10 October


Meringue Ghosts

October 31: Halloween

Get into the Halloween spirit and make meringue ghosts! The meringues are easy to make and these delightful desserts are light and airy just like the ghosts. They are cute like Casper and are a festive and family-friendly food for Halloween.

If there are any leftovers, we mix the meringue ghosts with fruit (kiwi and strawberry) and whipped cream into pavlova parfaits. These simply sweet snacks can make a Halloween buffet look boo-tiful!

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 egg whites, room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ½ – ¾ cup sugar, granulated white
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla flavoring, clear
  • Black tube icing

Directions

In a mixer bowl, place the egg whites and beat until frothy. Mix in the cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar then vanilla while continuing to beat until stiff peaks form.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside. Prepare a piping bag with a ½-inch wide round tip. Fill the bag with the meringue. Pipe ghosts on the prepared pan by building up then loosening pressure on the bag and pulling away the tip from the top. Bake in a preheated oven at 200 degrees F for an hour. Turn off the oven, do not open and leave at least six hours (best if overnight) to dry.

Remove from the oven when cooled and loosen the meringues from the parchment paper. Use a black tube icing with a small round tip to pipe in the ghost’s facial features (eyes and mouth). Store in tightly covered container until ready to serve.

Notes

  • Make more meringues! Try the recipes for skeleton bones, kiwi pavlova and kisses.
  • We have tried using black edible marker pens but they do not leave a very strong ghost facial expression. We have also tried using black gel icing but they tend to be runny.
  • Search our blog for more Halloween recipes under the Theme Menus tab.

Pumpkin Pie Spice

Rice Krispies Treats

October 26: National Pumpkin Day

We had a pumpkin-themed potluck at our culinary book club meeting this month. We brought pumpkin hummus (previous post) but had leftover canned pumpkin puree, so we added it with pumpkin pie spice to rice cereal treats and shaped them into petite pumpkins. These cute confections stood out at the pumpkin potluck and they quickly became a favorite because some club members were nostalgic about their childhood foods. The mixture could be pressed into a pan and cut into squares, but the pumpkin shapes made these more festive for our fall gathering. Pumpkin pie spice rice krispies treats are perfect for National Pumpkin Day and throughout the autumn season.

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup canned pumpkin puree (see Notes to prevent soggy cereal)
  • 1 bag (10 ounces) marshmallows (use minis instead of jumbo for easier melting)
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 6 cups rice cereal
  • Orange food coloring (we used Wilton brand orange gel paste food color)
  • Pretzel sticks
  • Green fondant
  • Powdered sugar
  • Green tube frosting

Directions

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Stir in the marshmallows and pumpkin puree.

Add the pumpkin pie spice. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. When cool, stir the rice cereal into the pumpkin-marshmallow mixture until well coated. If desired, add orange food coloring to enhance the color. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper. Set aside. Butter your hands well and shape the cereal mixture into rounds. Place onto waxed paper.

Break pretzel sticks in half. Insert into the cereal rounds. On a clean surface lightly dusted with powdered sugar, roll out a little bit of green fondant to 1/16-inch thick. Cut out fondant leaves.

Place fondant leaves on the rice cereal pumpkins (brush a small amount of water on the back of the leaves to make them stick to the treats). Use a small round tip to pipe tendrils from a tube of green frosting. Store in a tightly sealed container until ready to serve.

Notes

  • To prevent cereal treats from being “rice soggy” and make them stay as “rice krispies”, measure out the pumpkin puree and blot out excess moisture by pressing onto paper towels. Then add the puree into the marshmallows. Be sure to cool to room temperature to firm up the marshmallows a little bit more before mixing in the cereal.
  • Instead of rolling and cutting out fondant leaves, try piping them onto the treats by using green tube frosting using a leaf tip.
  • Search our blog for more pumpkin recipes.

Pumpkin Hummus

October 26: National Pumpkin Day

We posted a recipe for traditional hummus back on May 13 (National Hummus Day). As fall is in full swing, we added the ubiquitous seasonal squash to this hummus recipe. It is deliciously creamy and healthy and has that hue to match all the other glorious autumnal colors. We sprinkled toasted pumpkin seeds to reinforce the additional flavor and give this dish some contrasting texture. Served as a side dip with vegetables or pita bread/chips, this pumpkin hummus is perfect for National Pumpkin Day.

Recipe

(Adapted from Taste of Home)

Ingredients

  • 1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas/garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (from the can; save the rest for other recipes—see Notes)
  • 1/3 cup tahini (sesame paste)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juiced (or 2 tablespoons lemon juice)
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon salt or to taste
  • pumpkin seeds, toasted and shelled

Directions

Drain the chickpeas/garbanzo beans in a colander and rinse them. Measure out 1 cup of pumpkin puree. Place in a food processor with tahini.

Add the olive oil. Squeeze the lemon juice and sesame oil into the mixture. Add ground cumin.

Add minced garlic and salt to taste. Cover and pulse the ingredients in the food processor until creamy. Transfer to a bowl. Drizzle with a little olive oil and garnish with a sprinkle of toasted and shelled pumpkin seeds. Serve with cut vegetables, pita bread or pita chips.

Notes

  • With the remaining pumpkin puree from the can, try these other pumpkin recipes: pumpkin pie spice rice cereal treats and pumpkin latte smoothie.
  • We have a small food processor, so we had to divide the ingredients in half and pulse them in sections before mixing everything together in one bowl.
  • Happy fall, y’all! It still feels like summer in South Texas. But we used to live in New Jersey and Illinois where we enjoyed the change of seasons, especially when the leaves turned to vibrant colors before they fell off the trees.

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