Lately, I’ve seen photos of chocolate-dipped strawberries sculpted to look like rats, cookies made in the shape of tarantulas, and lychee fruits stuffed with grapes and made to look like eyeballs. On the savory side, I’ve found tomato soup served in test tubes and finger-like vegetables masquerading as severed appendages. Then there are mummified spanokopita, or even scarier, mummified meatloaf wrapped in wide noodles and garnished with beady black olive eyes. Inside, I’d imagine that it looks a lot like decomposing flesh, but I suppose that for some that’s just part of the charm.
For me though, Halloween is all about sweets, and not necessarily the creepy crawly kind either. I don’t care to have my slice of cake look like Frankenstein, nor do I have a huge desire to sculpt a zombie’s head out of an oversized Rice Krispies treat. What I do enjoy on Halloween is chocolate. I happen to like chocolate so much that yesterday I went through two pounds of the stuff. Yes, two whole pounds, and I have several dozen pumpkin truffles and chocolate-covered caramel apples to show for it. It’s one of the few times of year that I feel entirely comfortable if not obligated to spend a day in the kitchen whipping up nothing other than sugary, creamy, rich confections.
And so, in the spirit of this wonderfully gluttonous holiday, I thought I’d share a few photos, as well as some recipe links to boot.
Happy Halloween everybody.
These were actually last year's Halloween treats, but I thought I'd sneak them on here anyway. My little cousin piped the frosting onto these guys, and did some pretty impressive work for a fourteen-year-old, if I may say so myself. The yellow cupcake recipe came from Cooks Illustrated, as did both the buttercreams (Easy Chocolate Buttercream and Easy Vanilla Bean Buttercream. They are by far the best easy, egg-free buttercreams I've tried). Oh, and the photo credit goes to my dad on this one. He graciously photographed our cupcakes while I scrubbed the pastry bags clean of orange food dye.
Here is the first of yesterday's confections: caramel apples. These were from a Martha Stewart recipe. I added some vanilla to the caramel just prior to dipping, and later, double dipped a few in chocolate. Then they were rolled around in almonds and toffee bits, and several were sprinkled with salt.
And finally, my personal favorite, the pumpkin truffle. Recipe can be found here. I've made these every fall for about three years now. They're not so much pumpkin-y as they are dark and smoky, and entirely addicting.
If you're interested in truffles, Making Artisan Chocolates happens to be one of my favorite cookbooks. Just flipping through the pages might make you drool (not to mention inspire you a little bit). The recipes and flavor combinations (like honey/thyme), not to mention the various reference guides, are all pretty fabulous.