Wilton brand black candy melts)
  • Assorted lightweight Halloween-themed sweets (we used gummie worms, but feel free to fill the cones with candy corn, mini M&M’s, seasonal sprinkles or chocolate chips)
  • Yellow, orange, green or purple tube frosting
  • Pumpkin candies

Directions

On large baking sheets lined with waxed paper, place a dozen pizzelles spaced apart.  In a medium bowl, melt the chocolate. Stir until smooth. Dip the open end of the ice cream sugar cone in the melted chocolate. Carefully fill with a little candy.

Witch Hat Cone Cookies

Position a pizzelle to cover the cone and invert it back on the baking sheet. Repeat with all the cones and let the chocolate set as a seal. Using a food safe brush, paint the chocolate on the cone and pizzelle. Cool completely to set.

Witch Hat Cone Cookies

Use the tube frosting with a small decorating tip to make a hatband where the cone and pizzelle are attached. Add a little tube frosting to secure the pumpkin candy in place. Keep the witch hat cone cookies cool until ready to serve.

Witch Hat Cone Cookies

Notes

  • Search our blog for other Halloween recipes.
  • Happy Halloween to all our blog readers!

Candy Corn Sugar Cookies

Candy Corn Sugar Cookies

October 30: National Candy Corn Day

On the eve before All Hallow’s Eve, make a treat that is good to eat—sugar cookies simply embedded with a single candy corn. This tri-colored confection is most popular around the autumn harvest, as it resembles the kernel of a corn. Traditional colors are white, orange and yellow, but there are seasonal variants to the color scheme.

We usually bake a batch of both vanilla and chocolate sugar cookies and decorate them with candy corn for a color contrast on a tray. Kids (and kids-at-heart) enjoy eating them when we bring these desserts to different fall festivals and Halloween parties. Candy corn sugar cookies are especially appropriate on National Candy Corn Day, too!

Recipe

(Adapted from Martha Stewart)

For the vanilla candy corn sugar cookies

  • ¼ cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 egg yolk, large
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ cup flour
  • candy corn

Directions

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter with the sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg yolk and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine the salt, baking powder and flour.

Candy Corn Sugar Cookies

Gradually add the flour mixture into the butter mixture and mix until a smooth dough is formed. Roll out an inch round ball. Place two inches apart on a greased cookie sheet. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are firm and the middle of the cookie is dry.

Candy Corn Sugar Cookies

Remove from the oven. Press a candy corn in the center of each cookie.  Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Yield: 1 ½ dozen cookies.

Candy Corn Sugar Cookies

For the chocolate candy corn sugar cookies

  • ¼ cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 egg yolk, large
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ cup flour
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • candy corn

Directions

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter with the sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg yolk and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine the salt, baking powder, flour and cocoa powder. Gradually add the flour mixture into the butter mixture and mix until a smooth dough is formed. Roll out an inch round ball.

Candy Corn Sugar Cookies

Place two inches apart on a greased cookie sheet. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are firm and the middle of the cookie is dry. Remove from the oven. Press a candy corn in the center of each cookie.  Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Candy Corn Sugar Cookies

Notes

  • The chocolate candy corn sugar cookies yield fewer than the vanilla ones. The tops also need to be slightly flattened with the palm of the hand before baking. The cookies’ darker color contrasts well with the bright candy corn.
  • Candy corn sugar cookies are a nice Halloween and seasonal treat. Try using candy corn to decorate Oreo turkey cookies for Thanksgiving.

Petal Cake

Petal Cake

October 10: National Cake Decorating Day

Although Islander has taken cake decorating classes from the Wilton headquarters in Illinois, she does not consider herself an expert like the professionals in her local cake club in Texas. But she likes to learn new techniques from the more advanced members and decided to try making a petal cake herself for National Cake Decorating Day.

This blog post focuses not on a recipe but on a frosting technique. Islander baked a three-layered cake as a taller display works best to showcase the petals. After crumb-coating it, she used a large, round tip to pipe dots down the side of the cake. Then she got into a rhythm of using a spatula to swipe the petal design, piping dots and swiping with the spatula again and finishing the back of the cake with dots. She repeated this technique on the top of the cake, starting from the outside and working her way toward the center.

Frosting a layered cake in a petal design is a simple yet impressive way to decorate a cake. Try this technique for a birthday, anniversary or other special event and especially for National Cake Decorating Day.

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 8-inch round cake layers (any flavor)
  • Whipped cream or buttercream frosting (enough to cover the cake)

Directions

Frost the cakes and stack the layers. Crumb coat. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes to set.

Petal Cake

Pipe some dots down the side of the cake using a large round tip. Gently use a spatula to swipe lightly in one direction, wiping the spatula blade clean each time so the frosting does not stick. Move about half an inch over and pipe more dots. Use the spatula to swipe in the same direction as the others. Repeat until the entire side of the cake is done.

Petal Cake

End the back of the petal sides with dots. Pipe the top of the cake in the same manner, beginning from the outer edge. Pipe a dot, swipe it with a spatula, repeat towards the center of the cake and end with a dot in the middle. Refrigerate to set the frosting. Garnish with fresh fruits or candles.

Petal Cake

Notes

  • For this particular post about our petal cake, we made a strawberry-and-whipped cream cake and topped it with a trio of fresh strawberries. We just used a boxed strawberry cake mix and Cool Whip frosting for something fast and fabulous.
  • For another frosting technique, try decorating a layered cake with rosettes. See our photo tutorial here.

Applesauce Spice Mini Bundt Cakes

Applesauce Spice Mini Bundt Cake

October: National Apple Month

After seeing some fall foliage at Lost Maples Natural State Park in Vanderpool, Texas, we decided to have lunch with our friends in nearby Medina—the Apple Capital of Texas. We stopped in a cute café and ate hamburgers with applewood smoked bacon. For dessert, we chose from an array of apple-flavored treats, such as pie, dumplings, bread, cobblers, cookies and even ice cream! The “Apple Store” (not to be confused with the one that sells Macintosh computers, iPads, iPods and iPhones) has souvenirs, gift items and other products from Love Creek Orchards, such as jellies, jams and sauces and butters. We also walked around the grounds to see a variety of dwarf apple trees.

Applesauce Spice Mini Bundt Cake

Celebrate the season with a recipe that includes the quintessential fall fruit—apples. Make mini applesauce spice bundt cakes during National Apple Month.

Recipe

(Adapted from Southern Food)

For the applesauce spice mini bundts

  • ¾ cup applesauce
  • ¾ cups sugar
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspooon vanilla
  • 1 ¼ cup flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ½ cup walnuts, chopped

Directions

In a large bowl, mix the applesauce with the sugar and oil. Beat in the eggs. Add vanilla. Mix until smooth.

Applesauce Spice Mini Bundt Cake

In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. Gradually add this to the wet mixture and combine well. Fold in the raisins and walnuts.

Applesauce Spice Mini Bundt Cake

Pour batter into a well-greased mini bundt pan. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes, testing with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from the oven. Carefully invert the pan onto a wire rack. Cool the cakes completely.

Applesauce Spice Mini Bundt Cake

For the caramel glaze

(Adapted from Southern Food)

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • pinch of salt
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream

Directions

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the pinch of salt. Stir in the brown sugar until cooked. Pour in the cream and bring to a boil over medium heat. Keep stirring until thickened (about two minutes). Remove from heat and let cool for about an hour.

Applesauce Spice Mini Bundt Cake

Line a lipped pan with foil. Place a wire rack with the mini bundts on top. Drizzle the caramel glaze on the cakes and let flow to the sides. Decorate the tops with fall-themed candy sprinkles (optional).

Applesauce Spice Mini Bundt Cake

Notes

  • We used Wilton brand jumbo leaves mix sprinkles to decorate each mini bundts for the fall season.
  • Some sources state that National Apple Months are from September until November. National Apple Week is the second week of August.
  • Learn more about apples from the U.S. Apple Association website at http://www.usapple.org/.
  • Search our blog for more apple recipes.

Apple Butter Muffins

Apple Butter Muffins

October: National Apple Month

Our friends Pat and Phyllis S., who, like Islander, are Hawaii ex-patriates now living in South Texas, brought back some apple butter from Branson, Missouri, when they went on a road trip there.  Apple butter reminds us of applesauce but it is sweeter, spiced and slightly thicker with a warm caramel color.

Like our applesauce cupcakes, these apple butter muffins are a yummy quick breakfast or snack. Whenever we bake them, we are reminded of the fun times we have with our friends, especially of our own road trip with them through the Texas Hill Country where we stopped to eat lunch at an apple-themed restaurant in Medina, the Apple Capital of Texas.

Bake a batch of apple butter muffins during National Apple Month to share with good friends and warm your hearts throughout the autumn season.

Recipe

(Adapted from Recipe Girl)

For the muffins

  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • ¾ cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ sticks (¾ cup) butter, unsalted, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup apple butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

For the topping

  • 1 tablespoon sugar, granulated white
  • generous pinch of ground allspice

Directions

In a bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, allspice, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix well. Melt the butter and cool slightly.

Apple Butter Muffins

In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Add the apple butter. Stir in the melted butter. Mix in the vanilla.

Apple Butter Muffins

Pour in the flour mixture and blend until moistened. Use a large scoop to put the batter in cupcake papers or a greased muffin tin.

Apple Butter Muffins

Make the topping by combining the sugar with the pinch of allspice. Sprinkle on top of the muffins. Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm. Yield: 12-15 apple butter muffins.

Apple Butter Muffins

Notes

  • Thanks to Pat and Phyllis S. for the apple butter.
  • Search our blog for more recipes containing apples as an ingredient.

Misoyaki Butterfish

Misoyaki Butterfish

October: National Seafood Month

It is ironic that Islander grew up by the beach but does not like a lot of fish (although she loves shrimp, crabs and lobsters). One of the rare fish dishes that she likes is misoyaki butterfish, a popular food among locals in Hawaii. The recipe is influenced by the Japanese immigrants, who marinated butterfish in sake, mirin, sugar and miso paste (soybean paste). If butterfish is not available, it is fine to substitute with cod fillets.

Our friend Pat S., who is part Japanese from Hawaii, first served misoyaki butterfish to a reluctant and picky Islander. But after tasting this mild fish dish with a great glaze, she can now add it to her limited list of favorite seafood recipes.

Create some converts and let finicky friends try a fantastic fish dish during National Seafood Month by making misoyaki butterfish.

Recipe

(From Pat and Phyllis S.)

  • 1/3 cup sake (Japanese rice wine)
  • 1/3 cup mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)
  • 1 cup sugar, granulated white
  • 1 cup miso (soybean paste), white
  • 3-4 thin cod fillets
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil

Directions

Prepare the marinade by combining the sake and mirin in a saucepan. Boil on medium heat for 10 minutes to burn off the alcohol. Reduce the heat and add the sugar and miso. Stir well and cook until pale. Remove from the stovetop and cool completely.

Misoyaki Butterfish

In a shallow dish, pour the marinade. Add the fish fillets and coat on both sides. Transfer the fish and marinade to a large zipper top plastic bag and seal well. Refrigerate for at least two days (48-72 hours). Heat the oil in a skillet on medium-low heat. Remove the fish from the container, letting the excess marinade drip back into the bag. Place the fish in the skillet and fry for 3-4 minutes until the coating is caramelized. Turn over and finish frying the fish. Do not burn or overcook the fish or it will not be tender and flaky. Transfer to a platter and serve immediately.

Misoyaki Butterfish

Notes

  • Mahalo to Aunty Liz for giving us some miso from her restaurant! Also, thanks to our friend Lisa L. for the fish platter.
  • Find a few more fish recipes by searching our blog.

Vampire Bite Cookies

Vampire Bite Cookies

October 31:
Halloween

Bite into bright, blood-red cookies that look like luscious vampire lips. The sweet sugar cookies have a hint of cinnamon and the fondant fangs contrast the color of the chewy chocolate caramel candy. These cute cookies are a distinctively delectable Dracula-themed dessert. Bake a batch of vampire bite cookies for scary movie nights and for Halloween parties.

Recipe

(Adapted from Bright Ideas)

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • Red food coloring (we used Americolor brand Super Red food color paste)
  • Red sugar crystals (we used Cake Mate brand)
  • Mini chocolate-covered caramel candies (Riessen or Milky Way)
  • White/vanilla fondant (we used a Satin Ice sample)

Directions

Unwrap all the chocolates and set aside. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and cinnamon. In another bowl, cream the butter with the sugar. Beat in the egg.

Vampire Bite Cookies

Gradually add the flour mixture and blend until smooth. Tint with red food coloring. Shape the dough into a ball. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours.

Vampire Bite Cookies

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and divide in half. Place the other half of the dough back in the refrigerator while working on the other half. Shape into a flat disc. Place between two sheets of waxed paper. Roll out to ¼ inch thick. Use a lip cookie cutter to cut out shapes (or use a knife to free-form lip shapes). Refrigerate the lip shapes while working on the other half of the dough. Repeat by re-rolling dough scraps, if necessary. Sprinkle red sugar crystals on the lip-shaped cookies. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake about 7-8 minutes (do not overbake or the cookies will be too hard) in a preheated oven at 375 degrees F.

Vampire Bite Cookies

Remove from the oven and quickly press a mini chocolate caramel candy in the center of the cookie. Place cookies on a wire rack to cool completely.

Vampire Bite Cookies

Roll out a small piece of white/vanilla fondant. Slice tiny triangles into fangs. Use a food-safe brush and use water as an adhesive on one side of the fondant fangs.

Vampire Bite Cookies

Position two fangs on top of the chocolate. Arrange cookies on a platter and serve. Yield: Varies on the size of the lip-shaped cookie cutter (we used a 2-inch cutter, which yields about 2 ½ – 3 dozen cookies).

Vampire Bite Cookies

Notes

  • For another Dracula-theme dessert, make Vampire Bite Cupcakes.
  • The cookies tend to puff up slightly when baking. For a more defined lip shape, outline the edges with red gel or cookie icing.
  • If fondant is not available to make the fangs, simply substitute white icing and pipe sharp teeth shapes over the candy.
  • Thanks to Margarita F. of M5 Cake for letting us borrow the lip cookie cutter for this blog recipe post.

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