Monday , 20 November 2017

Kyra’s Kitchen: Happy Halloween – It’s Time for Treats Part 1

Can you remember when Halloween was THE neighborhood celebration? Every ‘treat’ was homemade with each neighbor preparing his or her specialty.   On our street, one served hot spiced apple cider, another toffee apples and yet another homemade candy. My next-door neighbor Gladys handed out her famous pumpkin cookies.

Those were the glory days of Halloween.

Then came the razors hidden in the apples and kids being hurt – and Halloween was forever robbed of its innocence – allowing candy manufacturers to take over ‘treating’ our kids – selling ‘safe’ wrapped candy, which parents still insist on inspecting.

I, however, refused to bow to a ‘commercialized’ holiday. Each Halloween my husband would sally forth, ‘tricked’ out in his frightful, [and he thought unrecognizable], ‘Wicked Witch of the West’ costume to deliver homemade treats throughout our neighborhood.  And each year when he appeared at their front doors he was greeted by happy little faces with the delighted cry of recognition……..‘Hi Norm’!

McKinney, with its proud history of honoring the past, would be the perfect town to turn back the clock and restore Halloween to its former glory. I am inviting you to put the magic back….

This was not necessary in the good ole days, but now it is a good idea to label what you make and add your name and address.

You will note that a number of recipes have the same ingredients – so you can ‘use up’ what you have purchased.

Here are some TREAT you can make in your own kitchen. We have so many ideas we will give you some this week and some next.

CHOCOLATE SPIDERS

1 lb. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2-package chow mein noodles
1 jar Red Hots

Melt the chocolate in a large bowl in the microwave on High for one minute. Stir to continue melting the chocolate.
Stir in enough noodles to coat evenly with chocolate.
Drop spoonfuls onto a wax paper lined tray.
Arrange 2 red hot eyes on top.
Allow to dry

WITCH’S HATS

1 package ice cream cones [NOT cups] 1/4 package mini marshmallows
1/2-package Famous Chocolate Wafer cookies
4 oz melted semi-sweet chocolate chips

Using a serrated knife, carefully cut the cones 2” from the point [to form the ‘hat]*.
Dip two mini marshmallows in the chocolate, insert inside the ‘hat’ and affix the ‘hat’ on top of the chocolate cookie.  See that there is enough chocolate around to edge of the hat to allow it to adhere to the cookie.
Chill – and allow to set.

*Note: Do NOT discard the rest of the cone.  If you stuff the cut ends with marshmallows to contain the drips– you can still use them for ice cream!

GHOUL COOKIES

1 package large cookies [your choice] or bake your own.
8 oz. melted white chocolate chips
Candy corn
Red Hots

Melt chocolate chips in a microwaveable bowl on High for one minute.  Stir to continue the melting.
Dip the cookies half way up in the melted chocolate and set on a wax paper lined cookie sheet. 
Press the candy corn ‘fangs’ into the chocolate and ‘glue’ red eyes on top with a dab of chocolate. 
Allow to set.

GHOST HANDS

1 package clear plastic gloves [available in most supermarkets] Candy corn
Popcorn – bought or made
Ribbon
Red marker pen

Drop a couple of candy corns into the bottom of each glove finger.
Fill the glove with the popcorn, pushing the popcorn down into the fingers and thumb.
Secure the ‘wrist’ with ribbon color of your choice.
Paint the tips of  [bloody] fingers with the red pen.

CUPCAKES……… WORMS AND EYEBALLS

1 dozen chocolate cupcakes – bought or made
1/2-package Famous chocolate wafer cookies
4 oz melted semi-sweet chocolate chips and/or white chocolate chips
1 package gummy or sour worms
or
1 package chocolate or bubblegum eyeballs
1 tube red cake decorating jell [available in supermarkets and craft stores]

Worms

Crush the cookies in a plastic bag until fine – pour onto a flat plate.
Spread a thin layer of semi-sweet melted chocolate on top of the cupcakes and press the top of the cupcakes into the cookie crumbs to create the ‘soil’.
Insert the worms into the cupcake to ‘crawl’ out of the ‘soil’.

Eyeballs

Spread a thin layer of semi sweet chocolate on the cupcakes and press the top of the cupcake into the crumbs.
Press an eyeball down into the center of the ‘soil’ so it is just peeking through.
or
Spread white melted chocolate on the cupcakes. 
Press an eyeball into the center. 
Drizzle red decorating jell around to imitate a blood shot eye.

Note: Leave the wrapping on the chocolate eyeballs but you can remove the clear wrapping from the bubblegum.

SURPRISE PUMPKINS

1 cup soft butter
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
Pinch salt
1/2 cup finely ground almonds *
1 tablespoon thawed orange juice concentrate
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2-3 drops orange food color or preferably 1/8 teaspoon powdered orange color**
1 package chocolate kisses, unwrapped
or
1 package whole pitted dates – cut in half 
Confectioner’s sugar [optional] Tube of ready made green icing

Pre heat the oven to 350 [325 if convection].
Beat the butter and confectioner’s sugar together with the salt – until light.
Add the ground almonds and orange juice concentrate.
Stir in the flour and food coloring.  Mix to form a stiff dough. 
You may need to knead the dough once all the flour is added.
Wrap a heaped tablespoon of the dough around a chocolate kiss or a date half to cover completely and roll into balls. 
Depress the top slightly to resemble a pumpkin.
Set on a baking paper-lined cookie sheet and bake for about 10 minutes or until the cookies are dry but not browned.
[Optional] roll the cookies immediately in confectioners sugar to coat lightly.
Allow to cool.
Pipe green ‘leaves’ on top using the tube of green icing

Notes:
*  Ground almonds are available at most good supermarkets or look for almond meal.
**Orange cake decorating color is available at craft stores and cake decorating stores.

About the Author
McKinney resident Kyra Effren is a contributing writer for TownSquareBuzz.com’s “Food” section.  She is a retired food stylist and contributing writer for the “Food” section of Dallas Morning News. In 1975, Effren opened Cours de Cuisine Cooking School in Dallas and in 1978, she was awarded The Commanderie des Cordon Bleu in France for her contributions to French cooking.   She has edited multiple cookbooks and served as recipe tester for a number of cookbooks including both of the Mansion on Turtle Creek cookbooks by Dean Fearing and baking books by Nick Malgieri.

Kyra welcomes any and all reader comments and suggestions.  What would you like to have for dinner?

 

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