Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Your Guide to Everything Halloween: What's On the Menu?

Adult Only Get-Togethers

Try the Dracula's Kiss (pictured) for your Halloween cocktail party.

Midori (melon liqueur) is perfect for glow-in-the-dark cocktails like the Squashed Frog.

And, of course, there's always the classic Zombie, or its more feminine counterpart, the Voodoo Queen.

For Everyone

Speaking of Voodoo Queens, for Halloween Recipes you just can't beat Britta, the self-proclaimed Webmistress of the Dark.

My favorite recipe on her page, though I have yet to try it for fear of messing it up because her pictures are just so gorgeous, is the one for her Eerie Eyeballs. Please, if you try this recipe, let me know how it turns out! Is it as "easy" as she says?

Well, if that one's tough, there's no worries with the next recipe. I can vouch for it personally, as I make it every year for our Halloween gatherings with my favorite Pillsbury crescent rolls: Crescent Mummy Dogs (pictured, left).

Archie McPhee's, as well as some science shops and education supply stores, have inexpensive brain molds like the one used in the picture here. Use the brain mold for red jello, or ice for a cooler or punch (both very easy), or try something more complicated and serve up your own unique brain dish surrounded by a red sauce or jelly for impressive results.

By the way,under the brain picture in that last link are some excellent examples of Finger Cookies, which I have also heard referred to as "Witch's Fingers". if you skim down the page a way you'll find the recipe; to save you time I'll paste it here:

"Finger" Cookies
makes ~ 5 dozen
Yield: 5 dozen

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 egg
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla
2 2/3 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup whole blanched almonds
raspberry jelly

In bowl, beat together butter, sugar, egg, almond extract and vanilla. Stir dry ingredients together, then add to wet and stir thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.

user posted image

Working with one quarter of the dough at a time and keeping remainder refrigerated, roll a scant tablespoon full (I used a 1 oz. cookie scoop) of dough into a thin log shape about 4" long for each cookie. Squeeze clost to center and close to one end to create knuckle shapes. Press almond firmly into the end of the cookie for nail. Using paring knife, make slashes in several places to form knuckle. You want them a bit thin and gangly looking, since they'll puff a little when you bake them.

Place on lightly greased baking sheets (or use silicone sheets or parchment); bake in 325F oven for 20-25 minutes or until pale golden. Let cool for a few minutes.

Meanwhile, melt jelly over low heat in a small saucepan.

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Carefully lift almond off of each finger, spoon a tiny amount of jelly onto nail bed and press almond back in place so the jelly oozes out from underneath. You can also make slashes in the finger and fill them with "blood".

You can also form toes - just make the cookies shorter and a bit wider and only add one joint instead of two. No almonds for these, just indent where the nailbed should be and add a bit of melted jelly to highlight once they are baked.

Note from Viv: You can also use store-bought frozen cookie dough for the Finger Cookies, and then follow the directions above for rolling and assembling them.

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