Halloween

Halloween Cupcakes

Halloween Cupcakes These fun and festive Halloween cupcakes are topped with classic Halloween candies for a charming trick-or-treat treat.

Cupcakes are little more than muffins topped with icing. Other than that, muffins and cupcakes are pretty much identical—they are quickbreads that use the same amount of the basics like flour, milk and eggs. Muffins are generally customized with fruit, nuts, or vegetables (like these squashy ones); however, since these are topped with cream cheese frosting (and candy!), these squarely fall into the cupcake category.

This recipe is simply my pumpkin muffin recipe with cream cheese frosting. The pumpkin muffin recipe is wonderfully aromatic, full of spiciness from the cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon in the pumpkin pie spice. The cream cheese frosting adds a nice balance of sweetness to all of that spiciness. (Although I do admit, these are perfectly complete without the frosting.)

I’ll be debuting these tonight at the Boo-zy Bday Bash, so get there early if you want to try one! I’m sure they will be gone in no time!

 

Thick and rich pumpkin batter

 

Fresh from the oven Pumpkin Muffins

 

Frosting the mini cupcakes

Halloween Cupcakes
Cuisine: Dessert
Author: Vallery
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 36 mini cupcakes
These mini-pumpkin cupcakes are a festive treat, topped with cream cheese frosting and your favorite Halloween candies. This recipe is inspired by Thomas Keller's Bouchon Bakery.
Ingredients
  • Flour 1 1/4 cup + 3 tablespoons
  • Baking Soda 1/2 teaspoon
  • Pumpkin Pie Spice 1 1/2 teaspoons
  • Salt 1/2 teaspoon
  • Granulated Sugar 1 cup + 2 teaspoons
  • Vegetable Oil 1/4 cup + 3 tablespoons
  • Canned Pumpkin Puree 1 cup
  • Eggs 2
  • Topping:
  • Cream Cheese 8 ounces (room temperature)
  • Powdered Sugar 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Candy Corn
Instructions
  1. Line mini-cupcake tins with cupcake cups, and preheat oven to 325F.
  2. Prepare dry ingredients: Place four in a bowl. Sift in next two ingredients, and whisk in salt.
  3. Place sugar and vegetable oil in the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed for one minute. Add the pumpkin puree and increase speed to medium-low for about a minute. The batter should be smooth.
  4. Reduce speed to low and add eggs, one at a time, mixing for 15 seconds after each. It is very important to treat the batter delicately at this point and not over mix.
  5. Add the dry ingredients in 2 additions, mixing on medium-low for 10 seconds after each addition. Use a spatula to scrape the sides and the bottom of the bowl. Mix on medium-low for an additional 10 seconds.
  6. Evenly distribute the batter in the cupcake tins. Each cupcake cup should be about 2/3 full.
  7. Bake at 325F for about 15 minutes. The cupcakes are done when a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  8. Let cool on wire rack in the tin for 10 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from the tin, and let cool on wire rack completely.
  9. Prepare topping: Place softened cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment. Starting on low, mix for one minute. Increase to medium and mix for another minute. Add powdered sugar, and mix on low for one minute. Increase speed to medium, and mix until smooth. Add vanilla extract and mix an additional minute.
  10. Using a spatula or piping bag, ice the cupcakes. Top them with your favorite Halloween candies.

 

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Image Roasting pumpkin seeds is super easy, super healthy, and super delicious!

So maybe you carved a jack-o-lantern for Halloween or you made pumpkin stew, or maybe you just hollowed out a pumpkin to have a fancy serving dish.  If you did any of these, I know you came across a lot of pumpkin seeds.  Roasting them is super simple.

  1. Just clean them well and get all of the stringy pumpkin pulp off of them, and rinse them (do this immediately--it will be nearly impossible if you allow the pumpkin goo to dry on the seeds).  Preheat oven to 325 F.

  2. Bring the pumpkin seeds to a boil in salt water and let boil for about 1 minute.

  3. Dry them and arrange them in a SINGLE layer on a baking sheet (if you have a really large pumpkin, you may need two separate baking sheets).  Toss them in olive oil to coat.

  4. Bake in oven for about 15-25 minutes. This is the most important part. You have to taste them to determine whether or not they are done. You must watch them carefully because the little seeds inside of the pod will burn while the pod itself looks intact.  Keep checking every couple of minutes until the seeds texture/taste is sufficiently roasted.  Remove from oven, sprinkle with sea salt. Let cool, and store in an airtight container.

You can also toast butternut squash seeds and other gourd seeds.  Happy roasting!

Pumpkin Stew (Baked in a Pumpkin!)

Image The weather has cooled off, and Fall is officially here! I decided to celebrate the beginning of the Autumn season by making pumpkin stew (in a pumpkin!)  The pumpkin is a great vehicle to take the flavors of all of the ingredients and lock them in--and infuse them with pumpkin. I have been wanting to make a dish inside of a pumpkin for years, and I've finally realized that there's no time like the present.

Pumpkin stew (or any stew, really), is more a weekend gig. I mean, I certainly don't have four hours to watch a pot.  I guess this is where those crock pots come in handy, but a pumpkin isn't a crock pot, and you really do have to watch it to make sure it doesn't overcook.  The stew came out delicious.  My first stew. My first dish in a pumpkin.

I think I have carved a pumpkin before--but it was quite some time ago. At least 10+ years ago.  I wasn't sure of what I'd find when I opened the pumpkin, but it looked a lot like the inside of a cantaloupe--a weird, stringy pulp and seeds.  I did my best to save the seeds (for roasting!), and I gave up trying to "de-string" the pumpkin with my hand. I took a metal spoon and just did my best to scrape out the strings.

The first half of this stew is cooked in a dutch oven (or a pot if you don't have one like me). The second half is baked inside of the pumpkin.  I used a pumpkin pie pumpkin because it was a nice shape, and I knew it would have a delicious fleshy inside.

This is definitely a dish I'd make again (and again, and again!)  Enjoy, and Happy Fall!

Pumpkin Stew Recipe (Serves 5-6)  Adapted from taste of home

5-6 lb. pumpkin; 2 tablespoons canola oil, divided; 1 lb. beef stew meat cut into one-inch cubes; 1 onion chopped, 1 green bell pepper chopped; 2 medium potatoes cut into chunks; 2 medium carrots sliced; 2 garlic cloves minced; 1 teaspoon salt; 1/2 teaspoon pepper; 1 cup beef broth; 8 ounces of diced tomatoes, undrained

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  1. In a dutch oven (or large pot), brown meat in one tablespoon of oil. Add beef broth, potatoes, carrots, green pepper, garlic, onion, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer 75 minutes.  Add diced tomatoes.

  2. Wash pumpkin; cut to 6 to 8 in. circle around top stem. Remove top and set aside; set seeds aside, and loosen fibers from inside.

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3. Place pumpkin in a shallow sturdy baking pan. Spoon stew into pumpkin and replace top. Brush outside of pumpkin with remaining oil. Bake at 325° for 75 minutes or just until the pumpkin is tender (do not overbake). Serve stew from pumpkin, scooping out a little pumpkin with each serving.

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Witch Hat S'mores

Covering the witches hats with delicious dark chocolate I really love holidays, and I love cute things.  I somehow was possessed to make this ridiculously labor-intensive Halloween treat--homemade s'mores shaped like witches hats. This endeavor was a 2-day, 3-step process. Last night, I made dough for speculoos cookies (the brim of the hat).  The dough had to rest, so tonight, I rolled it out, cut it, and baked it.

I then made homemade marshmallows which I piped onto the cookies in the shape of a hat.  I enjoy making marshmallows because I like discovering how mysterious foods such as marshmallows are made.  You basically make a meringue and add gelatin.  I have made meringue one-thousand and one times since it is the base for macarons.  But if you've never made it before, you cook sugar, water, and corn syrup to 138 C, then add that to freshly whipped egg whites that have stiff peaks.

Piping homemade marshmallows requires technique, which requires practice! I certainly didn't get the hang of it until the very end. Plus, my cookies were already very small, which made it that much harder to pipe marshmallows with some height!

I then melted dark chocolate and poured it over the hats.

Super cute. Super fun. Super time consuming.

 

Witches Hat S'mores, Recipe Adapted from Bouchon Bakery

1/2 recipe for Speculoos Cookies

Mixture for Vanilla Marshmallows (see below)

Dark Chocolate, melted- 400g

  1. Preheat oven to 325 F. Line a sheet with parchment paper. Roll out speculoos dough as directed. Cut the dough into rounds, arrange on prepared sheet pan as directed. Bake as directed. Let cool.

piping marshmallow unto the baked speculoos cookies

  1. Transfer marshmallow mixture to a piping bag with a round tip.  Hold the bag vertically over the cookie and pipe the marshmallow so that it covers the cookie, leaving enough space on the cookie for the brim of the hat.  Spoon some melted chocolate over each hat to coat the marshmallow and cookie evenly. Let stand at room temperature until the chocolate sets.

ready to be enrobed in chocolate

ready to eat!

Vanilla Marshmallows

Ingredients: Silver leaf or powder gelatin (4 sheets of silver leaf or 9.6 g powder); Egg whites- 87g (1/4c + 2 tablespoons); Vanilla extract- 1/2 teaspoon; Granulated Sugar- 225g (1c + 2 tablespoons); Water- 112g (1/2c); Light Corn Syrup- 50g (2 1/2 tablespoon)

  1. If using silver gelatin sheets, soak sheets in ice cold water in a bowl for 5 minutes. Remove gelatin sheets from water and ring out excess water. Place in a small bowl over a pot of barely simmering water and melt the gelatin.  Reduce the heat to keep the gelatin warm.

  2. Meanwhile, place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Add vanilla.

  3. Combine granulated sugar, water, and corn syrup into a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir to dissolve sugar. When syrup reaches 121 C, start whisking the egg whites, and let sugar continue to cook. When sugar reaches 138 C, remove from heat. Egg whites should be forming stiff peaks by now. With the mixer on medium speed, slowly add sugar mixture to egg whites, continuing to whisk (be very careful not to splash the hot sugar).  Pour in gelatin and increase speed to medium-high, and mix for about 5 minutes, until the mixture is thick, glossy, and warm.  Transfer mixture to a piping bag.

Pumpkin Muffins with Fondant

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Growing up, I loved play-do.  I loved how it felt between my fingers when I squished it.. how my fingers and palms rolled it, patted it, shaped it, and sculpted it. I also loved getting my hands dirty.  As a child, I was dauntless.  I commanded the play-do to do as my hands told it.  My affinity for sculpting play-do has evolved into something more refined--decorating with fondant.

I love artistic, creative, fun food concepts.  I bought an amazing baking book back in January, and I have been patiently waiting for pumpkin season to try this recipe.  The muffins themselves are just scrumptious, although I prefer pumpkin bread in a loaf--not a muffin.  The recipe I used suggests making 6 jumbo muffins.  The problem with jumbo muffins is that no wants to eat that many carbs, but, I figured the jumbo muffins would make for more impressionable pumpkins.  I was feeling rather motivated, so I doubled the recipe.  Pumpkin muffins for all!

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Pumpkin Muffin Recipe (Makes 6 jumbo muffins or 12 standard size muffins)

Adapted from Thomas Keller's Bouchon Bakery 

Ingredients

All Purpose Flour- 200 g (1 1/4c + 3 Tablespoons) Baking Soda- 1/2 teaspoon Pumpkin pie spice- 1 1/2 teaspoons Nutmeg- 1/2 teaspoon Salt- 1/2 teaspoon Granulated Sugar- 222g (1 cup + 2 teaspoons) Canola Oil- 100g (1/4c + 3 Tablespoons) Pure pumpkin puree- 210g (3/4c + 2Tablespoons) 2 eggs 1 cup cream cheese icing (Combine 8 ounces cream cheese + 80 grams powdered sugar) 1.5 pounds orange fondant 6 cinnamon sticks

Method

Preheat the oven to 425F. Line a jumbo muffin tin (6 cups) with muffin liners. Lightly spray each liner with cooking spray.

Place the flour in a medium bowl. Sift in the baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, and nutmeg. Add salt, and whisk to combine.

Combine the sugar and oil in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed for about 1 minute. Add the pumpkin, increase the speed to medium-low and mix for about 1 minute, until smooth.  Reduce the speed to low and add the eggs one at a time, mixing for about 15 seconds after each, or until just combined.

Add the dry ingredients in 2 additions, mixing on low speed for about 15 seconds after each, or until just combined.  Remove the bowl from the mixer stand and scrape the bottom to incorporate any dry ingredients that may have settled there.

Fill cups evenly. Place pan in oven and lower the temperature to 325. Bake for 45-48 minutes for jumbo muffins (the baking time is much, much less if making standard-size or mini muffins), or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Set the pan on a cooling rack and cool completely.

Once the muffins have cooled, cut a small hole in each top where a pumpkin stem would be and fill with cream cheese frosting. Spread a thin layer of frosting over the top and sides of each muffin. (This will serve as the "glue" to hold the fondant in place.

Divide the fondant into 6 pieces, each weighing 150 grams. Roll one piece into a 6-8 inch round. You may use powdered sugar to keep the fondant from sticking to the mat, you hands and rolling pin. Carefully pick up the round and place it directly over the iced muffin.

Gently tug at the round so that it's as straight as possible, then trim the fondant so that you have just enough to cover the muffin.

Pick up the fondant-covered muffin and carefully tuck the fondant underneath the muffin. Trim any excess fondant that prevents the pumpkin muffin from being able to sit upright. Set the fondant-wrapped muffin on the table. Using a popsicle stick, starting from the center, indent the fondant to create the lines of a pumpkin. Place a cinnamon stick in the center of each muffin for the pumpkin's stem.

You may store these in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.

A very thick pumpkin batter

jumbo muffin pan

smeared icing

roll out the fondant

the cutest little pumpkin muffin