10 October


Frankenpops

Frankenpops

October 31: Halloween

Channel Dr. Frankenstein in his lab and create some not-so-creepy Frankenpops in your kitchen. These green-hued, rice cereal marshmallow monster treats are a festive food for Fright Night. So make some Frankenpops and have a Happy Halloween!

Recipe

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup (½ stick) butter
  • 1 package (10 ounces) or 5 cups regular marshmallows (or 4 cups miniature marshmallows)
  • 6 cups rice cereal
  • green food coloring
  • dark chocolate or black candy melts
  • small pretzel sticks, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • white tube frosting/icing
  • candy eye balls
  • red candy melts

Directions

In a large pan, melt the butter over low heat. Add the marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Tint with green food coloring. Mix in the cereal until combined well.

Frankenpops

Spread the mixture into a greased 13×9-inch pan. Press down evenly using parchment or waxed paper. Allow to cool for easier handling, then cut into 12 rectangles. Push lollipop sticks or straws into one end of the rectangle treats.

Frankenpops

Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper. Dip the other end of the treats in melted dark chocolate/black candy melts. Set on the waxed paper to cool. Insert pretzel pieces into the bottom sides of the treats.

Frankenpops

Use the white frosting/icing from the tube and squeeze out two dots to secure the candy eye balls in place. Melt some red candy melts and put in a piping bag with a small round tip. Pipe the stitches on the “forehead” of the Frankenpops. Put some melted dark chocolate/black candy melts in a piping bag with a small round tip. Pipe zigzags for the mouth. Let all the candy melts set.

Frankenpops

Notes

  • See our theme menu list for more Halloween food ideas.

Amarula Cake

Amarula Cake

October 16: National Liqueur Day

In one of the many bridal magazines that Islander reads, she once saw an ad for Amarula, a cream liqueur made from the marula fruit. It was touting Amarula as a unique alternative to champagne at wedding receptions.

Marula comes from a special, sacred tree grown in southern Africa and Madagascar, which is also referred to as the “marriage tree”. The tree is dioecious (meaning that there are both a male and female marula tree). When in season, the fruit grows abundantly from the female tree, symbolizing fertility in a marriage. Some use the fruit as part of a cleansing ritual before the wedding. And a few tribes (and tourists) exchange their marriage vows beneath the shade of the trees.

Having worked in a bridal shop, and currently serving as a marriage sponsor at church, Islander was sold on the Amarula ad in the wedding magazine. She immediately bought a bottle and we thought it would taste like Bailey’s Irish Cream liqueur. The caramel color is similar but Amarula is stronger/boozier! And the marula fruit notes are definitely different.

We actually used the marula fruit cream liqueur in our anniversary cake this past summer. It seemed appropriate to follow the “marriage tree” theme when celebrating our marriage milestone. Now we can bake an Amarula cake for our engaged couples when we host them in our home during marriage preparation sessions. Amarula cake is also perfect for preparing on National Liqueur Day.

Recipe

(Adapted from SA Promo Magazine)

For the Amarula cake

  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar, granulated white
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ cup Amarula
  • ¼ cup milk

Directions

In a large bowl, cream the butter with the sugar. Beat in the eggs. In a separate bowl, combine the flour and baking powder.

Amarula Cake

Gradually add the flour mixture into the butter mixture, alternating with the Amarula and milk, until the batter is smooth. Divide evenly in two, greased round 6-inch baking pans. Bake at 350 degrees F in a preheated oven for 30 minutes or until done. Remove from the oven and let the cakes cool completely before stacking and frosting them.

Amarula Cake

For the Amarula buttercream frosting

  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup Amarula 
  • 2+ tablespoons heavy whipping cream (or milk)

Directions

In a mixing bowl, beat the butter until smooth. Gradually add the powdered sugar. After two cups of sugar, pour in the Amarula. Add the rest of the powdered sugar and mix well. Thin to a frosting consistency with cream or milk. Smear a little frosting on a cake pedestal or board to act as an adhesive to the bottom layer of the cake.

Amarula Cake

Place one of the cakes on the bottom. Spread a generous amount of frosting on top. Stack the other cake on top of the frosting. Spread more frosting on the top and sides of the cake until completely covered. Chill in the refrigerator to let the frosting set. Let the cake come back to room temperature before slicing and serving.

Amarula Cake

Notes

  • This recipe is originally for a dozen cupcakes. We made this into a double layer 6-inch round cake.
  • This is a denser and drier instead of fluffier and moist cake. The caramel-colored frosting reinforces the fruity flavor of the marula with a sophisticated and sweet “spirit”. This Amarula cake recipe is suitable for those who prefer a pound cake.
  • Learn more about the legends of marula from Marula.org

Sautéed Kale

Sauteed Kale

October 3: National Kale Day

We usually put spinach in our smoothies but have gradually added or substituted kale for the leafy green ingredient. Both are considered super foods but kale is considered the winner with more vitamins (A, C and K) , minerals (calcium) and protein than spinach. Kale tastes somewhat bitter, though, and its leaves may be harder to chew and digest. Fortunately, we have found a kale salad recipe that is cooked with garlic and red wine vinegar to mask its strong flavor. The steamed leaves are wilted so they are easier to chew. If we do not drink our kale smoothie for the day, we would eat sautéed kale as a side salad for dinner. This healthy recipe is perfect for observing National Kale Day.

Recipe

(Adapted from New York Times Cooking)

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 bunch of kale leaves (stemmed and chopped)
  • 1/3 – ½ cup vegetable stock or water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • cooked bacon bits (optional)

Directions

In a large skillet or pan, heat the olive oil and sauté the garlic pieces until soft. Add the kale leaves.

sauteedkalesteps1

Pour in the vegetable stock or water. Cover and cook for 5-10 minutes or until the kale is soft and wilted. Stir occasionally until the liquid has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper. Mix in the red wine vinegar. Dish out and sprinkle cooked bacon bits on top (optional).

sauteedkalesteps2

Notes

  • Thanks to Highlander’s co-worker, Luchie A., for the fresh, organic kale from her garden.
  • Learn more about National Kale Day at http://nationalkaleday.org.

Bandage Cookies

Bandage Cookies

October 31: Halloween

Gross out your guests with graham cracker bandage cookies. With only three ingredients—graham crackers and white and red frosting—these sweet treats are so quick to make for any last-minute ghoulish get-togethers. For an even more bloody good time, make these bandage cookies to go with our other Halloween recipes, such as ribs, fingers, eyeballs, earwax, brain, bones, apple smiles and more. Happy Halloween!

Recipe

Ingredients

  • Graham crackers
  • White tube frosting
  • Red gel tube icing

Directions

With a sharp knife, carefully separate the graham crackers into quarters. For each cracker strip, squeeze out a square of white frosting from the tube. Next, add a little “blood” on the center with the red gel tube icing. Serve on a bed of cheesecloth stained in red liquid food coloring.

Bandage Cookies

Notes

  • There are several variations for creating these creepy cookies. Wafer cookies or club crackers may be used instead of the graham crackers. Square-cut fondant pieces or white cheese spread may be used instead of the white frosting center. And strawberry jam or jelly may be used instead of the red gel tube icing.
  • For the bloody bandage background, randomly smudge red liquid food coloring on cheesecloth and let dry.
  • Search our blog for other Halloween recipes.

Edible Earwax

Edible Earwax

October 31: Halloween

For a disgusting dessert on Halloween, serve edible earwax! These simple sweets are made with mini marshmallows on a lollipop stick and dipped with melted peanut butter chips. Try these tasty treats with our gelatin eyeballs and brain, apple smiles, meringue skeleton bones, freaky finger cookies and BBQ ribs for a “body parts” party on a fun-filled Fright Night.

Recipe

Ingredients

  • Mini marshmallows
  • Peanut butter chips (or peanut butter, honey, melted caramel or cheese, yellow-tinted white chocolate, etc.)

Directions

On a short lollipop stick, position and shape a mini marshmallow on each end. Dip in melted peanut butter chips. Let set on a sheet of waxed paper. Arrange on a clean towel with a cotton swab (such as Q-tips brand packaging) sign and simply serve to grossed out guests!

Edible Earwax

Notes

  • Add a little vegetable shortening to the peanut butter chips if needed to thin out to a more liquid consistency.
  • Search our blog for other Halloween recipes.

Halloween Ribs

Halloween Ribs

October 31: Halloween

Before indulging in sweets tonight, eat something savory-scary: Halloween ribs! This main dish is meaty and messy and makes for a disgusting-looking but delicious dinner. If hosting a Halloween party, guests will gross out on this gruesome grub.

Preparation of the ribs is simple but the presentation can be spectacularly spine-chilling! Our version is basic—just pork spareribs smothered in our favorite flavor of BBQ sauce with a fresh red bell pepper, accessorized with a knife, plastic skull and bloody cloth. Add cold cuts to the skull (flaying flesh) and mini-sausages (intestines) for an all-out appalling yet appetizing and bloody good buffet.

Cook a creative yet creepy food—ribs—for a Happy Halloween!

Recipe

Ingredients

 Directions

Cut the ribs in half. Season them with salt and pepper. Bake the ribs in a preheated oven at 400 degrees F until cooked. Half an hour before they are done, remove from the oven. Baste one side of the ribs with the sauce. Return to the oven and cook for another 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and baste the other side of the ribs with the sauce. Return to the oven and finish another 15 minutes.

Halloween Ribs

Arrange the ribs on a platter, placing a rack on opposite sides of each other (or slice between the bones and position them like racks). In between them, put a red bell pepper in the top center. Stick a sharp knife in the red bell pepper. Decorate around the platter with cheesecloth that has been stained with red food coloring. Place the platter on a table and position a plastic skull above the red bell pepper. Serve while the ribs are still hot.

Halloween Ribs

Notes

  • If using one rack of pork ribs, cut in half to make a shorter rib cage. We used St. Louis-style spareribs instead of baby back ribs for this recipe because they were larger and proportionate to the size of the plastic skull.
  • If serving more guests, use two racks of ribs for a longer rib cage. Although presentation is key, the ribs may be pre-cut and arranged on a platter for an easier self-serve buffet.
  • Optional: Below the bell pepper and under the spareribs, scatter some sausages (such as Lit’l Smokies) in BBQ sauce to look like intestines.
  • Optional: Cover a clean plastic skull with cold cuts (like deli-style, thin-sliced ham, roast beef, etc.) to look like decaying skin.
  • A plastic or toy knife may be used in place of the real sharp one for safety issues.

Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Cake

Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Cake

October 26: National Pumpkin Day

Remember the story of Cinderella where her fairy godmother transformed a plain pumpkin into a pretty carriage? Well, we also made some magic on a basic bundt and dressed it up in the glorious colors of autumn. Although it isn’t as simple as waving a wand, decorating the cake is actually do-able, even for beginners.

For this particular post, we baked a chocolate pumpkin spice cake, glazed it in decadent chocolate, drizzled it with a pumpkin-colored/pumpkin flavored confectioner’s coating (candy melts) and sprinkled it with seasonal nonpareils (fall leaves). Like Cinderella entering the grand ball, this cake is sure to be a showstopper at seasonal social gatherings as well!

Add your personal and magic touch to a plain chocolate pumpkin spice cake and get creative in decorating it. What a way to celebrate National Pumpkin Day!

Recipe

(Adapted from Chocolate from the Cake Mix Doctor by Anne Byrn)

For the chocolate pumpkin spice cake

  • 1 box German chocolate cake mix (we used Duncan Hines brand)
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup cinnamon chips

Directions

In a large mixing bowl, combine the chocolate cake mix, pumpkin and eggs.

Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Cake

Add the cinnamon and nutmeg. Blend well. Fold the cinnamon chips into the cake batter. Spread evenly into a greased bundt pan.

Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Cake

Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes, testing the cake for doneness. Remove from the oven. Cool completely in the pan before inverting onto a wire rack over a foil-lined lipped pan.

Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Cake

For the chocolate glaze and decorations

  • ½ cup (4 ounces) semisweet chocolate (baking squares or chips)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1/3 cup orange candy melts (we used Wilton’s seasonal pumpkin flavor)
  • colorful seasonal candy sprinkles (optional)

Directions

In a microwave-safe bowl, place the chocolate, butter and corn syrup. Heat until melted. Mix until smooth. Drizzle on the top of the cake and let the glaze run down the sides.

Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Cake

In a microwave-safe cup, melt the orange candy melts. Spoon in a decorator’s bag outfitted with a small round tip. Being careful not to burn your hand, drizzle on top of the glazed cake in a back and forth motion all around. Finish by sprinkling some colorful seasonal candies on top. Let the topping set. Serve at room temperature.

Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Cake

Notes

  • Add a teaspoon or two of vegetable shortening to the candy melts for a thinner consistency.
  • Sprinkles can be black and orange jimmies, Halloween nonpareils or autumn leaves (like we used for this recipe) to reflect the fall flavors and season.
  • Search our blog for other pumpkin recipes.

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