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Archive for Halloween

FOOD FUN: Marshmallow Cream Halloween Cupcakes

Ghost Cupcake

Marshmallow Fluff Cupcake

Orange Ghoul Cupcake

[1] Pipe ghost tops onto cupcakes. You can use any flavor cupcake you like. The recipe above, from California Strawberries, has an extra surprise: strawberries in the cake. [2] Another approach: a bed of marshmallow topped with Halloween candy (photo courtesy Paper Chef). [3] This orange ghoul was created by Food Network. You can tint the frosting, meringue or marshmallow any color you like.


Ready for more Halloween food fun?

You can make these cupcakes with a piping bag and frosting or meringue powder.

Or you can use a jar of marshmallow cream (Fluff, Jet-Puffed, RiceMellow, Solo, etc.), or homemade marshmallow cream.

The only challenge with the latter is that marshmallow cream won’t hold its shape over time. It needs to be refrigerated so it doesn’t collapse;

  • You need to first first chill the marshmallow in the fridge (place it in the plastic piping bag first).
  • When ready to pipe, cut a nickel-size corner off the plastic bag and pipe away.
  • Keep the cupcakes in the fridge until ready to serve, so the marshmallow doesn’t soften.
    For The Eyes

  • Use mini chocolate chips for the eyes. If you want a mouth, use a regular or large chip.
  • Insert the chips top side in, so the flat (bottom) side is on the surface of the ghost.

    Marshmallow dates back to ancient Egypt. The marsh mallow plant that was plentiful along the banks of the Nile has a slippery sap that forms a gel when mixed with water. The Egyptians mixed the “juice” with honey to make a confection, reserved for the wealthy and the gods.

    The Roman scholar Pliny the Elder credited the sap with curing all sorts of diseases, and encouraged people to drink the juice daily, although it wasn’t very palatable (what happened to the honey?). Still, for centuries the sap was used to treat sore throats, skin conditions and other maladies.
    Modern Marshmallow

    In the mid-19th century, a pharmacist in Paris came up with the idea of whipping the sap with sugar and egg whites into a light, sweet, fluffy throat remedy. A variation soon became popular as marshmallow candy.

    By the late 19th century, confectioners had determined how to mass-produce marshmallows, which included eliminating the sap entirely and replacing it with gelatin. (Prepared gelatin was patented in 1845; prior to then it was laborious to render and clarify gelatin from cattle and pig bones, skin, tendons and ligaments; and in addition to setting aspics, it was desirable as glue, a use that dates back to ancient Egypt.).

    Marshmallow sauces were popular in the early 20th century (see Marshmallow History). But to make marshmallow sauce or frosting required that the cook first make marshmallow cream. It was a two-step process: make a sugar syrup, melt marshmallow candy in a double boiler, and combine them with the syrup.

    In 1910 a marshmallow cream called Marshmallow Fluff was sold to ice cream parlors by Limpert Brothers, a company that still exists in New Jersey. You can see the original packaging on their website. Snowflake Marshmallow Creme was available around 1914.


    The first commercially successful, shelf-stable marshmallow cream, it was produced by the Curtis Marshmallow Factory of Melrose, Massachusetts. They ultimately bought the Marshmallow Fluff brand from the Lippert Brothers (details).

    While Marshmallow Fluff wasn’t the first marshmallow cream, it’s the one that endured: 94 years later, the brand is still around, with a host of me-too brands.

    Unlike conventional marshmallows, which require gelatin (an animal product) or a seaweed equivalent to set, marshmallow cream is a kosher product made from corn syrup, sugar, water, egg whites, artificial flavor, cream of tartar, xanthan gum and artificial color.

    Marshmallow Fluff is OU Kosher, Kraft Jet-Puffed Marshmallow Creme is OK Kosher. Ricemellow Creme, manufactured by Suzanne’s Specialties, Inc., is a vegan equivalent.

    Some brands call it marshmallow cream, others marshmallow creme. What’s the difference between cream and creme?

    In the U.S., it’s just the spelling. Creme is an Americanization of the French word for cream, crème (pronounced KREHM).

    When you have a perfectly good English word, why appropriate a word from another language, then mis-spell and mis-pronounce it?

    [Insert your answer here.]



    TIP OF THE DAY: A Hard Cider Party For Halloween

    Still looking for a Halloween activity?

    How about a hard cider party? It’s adult, it’s fun, and it’s an opportunity to taste and compare more hard ciders than most of us get to do.

    While in the U.S. and parts of Canada, the term “apple cider” is interchangeable with apple juice, in Europe a glass of cider is not kid stuff. It’s an alcoholic drink that that many prefer to beer—and if you look at the explosive sales figures, Americans are also discovering its charms: It’s the fastest-growing alcohol category.

    When apples are pressed and bottled, you have apple juice—also called apple cider in the U.S., although in other countries apple cider refers to hard cider.

    Hard cider is made from fermented apple juice; over a few months, the sugars in the juice turn into alcohol. As with craft beer, each brand has a distinct flavor profile and alcoholic content, generally from 3% ABV (alcohol by volume) or less to 8.5% or more.

  • Hard cider uses a different blend of apples than apple juice. In fact, many more apple varieties are used to create a fine cider. The import Magners Irish Cider is made from 17 varieties of apples!
  • Pears are also turned into cider, called perry in the U.K.
  • The juice ferments for eight weeks after the apples are pressed. The cider then matures or several months, and afterward is blended, filtered and carbonated. The result is a drink with the carbonation and alcohol of beer and the flavor of apples.
  • Many cider apples are sour, and can’t substitute for eating apples.
  • Like wine, cider it has a relatively high concentration of antioxidants; it’s naturally gluten-free and is less filling than beer.

    Beyond Halloween, you can also have a cider tasting during Thanksgiving cocktail hour, for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and other celebrations.

    1. INVITE friends today: Halloween is eight days away.

    2. PLAN the number of ciders based on the number of people. If you’re serving 8 or more different ciders, estimate one bottle per four proper.

    3. PARE the list. There are many different styles of cider, and ciders from different countries (England, France, Ireland, Spain and others). Each country has its own preferred style, as you’ll see in the Top Artisan Ciders section below. You can’t try them all in one night—but you can have subsequent tastings to try the rest.

  • We recommend sticking with American cider brands for the first event. You want to try a good representation of artisan ciders. There are so many different types of local cider: dry , sweet, barrel-aged, At the next event, you can taste the winners against the Europeans.
  • Similarly, save the barrel-aged, flavored ciders (apple pie, cherry, honey, raspberry, orange, etc.), ice cider (like ice wine, it’s pressed from naturally frozen fruit), perry and spiced ciders for next time.
  • Look for Angry Orchard, Crispin, Strongbow and Woodchuck, for starters; they’re national brands. You can create an entire tasting just by gathering up the different expressions of each brand. For example, Angry Orchard features Apple Ginger, Crisp Apple, Green Apple, Hop’n Mad Apple, Stone Dry, plus a fall seasonal cider, Cinn-Full Apple.
  • Artisan ciders tend to be distributed in the limited area where they are produced—not just because small companies lack sales and marketing heft, but because each brand needs to go through approval of each state liquor authority. It’s daunting, but we’ve listed some highly-rated ciders below.
  • Do not mistakenly pick up a flavored apple beer, like Redd’s Apple Cider. These beverages are artificially flavored, and don’t belong on the same table as cider, an all-natural drink.
  • Do have some apple cider (apple juice) for designated drivers. If you buy a few different kinds, they can have their own “tasting.”
    4. PLAN the eats. You can serve hard cider with any snack or food you’d serve with beer, but the sweetness of cider allows you to serve it with desserts, too.

  • For snacks: charcuterie and hearty cheeses.

    Angry Orchard Cider

    Crispin Cider

    Woodchuck Hard Cider

    Strongbow Cider

    [1] Angry Orchard, owned by Boston Brewing Company (parent of Samuel Adams beer), is the nation’s #1 cider brand (photo courtesy Boston Brewing). [2] Crispin makes a variety of styles, as well as perry (pear cider) under the Fox Barrel brand (photo courtesy Crispin Hard Cider Co.). [3] Woodchuck, another popular national brand (photo courtesy Fletcher6 | Wikipedia). [4] Strongbow cider is produced by Heineken (photo courtesy Heineken USA).

  • For main courses: chicken, pork, sausages, soups, stews, fondue (you can substitute hard cider for wine in most recipes and drink rest of the cider along with the meal).
  • For dessert: Apple desserts pair beautifully. We like bread pudding, cobbler or crisp (the difference), pie and apple-topped cheesecake.

    Here are some of the nation’s top-rated artisan ciders: Brand, variety and style. “Crisp/Dry” is the most common style. “Funky” refers to a style popular in France, with [what we really enjoy] barnardy aromas. They can also be crisp and dry. Off Dry/Semi-Dry is the classic English style: sweetness of fruit followed by a dry finish.

    Dessert ciders are sweet, like dessert wine; although off dry/semi-dry and crisp ciders can also be paired with desserts.

  • CALIFORNIA: Bonny Doon, Querry (sweet)
  • MASSACHUSETTS: Bantam, Wunderkind (off dry/semi-dry)
  • MICHIGAN: Virtue Cider, Lapinette (funky style)
  • NEW HAMPSHIRE: Farnum Hill, Extra Dry (crisp/dry style)
  • NEW YORK: Bellwether Hard Cider, King Baldwin (crisp/dry style), Doc’s Draft, Original Hard Apple Cider (off dry/semi-dry), Eve’s Cidery, Darling Creek (off dry/semi-dry), Redbyrd Orchard, Starblossom (funky style), Wölffer Estate, 139 Dry Rosé Cider (off dry/semi-dry)(
  • OREGON: E.Z. Orchards, Cidre Dry (funky style), Reverend Nat’s, Revival Hard Apple (crisp/dry), Traditions Ciderworks, Riverwood (off dry/semi-dry)
  • TEXAS: Argus Cidery, 2013 Perennial (funky style), Austin Eastciders, Gold Top (funky style)
  • VERMONT: Eden, Sparkling Cider, Dry (off dry/semi-dry
  • VIRGINIA: Foggy Ridge Cider, First Fruit (crisp/dry style)
  • WASHINGTON: Snowdrift Cider Co., Orchard Select (crisp/dry style)
  • WISCONSIN: AeppelTreow, Appely Brut; Bellwether Hard Cider, King Baldwin (crisp/dry style)


    FOOD FUN: “Eyeball” Meatball Sandwiches Or Subs

    Eyeball Meatball Sandwich Recipe

    French Rolls Recipe

    [1] Here’s looking at you! Eyeball meatball sandwich from BBQ Bob Trudnak | BBQ Guru. [2] French rolls are crusty on the outside, with an elegant crumb on the inside. They can be round dinner rolls, oblong or square sandwich rolls; the artisan versions have a dusting of flour. They’re easy to make at home with this recipe from


    You don’t need a grill to make these captivating eyeball meatball sandwiches from “BBQ Bob” Trudnak.

    We made them in a skillet on the stove top. Everyone—children and adults alike—wanted more.

    We love nouvelle surf and turf ideas of any kind. So to this recipe from “BBQ Bob” Trudnak, we added some “gourmet” flavor lists:

  • Anchovies (we had stocked up on cans from Cento).
  • substituted the more flavorful puttanesca sauce for the marina sauce.
  • Exchanged the blander Italian rolls with crusty French rolls (you can substitute lengths of a baguette instead).
  • Added some arugula we had on hand, which gave the sandwich a bite of “bite,” along with some fresh basil leaves (refreshing!).

    Ingredients For 4 Sandwiches

  • 2 pounds ground meatloaf mix (veal, pork, beef) or your preferred blend
  • 1/2 cup of grated romano or parmesan cheese
  • 1½ cups Italian bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon Dried basil
  • ¾ cup cold water
  • Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
  • Sliced black olives
  • Deli-sliced provolone cheese
  • Fresh short Italian rolls or substitute (we used the crisper French rolls)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • Optional: anchovies, fresh herbs, arugula, roasted red peppers
  • Optional: salad or crudités
  • Optional: beer for the adults, soft drinks for the kids

    1. HEAT the grill to 300°F direct; or for stovetop cooking, heat a skillet when ready to cook the meatballs.

    2. MIX the ground meat, eggs, bread crumbs, herbs, spices and water by hand in a bowl until well blended. Add ¼ cup of grated cheese and mix once more. Divide into 8 equal portions and oll the meatballs to the size of golf balls and set aside on wax paper.

    3. SET the meatballs in the fridge for 30 minutes while the grill comes up to temperature or the skillet heats. (a) Grill the meats balls over a direct fire turning them to brown all sides and take them to an internal temp of 165°F, or (b) similarly cook them join the stovetop. While they cook…

    4. WARM the marinara sauce. When the meatballs are done, remove them from the heat.

    5. LIGHTLY BUTTER each roll, and toast for a minute over the coals on the grill (we toasted ours plain in the toaster oven, then buttered them.

    6. ASSEMBLE: Place 2 meatballs on each roll and pour a little warm marinara sauce over them. Lay out two slices of provolone over the meatballs and place the sandwiches back on the grill in a pan to allow the cheese to melt. Place a sliced black olive on the top of each meatball so they look like eyeballs, then drizzle a little more marinara sauce between the meatballs.

    If using the arugula, anchovies, etc.: We put the on the arugula and basil on bottom half of the roll and the anchovies on top of the cheese, creating some nicely creep “hairy eyeballs.”

    WATCH THE PROCESS with this video:


    Robert “BBQ Bob” Trudnak of Lansdale, Pennsylvania has been grilling and smoking barbecue professionally for more than 13 years. He has amassed over 200 awards and prizes at national and international competitions. An entrepreneur and inventor, he helped launch the world’s first BBQ temperature control devices for the company BBQ Guru, which develops and sells high-tech cooker accessories.



    RECIPE: Pumpkin Cinnamon Streusel Cake

    For Thanksgiving, everyone focuses on the dessert pies: pumpkin pie, pecan pie, apple pie.

    But what about the rest of the week—or the entire months of October and November—when you want something a bit lighter than pie?

    King Arthur Flour solved our dilemma with their delicious Pumpkin Streusel Cake Mix. We stocked up last year after Thanksgiving, when it was half price; but it’s $9.95 full price at is still worth it.

    Why pay triple the price of a supermarket cake mix? It’s all in the quality of the ingredients.

    The King Arthur mix is made with real pumpkin and Vietnamese cinnamon. Even the flour in the mix—the highest grade milled—is better, as fans of King Arthur Flour can tell you.

    The mix includes a packet of cinnamon-streusel filling to make the swirl in the cake. You add butter, eggs, sour cream and water.

  • In addition to the instructions on the box, which can be used to make layer cakes or cupcakes, mix ½ teaspoon of baking soda into the dry cake mix.
  • Beat for just 30-60 seconds once all the ingredients are incorporated into the bowl.

    As an alternative, you can turn the mix into a pumpkin streusel coffee cake (photo #3).

  • Instead of using a bundt pan, spread the batter in a 9″ x 13″ baking pan. Sprinkle the streusel on top of the batter
  • Bake in an oven preheated to 350°F for 34 to 38 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.
  • Let the cake cool and keep it in the pan. To serve, cut into rectangles. Only cut as many rectangles as you need; the air that seeps into the cut surfaces will take away some freshness.
    To Make The Cake From Scratch

    Here’s a recipe.


    Pumpkin Streusel Bundt Cake

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01 data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/pumpkin streusel in heritage bundt kingarthur 230

    [1] A pumpkin cinnamon streusel bundt cake, glazed (photo courtesy King Arthur Flour). [2] The cake made in a Heritage bundt pan, also called a swirl bundt pan from Nordicware.


    Streusel is a crumb topping made from butter, flour and sugar. It can also contain chopped nuts or rolled oats.

    It’s used on cakes and pies alike.

    Pronounced SHTROY-zul, the word derives from the German “streuen,” meaning to sprinkle or scatter. The American mis-pronunciation “STROO sul?” Fuggedaboudit.

    Streusel is used as a topping for a variety of pies, fruit crisps, cakes and pastries, most notably coffee cakes. A pie with a streusel topping is sometimes referred to as a “crumble pie.”

    Some people like big streusel crumbs, others prefer fine crumbs. The choice is yours as you pinch the crumbs together.


    Pumpkin Streusel Coffee Cake

    Pumpkin Streusel Cake Mix

    [3] Pumpkin Streusel Coffee Cake made from this [4] Pumpkin Streusel Cake Mix (photos courtesy King Arthur Flour).




  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

    1. COMBINE the flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. With a pastry blender or fork, cut in the butter until fine crumbs form.

    2. USE your fingers to squeeze the fine crumbs into large clumps (or smaller as desired—we like large crumbs). Sprinkle over the top of the pie and bake per the recipe instructions. That’s it!

    First, there was the Austrian kugelhopf, a sweet yeast bread similar to brioche and panettone, made in a pan shaped like a chef’s hat or a turban.

    A Viennese specialty, it was a favorite of the Austrian Archduchess Marie Antoinette, who became the wife of King Louis XVI of France in 1770.

    Fast forward 180 years: Some Jewish ladies in Minneapolis couldn’t find any kugelhopf pans in the U.S., pans with pleated folds that their families had in the Old Country. They turned to a local manufacturer and convinced him to create a version of it. The bundt cake was born.

    The name bundt is a derivation of the German word for a gathering of people—exactly what you’ll have when there’s a bundt cake to be enjoyed.

    Here’s the history of the bundt cake.




    RECIPES: Halloween Cocktail Party

    No plans for Halloween? You can still invite the gang for a Halloween cocktail party with these special cocktails:

    There’s still time to invite friends to a Halloween cocktail party—costumes optional. Create your cocktail menu from these cocktail recipes:

  • Bloody Eyeball Martini
  • Bloody Vampire Martini
  • Brandy-Based Cocktails
  • Drunken Pumpkin Pie
  • Candy Corn Cocktail
  • Gin-Based Cocktails: Bloody Scream, Satan’s Whiskers, Swamp Demon, Witch’s Brew
  • Harvest Moon Cocktail
  • Kahlúa-Based Cocktails
  • Pumpkin Divine Martini
  • Smoking Blood Orange Mimosa
  • Spider Bite With Frangelico, dripping with “blood”
  • Vampire Cocktail With Fangs
  • Vodka-Based Cocktails
  • Toffee Apple Martini
  • Vampire Elixir

    1. SEND out the invite. Costumes optional?

    2. DEVELOP the menu: 4 or 5 cocktail options, plus a mocktail and soft drinks for the designated drivers.

    3. CHOOSE some recipes that can be made in advance, and make multiple quantities in pitchers.

    The easiest: a mix of apple cider, pomegranate juice and club soda, with an optional candy pumpkin, notched to fit on the glass rim, or a lime wheel.

    Mix the juices in a pitcher, and add club soda to the glass after pouring. Vary the proportions as you prefer, starting with a 2:1 or 3:1 proportion of juice to soda.

    Alternatively, there are hundreds of Halloween cocktail recipes online.


    Vampire Martini

    Bloody Eyeball Martini

    [1] Vampire Martini (photo courtesy Betty Crocker). [2] Bloody Eyeball Martini (photo courtesy Kim Plaszek).




    TIP OF THE DAY: Caramel Apple Dip With Apples & More

    Caramel Apple Dip

    Rainbow Baby Carrots

    [1] Caramel apple dip (photo courtesy Eat Wisconsin Cheese). [2] Rainbow baby carrots (photo Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE).


    If you’ll be home on Halloween—either dispensing candy or hunkering down—you need a Halloween treat that isn’t candy.

    Thanks to our friends at for this recipe.

    It’s easy to make with purchased caramel sauce (or if you’re hard core, your homemade sauce).

    The caramel dip is a bit indulgent, but you can:

  • Substitute plain or vanilla Greek yogurt for the cream and cream cheese.
  • Serve the lowest-calorie dippers: apple slices, carrots, celery and pretzel sticks.

    You can use this as a dip or a spread, a snack or a dessert.

    Ingredients For 8 Servings

  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup prepared caramel sauce
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup apple, peeled, cored and finely diced
  • Lemon juice

  • Apple slices or dried apple chips
  • Carrot and celery; sticks
  • Ginger snaps or graham crackers
  • Potato chips or pretzels

    1. BEAT the heavy cream in a medium bowl with an electric mixer, until stiff peaks begin to form (about 2-3 minutes).

    2. ADD the apple pie spice, vanilla extract, salt and caramel sauce. Mix until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl to ensure even mixing.

    3. ADD the cream cheese and mix until just incorporated. Add the diced apple and mix until evenly combined. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour. Serve with fruit and/or graham crackers, gingersnaps or other cookies. When ready to serve…

    4. TOSS the diced apple in lemon juice to prevent browning. Here are other ways to prevent browning.



    FOOD FUN: Brownie Eyeballs For Halloween

    In prior Halloweens we’ve suggested Eyeball Jell-O, Eyeball Ice Cream, radish eyeballs for crudites and garnish, deviled egg eyeballs.

    If your specialty produce purveyor has imported them from Australia, where they’re now in season, fresh lychees (photo #2) make the best eyeball food: nothing to do but peel and eat them.


    You can eat these as a snack, or use them as cupcake or ice cream toppers.

    Prep time is 45 minutes, chill time is 30 minutes.

    Ingredients For 16 Eyeballs

  • 1 10.25-ounce pouch fudge brownie mix
  • 1 cup Ocean Spray Craisins Original Dried Cranberries
  • 2 cups white chocolate chocolate chips or chopped white chocolate bar, melted
  • Tubes of decorative writing gel; green, red, black

    1. PREPARE the brownies according to package directions. Bake just until just done

    2. TRIM the crisp edges from the brownie while warm; eat them as you wish. Crumble the remaining warm brownie into a medium mixing bowl.

    3. ADD the Craisins to the warm crumbled brownies and combine until a thick dough-like mixture forms. Shape the dough into 1-inch balls, pressing firmly.

    4. DIP the balls into the melted chocolate, letting the excess drip off. Place on waxed paper-lined baking sheets. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until the chocolate is firm.


    Brownie Eyeballs

    Fresh Lychees

    [1] Brownie eyeballs for Halloween (photo courtesy Ocean Spray). [2] Fresh lychees, nature’s “eyeballs” (photo courtesy Livestrong).

    5. CREATE the eyeballs, first using red gel to make veins, green for center of the eye and black for the pupil.


  • Microwave 1 cup (6 ounces) of chips or chopped chocolate at a time. Use a small, microwave-safe bowl and melt on high (100% power) for 1 minute. Stir.
  • Microwave at additional 10- to 20-second intervals, stirring until smooth.
  • If your chocolate seizes or needs additional thinning for dipping, add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and blend well. If more oil is needed, add up to 1 teaspoon more to achieve desired results.


    TIP OF THE DAY: Carve Some Halloween Cheese

    A few days ago we recommended cheeses to create a beautiful Halloween-themed cheese plate, featuring artisan cheeses.

    But not everybody likes fancy cheeses, or has the budget to purchase them.

    So here’s Plan B: Halloween cheese fun that anyone can afford.

  • Make your favorite cheese ball recipe and turn it into a jack o’lantern by rolling it in crushed Cheetos or orange crackers like Ritz
  • Make the face with cut-up red bell pepper pieces. Press a stem made of broccoli stalk or celery into the top.
  • Here’s the recipe for the cheese ball in the bottom photo.

  • Mini Babybel Gouda snack cheeses have a pumpkin-color wax coating. The Mini Babybel White Cheddar Cheese variety is covered in white wax.
  • Use a chisel-tip Sharpie marker to create jack o’lantern faces. The eight-pack assortment includes black, orange, red, and two shades of green for the stems.

  • For larger parties, you can find wheels of orange cheddar—round with a flat top and bottom—in two-pounds and five pounds.
  • Remove the wax and carve a jack o’lantern face through the flat side.
  • Create a stem top from a piece of broccoli stalk, and affix it with a toothpick.
  • Present the jack o’lantern standing up so you can see through the eyes and nose. To keep it steady, you can trim a small piece from the bottom.
    The next two ideas are from, which has 15 different ways to use cheese at Halloween.

  • The easiest way to serve “Halloween cheese” is to use small (2-inches or smaller) Halloween-themed cookie cutters to cut shapes from orange cheddar or American cheese slices (top photo).
  • Place them on your favorite crackers. It’s that simple.

  • Make a Mummy Brie from an 8-ounce Brie and a sheet of puff pastry (center photo). Here’s the recipe: wrapped in puff pastry.
  • Delish uses black olives and mini pepperoni slices for the eyes, but we substituted slices of pimento-stuffed olives.

    Halloween Crackers & Cheese

    Halloween Brie

    Halloween Cheese Ball

    [1] Cut Halloween shapes with mini cookie cutters. [2] Baked Brie turns into a mummy with a sheet of puff pastry (photos #1 and #2 courtesy [3] A Halloween cheese ball (photo courtesy Snackworks).




    FOOD FUN: Jim Beam Caramel Apples (Or Other Favorite Whiskey)

    To celebrate its Apple Bourbon—available year-round but especially popular in fall recipes—Jim Beam has stepped beyond cocktails to caramel.

    Yes, you can dip your caramel apples into an easy homemade caramel that incorporates a cup of Jim Beam Apple Bourbon.

    No time to buy Jim Beam Apple Bourbon? Use what you’ve got on hand (including another whiskey) and pick some up Apple Bourbon when you can. You’ll definitely want to make another batch of these!


    Ingredients For 10 Caramel Apples

  • 2 cups light brown sugar
  • 8 ounces unsalted butter
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 6 ounces cold half and half
  • 8 ounces Jim Beam Apple Bourbon
  • 10 Granny Smith apples on thick wooden skewers
  • Optional garnish: 4 cups chopped salted peanuts, honey roasted nuts or other garnish

    1. COOK the brown sugar, butter and corn syrup in a large pot over medium high heat until a light boil begins. Whisk in the half and half and the bourbon and continue to whisk until the caramel sauce reaches 248°F. Remove from the heat.

    2. DIP each of the apples into the caramel, coating on all sides. Set on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. If desired, coat apples on all sides with chopped salted peanuts.

    3. ALLOW the caramel to cool before serving.

  • Classic Red Candy Apples
  • Easter Candy Apples
  • Matcha White Chocolate Granny Smith Apples (for Christmas or St. Pat’s)
  • Modern Art Chocolate Apples
  • Sugar-Free Red Candy Apples
    You can also host a candy apple party!


    Jim Beam Caramel Apples

    Jim Beam Apple Bourbon

    [1] Bourbon caramel apples. The caramel is made with [2] Jim Beam Apple Bourbon (photos courtesy Beam Suntory).


    The practice of coating fruit in sugar syrup dates back to ancient times. In addition to tasting good, honey and sugar were used as preserving agents to keep fruit from rotting.

    According to, food historians generally agree that caramel apples (toffee apples) date to the late 19th century. Both toffee and caramel can be traced to the early decades of the 18th century, buy inexpensive toffee and caramels for all became available by the end of the 19th century. Culinary evidence dates soft, chewy caramel coatings from that time.

    Red cinnamon-accented candy apples came later. And, while long associated with Halloween, they were originally Christmas fare, not a Halloween confection.

    According to articles in the Newark Evening News in 1948 and 1964, the red candy apple was invented in 1908 by William W. Kolb, a local confectioner. Experimenting with red cinnamon candies for Christmas, he dipped apples into the mixture and the modern candy apple was born.

    The tasty treat was soon being sold at the Jersey Shore, the circus and then in candy shops nationwide.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Ginger Pumpkin Pie With Pumpkin Seed Crust

    Pumpkin Seed Crust Recipe

    Pumpkin Mousse Cheesecake

    Caramel Cheesecake

    Caramel Apple Cheesecake

    [1] Pumpkin pie with a pumpkin seed-graham cracker crust (photo courtesy Whole Food Matters). [2] Pumpkin mousse cheesecake with pumpkin seed-flour crust (photo courtesy Kenwood World). [3] Cheesecake with walnut-pumpkin seed crust and a caramel sauce ribbon (photo courtesy King Arthur Flour). [4] Caramel Apple Cheesecake with gingersnap-pumpkinseed crust (photo courtesy iGourmet).


    Go seasonal with pie and cheese cake crusts: Add some pumpkin seeds and add a touch of fall, flavor, crunch and nutrition.

    You can add whole or chopped pumpkin seeds to your regular crusts, be they cookie (chocolate, gingersnap, graham cracker, shortbread), flour (wheat, nut, gluten free), or other recipe.

    Use raw, hulled pumpkin seeds, available in natural food stores and health food stores.

    First up is a graham cracker crust with pumpkin seeds, from Executive Chef Matt Greco of The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards in Livermore, California.

    Chef Greco initially made this delicious crust for a Black Out Pie, peanut butter and chocolate. So don’t limit your vista!



  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 3/4 cup crushed pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8-12 ounces unsalted butter, melted

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F.

    2. COMBINE all ingredients except the butter in a bowl. Slowly add enough butter so that the mixture holds its shape when squeezed in your hand.

    3. PRESS 3/4 of a cup of the mixture into a pie pan and bake at 350° for 10 minutes, or until the crust is lightly golden.


    This recipe is adapted from one by Florence Fabricant in The New York Times. Prep and cook time is 2 hours.
    Ingredients For 10 Servings

    For The Crust

  • ¾ cup raw hulled pumpkin seeds
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 10 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
    For The Filling

  • 2 cups canned pumpkin purée
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 1½ cups heavy cream
  • ¾ cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ cup finely chopped crystallized ginger

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 450°F. Spread the pumpkin seeds on a baking sheet and toast for 5 to 8 minutes, until you hear them start to pop. Remove from the oven.

    2. PLUSE 1/2 cup of the pumpkin seeds in a food processor. Mix with the graham cracker crumbs, ground ginger and granulated sugar. Stir in the melted butter. Pat the mixture firmly into the bottom and sides of a 10-inch pie pan and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

    3. BAKE the crust for 15 minutes and remove from the oven. Reduce the oven heat to 350°F.

    4. MIX the pumpkin purée, eggs, egg yolks, cream, brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg in a large bowl. Stir in the crystallized ginger and mix until smooth. Pour into the pre-baked crust and bake about an hour, until the filling is set.

    5. REMOVE the pie from the oven and the scatter remaining pumpkin seeds on top. Cool to room temperature before serving.

    How about a garnish of candied pumpkin seeds?

    You can sprinkle them on any dessert, or on whipped cream-topped drinks.


  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 cup hulled raw pumpkin seeds
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 325°F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment, or spray it with cooking spray.

    2. WHISK the egg white until frothy. Place the pumpkin seeds in a small bowl and add just enough egg white to coat the seeds. Add the salt, sugar and cinnamon and toss well to coat.

    3. SPREAD the seeds on the pan and bake for 15-20 minutes, until they begin to dry and turn golden. Cool completely on a wire rack. Garnish just before serving to keep the seeds crisp. If not using that day, store in an airtight jar.



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