Friday, October 28, 2011

Halloween Candied Chocolate Bark

I've set myself a candy-corn per diem for the month of October.  I have self control issues around these cute little triangular puffs of sugar.  So I've stuck them into chocolate to remind myself that they are in fact part of the dessert family and not to be consumed in extreme excess.  This semi backfired, because adding them to chocolate bark made them taste EVEN BETTER.
  

At this point, I consider myself a chocolate barker.  I make all types of bark: white chocolate with dried fruit and nuts, dark chocolate with orange slices, milk chocolate, marshmellows and graham crackers...you get the idea.  


There really aren't many rules to barking, you just melt chocolate, spread it out over a piece of foil, and decorate it with whatever edible treats you like.  Then you let it set and cool, break it up into pieces and enjoy.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Spooky Spider Cake, Happy Halloween!


The week of Halloween baking continues with this Spooky Spider marble cake.  This cake's recipe is based off of my ultimate go-to Quick & Delicious cake from South Africa's fabled Myran Rosen.  This time I actually used a part of the original recipe which I usually leave out, I marbled the cake with part vanilla and part chocolate cake.  Fancy.  Baking can get a bit expensive, so I like to choose recipes like this which call for simple ingredients that are easy to find and easy to stock up on.


Learning to make this spider design is mandatory for a large portion of Halloween inspired decorations.  I had never done it before but I found it to be simple enough.   


Now, I'm not that into the gory side of Halloween when it comes to what I'm eating, but a cute little arachnid doesn't bother me too much.  Word of advice though; there's a fine line between themed Halloween food and unappetizing food...tread carefully.  Then again, I'm all for keeping it spooky.  

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Halloween Sugar Cookies

As a self-proclaimed candy connoisseur, Halloween is one of my favorite holidays.  Pumpkin picking and cooler weather; it’s a sign of Fall and the avalanche of gastro-centered holidays to come.  The parade of delicious pleasures that begins October 31st each year and doesn’t stop until January 1st, or more likely February 14th, deserves a grand kick-off.  So I’ve decided to do a week’s worth of recipes of easy sweet Halloween treats, starting off with this cute and classic sugar cookie. 

  
I found this recipe years ago on allrecipes.com and with (literally) 136,781 people who have saved it when I last checked this weekend, it’s a fair assumption to say I’m not the only one who has found success with it.  The trick to this treat is to bake the cookies for 6 minutes maximum.  This way they keep their chewy texture and don’t burn or discolor. 



Even though my trick or treating days are sadly behind me, and the college Halloween party days are regrettably over…I like to decorate the apartment with some cute little pumpkins and spend a lazy afternoon baking Halloween sugar cookies.  Oh, and of course forcing the dog to try on costumes…

This guy was thrilled to be a fish for his first Halloween.   

 

*This sugar cookie dough must be refrigerated for an hour before you can roll it out and cut out the cookies, so make sure to account for that time constraint.  Side note: I remember scouring through my Mom’s collection of old recipe books when I was little to find a sugar cookie recipe that did not require refrigerating the dough first, because I absolutely did not want to waste time with that.  I have yet to find one, but if you do, please send it along!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Apple Pie: A Sweet and Simple Reminder that Autumn has Arrived!


From a Smitten Kitchen inspiration, which is aptly named “Simplest Apple Tart” came my best Fall recipe to date.  For the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah it is traditional to serve apples, honey, apples dipped in honey, and all sorts of sweet desserts inspired by these two main ingredients.  Although the feeling of flour dusted countertops and fingers can occasionally make me cringe…a simple pie like this is worth the small amount of effort involved.  I am a huge fan of flat pies: no pans, no drama.  They are rustic and elegant and showcase their main ingredients, rather than hide them away under a crust or a mousse which leaves them to mystery and interpretation.  This pie really has two basic ingredients – a crust and apples.  It’s sprinkled with sugar and brushed with melted butter for effect, but what really shine are the bare essentials of the recipe.

This Rosh Hashanah I was lucky enough to be home with my family and wanted to be sure to bake something delicious.  But with a very health conscience guest list and lots of little children, I didn’t want to go over the top in fat or sugar content.  Not to deny the fact that this is still a dessert, and should be treated as such, it is still a much healthier alternative to some other tempting options.  I also left the peel on the apples because it is SO much easier, a notch better for you and an added flavor bonus (in my opinion). 
I’d love to know what apple recipes are your favorite, so please share!

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