Halloween Party 2011 Menu

This year, we planned a somewhat impromptu Halloween Party for a few of my daughter’s friends. We had some yummy treats…Pumpkin Krispy Treats (see recipe below), Candy Corn Sugar Cookies (I used my favorite recipe for the dough and just doubled the vanilla and almond flavorings since there is no frosting on the cookies. At a minimum, I also recommend dipping each cookie in the coarse sugar before baking. The white candy melt or almond bark on portions of some of the cookies was quite tasty, too. I’ll do more of these next time), and No Bake Cookies transfigured into cute spiders.

There were Mummy Dogs and Candy Corn Pizza for our main course. We agreed that hot dogs wrapped in crescent dough are WAY tastier than hot dogs in a bun. We’ll be having these more often. I didn’t get around to dotting the eyes on the faces, but I think everyone still got the point.

Boo Brew. One of the comments on this recipe suggested using Peeps Ghosts instead of creating your own using whipped cream and mini chocolate chips as the recipe instructed. I went with the time saving tip and was happy with the outcome.

I also made this Caramel Toffee Dip and served with Winesap and Granny Smith apple slices from our apple picking trip the previous day. Somehow missed getting the photo. It is seriously so incredibly delicious. We made it again over the weekend, and it vanished quickly.

Pumpkin Krispy Treats
Modified from Little Family Fun

  • approximately 6 cups of crispy rice cereal (white or brown puffed rice cereal)
  • 1 package of marshmallows (I think minis are easier to melt)
  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 2 (3 oz) envelopes of orange Jell-O or Kool Aid (I used Jell-O)
  • Tootsie Roll midgets or large pretzel sticks
  • baking spray
  • wax paper
  • green icing, optional

Directions:

Melt the marshmallows and butter in microwave or on stove top. Once melted, remove from heat and stir in the Jell-O or Kool-Aid. If it is not “orange enough” for you, you can add some red and yellow food coloring to enhance the color. (I didn’t need to do this). Add the crispy rice cereal and stir well.

Spray your hands with baking spray and roll the mixture into balls and place them on wax paper. Make a dent into the top of the pumpkin and insert pretzel or tootsie roll. Mold pumpkin around the stem. Cool before piping on leaves.

Yield: approximately 2 dozen pumpkins

Sugar Cookies with Almond Icing

When it comes to sugar cookies, I’m very particular. I like thick, soft, dense, moist cookies with lots of icing.  Crunchy cookies have their place, but I don’t believe that frosted sugar cookies fall into that category.

My dear friend, Alicia, shared this cookie recipe with me several years ago, and I’ve never looked back. I love it! The icing recipe comes from the kitchen of my cousin, Jan. The almond extract in both the cookie and the icing is the secret weapon!

Alicia tells me that she’s substituted strawberry flavoring for the almond extract, and that was yummy, too. If you decide to substitute the almond extract for another flavor, I would suggest substituting the same flavor for the almond extract in the icing.

I included these on my Valentine goody plates, and I’ve some requests for the recipe, so here it is Ladies!

Sugar Cookies

Alicia’s Sugar Cookies

1-1/2  c sugar
1 c butter, softened
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp almond extract (or any other flavor)
4-1/2 c AP flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt

Cream sugar, butter, and eggs until smooth. Add flavorings. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Once combined, add to wet ingredients until combined.

Chill dough for about an hour.

Preheat oven to 350.

Divide chilled dough in half. Roll out dough into a 1/4-inch thick circle. Using cookie cutters, cut out shapes and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Continue to roll out all dough until it has all been used (or eaten). 😉

Bake 6-8 minutes. Let cool on pan for a few minutes to complete the cooking. Transfer to wire rack.

Cool completely before frosting.

Jan’s Almond Icing

1/2 c butter, softened
3 c powdered sugar
1/4 c milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/2  – 1 tsp almond extract (or any other flavoring)

Beat all ingredients and keep firm but spreadable. Add more powdered sugar if needed.

Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Frosting

I heart cinnamon rolls.

For years, I’ve believed that the only acceptable frosting for a big, fat, ooey, gooey cinnamon roll is cream cheese frosting. I believe that cream cheese frosting should be given its own food group.

It is with that paradigm that I approached this recipe. I couldn’t believe that anything could even come close to my beloved cream cheese frosting. I was willing to be open minded (somewhat) and give it a go, though.

This maple frosting is something special! And while it certainly hasn’t unseated my cream cheese frosting from top billing, it is a very yummy alternative and a scrumptious runner up.

I love the roll dough–it has an incredible texture and must be tried to believe.

The recipe makes so many cinnamon rolls that I was able to give some of my extra tins away as Christmas gifts. They looked so pretty, wrapped in cellophane and sealed with a festive ribbon.

For those of you, like me, who don’t own a coffee maker, you can either buy a cup of coffee from a nearby coffee shop or you can place some of the coffee grounds into a tea infuser. Boil some water and place the tea infuser into the hot water for several minutes. My Grandma M endorses Folger’s Classic Roast, so that’s what I used for this. Worked great!

In the end, I ended up making three recipes of the frosting. Apparently, I like lots of frosting!

Also, I wasn’t able to figure out how to accommodate the amount of butter Pioneer Woman demanded be used inside the cinnamon roll filling. Even when I halved the amount of butter, I still had trouble keeping the butter from escaping when I tried to roll up the dough. They were still yummy–even without the extra butter.

Tip: A roommate in college from my Freshman year taught me to use dental floss to slice cinnamon rolls (as opposed to using a knife). I still use this technique and believe it works better than anything else. To use dental floss, use about 18 inches of floss. Slide the mid-point of the floss under the ready-to-slice, rolled-up dough. Lift the two opposite ends, and bring the ends together. Have the ends move past each other in opposite directions until the string slices through the dough. Repeat until all the rolls have been sliced.

I hope that makes sense.

For any goop that escapes while you’re rolling or slicing, just scoop it up with your sliced, uncooked rolls before placing them in the baking dish.

cinnamon-rolls1

Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Frosting
Modified from The Pioneer Woman Cooks

Yield: 7 disposable, round cake or pie tins full of cinnamon rolls (about 6-8 rolls per pan)

Roll Ingredients & Instructions
1 quart whole milk
1 c vegetable oil
1 c sugar
2 pkgs or 2 T active dry yeast
8 + 1 c all-purpose flour
1 heaping tsp baking powder
1 scant tsp baking soda
1 heaping T salt
1 1/2 – 2 c butter, melted
2 c sugar
generous sprinkling of cinnamon

Mix the milk, vegetable oil, and sugar in a pan. “Scald” the mixture (heat until just before the boiling point). Turn off heat and leave to cool 45 minutes to 1 hour. When the mixture is lukewarm to warm, but NOT hot, add yeast. Let this sit for a minute. Then add 8 cups of flour. Stir mixture together. Cover and let rise for at least an hour. Punch down.

Add 1 more cup of flour, the baking powder, baking soda, and the salt. Stir mixture together. (At this point, you could cover the dough and put it in the fridge until you need it–overnight or even a day or two, if necessary. Just keep your eye on it, and if it starts to splurge out of the pan, just punch it down).

Melt 7 T of butter, and distribute 1 T into each of the seven round tins.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Sprinkle counter or table surface generously with flour. Take half the dough and knead into a rough rectangle. Roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thickness, maintaining a general rectangular shape. Drizzle 3/4 c – 1 c melted butter over the dough. Next, sprinkle 1 c of sugar over the butter followed by a generous sprinkling of cinnamon.

Starting at the edge furthest from you, begin rolling the dough in a neat line toward you. Keep the roll relatively tight as you go–being careful to prevent any escape of the butter/sugar/cinnamon mix. After the rolling is complete, pinch the seam to the roll to seal it.

Cut the rolls approximately 3/4 to 1 inch thick and lay them in the buttered pans. Repeat the process with the other half of the dough.

Let the rolls rise for 20-30 minutes, then bake at 400 degrees for 15-18 minutes or until lightly golden brown.

Maple Frosting Ingredients & Instructions
4 c powdered sugar
2 tsp maple flavoring (Note: I used Mapeline flavoring instead)
1/2 c milk
1/4 c butter, melted
1/4 c brewed coffee (Note: Per my grandma’s recommendation, I used Folger’s Classic Roast)
1/8 tsp salt

Mix together all ingredients and stir well until smooth. Frosting should be thick but pourable. Taste and adjust as needed. Generously drizzle over the warm rolls. Go crazy, and don’t skimp on the frosting!

Fruit and Dip

My cousin Tracy made this fruit dip years and years ago for a family get together around Christmas time. It made quite the splash.

Since then, I’ve made it for numerous parties, brunches, etc. I ALWAYS have lots of requests for the recipe. It is so easy and so mouth-wateringly delicious!

fruit-dip

Fruit Dip

1 – 8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 – 7-oz jar Marshmallow Creme

Mix well. Serve with fruit (i.e., strawberries, blueberries, bananas, mandarin oranges, pineapple, apples, grapes, etc.).

Overnight Waffles with Buttermilk Syrup

I found these recipes over at Your HomeBased Mom’s site, and have made them a couple times. Each time I’ve served them, I’ve received an overwhelming response. Everyone LOVES them–even people who claim to not be “waffle people.” It’s my new go-to waffle recipe.

Warning: the syrup is so good that you may feel the need to drink it. Don’t be ashamed, and indulge!

P.S. There is no need to butter your waffle before smothering it with this syrup. The syrup is sufficiently buttery in and of itself!

ovnt-wffls-w-bttrmlk-syrup

Overnight Waffles
from Your Homebased Mom

1/2 cup warm water
1 package dry yeast
2 cups milk, warmed
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. granulated sugar
2 cups flour
2 eggs
1/4 tsp. baking soda

Use a big mixing bowl (the batter will rise to double its original volume.)  Put the water in the mixing bowl and sprinkle in the yeast.  Let stand to dissolve for 5 minutes.  Warm the milk on the stove (I just add in the butter so it is melting as the milk warms).  Be careful not to let the milk boil or get too hot.  You don’t want it to kill the yeast when you add it into the yeast mixture.

Add the milk, butter, salt, sugar and flour to the yeast mixture and stir until smooth and blended (can use a hand beater to get rid of the lumps if needed, I usually don’t need to.)  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let stand overnight at room temperature.  Just before cooking the waffles, beat in the eggs, add the baking soda, and stir until well mixed.  The batter will be very thin.  Pour about 1/2 to 3/4 cup batter into a very hot waffle iron.  Bake the waffles until they are golden and crisp.  This batter will keep well for several days in the refrigerator.

Depending on the size of your waffle iron this makes about 6-8 waffles.

Magelby’s Buttermilk Syrup
from Your HomeBased Mom

1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup buttermilk
1 Tbsp vanilla
1 Tbsp corn syrup
1/2 tsp baking soda

Bring first five ingredients to a boil.  Add baking soda.  Boil 10 seconds and remove from heat immediately to avoid boil over.  I use a fairly deep, heavy pan. Serve warm.

Peanut Butter Dip

This is another of my Grandma M’s recipes and is a family FAVORITE! Even my hubby, who claims he’s “allergic” to apples & isn’t a “sweets guy,” couldn’t get enough. I’ve finally found a way to get him to eat an apple! It’s a miracle!

Peanut Butter Dip

1 cup peanut butter
1 cup brown sugar
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 – 1/2 cup milk

Mix together until smooth.  Dip your favorite apple slices and ENJOY!!!

Spiced Apple Waffles with Cinnamon Syrup

It’s apple time round these parts, and that makes me happy!

Last weekend, we attended visited a nearby orchard and came home with several varieties of yummy, locally-grown apples. What a treat!

In preparation for our apple outing, I spent some time searching for apple recipes on some of my favorite food blogs and was able to find several potential candidates.

These two recipes come from a couple different sources. Williams-Sonoma is responsible for the waffle recipe and Your Homebased Mom is the source of the syrup. Have I mentioned lately how much I LOVE the latter’s site?!?

I love making waffles, and I love trying new varieties of waffles. One thing that makes waffle making so easy-peasy is my KitchenAid Pro Line Waffle Maker. It allows me to make two waffles at a time, and because it rotates and allows the waffles to cook upside down, they stay lighter and fluffier. Thanks to many people’s generous gift cards that we received when we got married, we were able to procure this handy appliance, and I have never regretted the aquisition.

I served these waffles with Cinnamon Syrup, Cool Whip sprinkled with cinnamon. Next time I make the waffles, I may try adding a little apple juice (and a little more flour to compensate) to the mix–in an effort to increase the apple flavor.

And the icing on the cake syrup on the waffle is that I can now mark “Syrup” off of my list of things to conquer!

Williams-Sonoma Spiced Apple Waffles

Yield: Eight 6-inch Belgian waffles

3 eggs, separated
3/4 cup buttermilk, warmed>
3/4 cup milk, warmed
8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and grated
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup toasted pecans, chopped (I omitted this time, but I think the pecan addition would be delish)!
Sweetened whipped cream for serving

Preheat an oven to 200°F. Preheat a Belgian waffle maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, buttermilk, milk and butter. Add the grated apple and stir to combine.

In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt. Add the flour mixture to the egg yolk mixture and whisk until smooth (some small lumps are OK).

Using an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form, about 1 minute. Increase the speed to high, add the sugar 1 Tbs. at a time and beat until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 3 minutes. Fold half of the whites into the batter, then carefully fold in the remaining whites.

Sprinkle 2 Tbs. of the chopped pecans onto the waffle maker. Pour about 2/3 cup of the batter onto the surface. Cook the waffles according to the manufacturer’s instructions until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer the waffles to a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven while you cook the remaining waffles.

Serve the waffles with whipped cream.

Leigh Anne’s Cinnamon Syrup

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup whipping cream

In medium saucepan, stir all ingredients together EXCEPT cream.  Stirring constantly, bring to a boil over medium heat.  Boil 2 minutes.  Remove from heat, stir in cream.  Cool 30 minutes.  Syrup will thicken as it cools.  Serve warm.