Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Skeleton Scarecrow Cookies


3 1/4 cup(s) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon(s) pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon(s) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
1 cup(s) (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup(s) sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract
Wooden skewers
Black and purple food coloring ($1.99 each, wilton.com)
2 cup(s) Royal Frosting
Black and purple decorating sugars (optional)


Combine flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and blend. Beat butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition; mix in vanilla. Gradually add flour mixture and beat until just smooth. Divide dough into 2 discs. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
Brush wooden skewers with black food coloring, if desired.
Heat oven to 350°F. Line 3 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Working on 1 dough disc at a time, roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to a scant 1/4-inch thickness. Cut out shape with a scarecrow cookie cutter ($1.29 each, downtowndough.com). Transfer shapes to prepared cookie sheets. Insert tinted wooden skewers about 2 inches into the dough between the legs. Repeat with remaining dough. Bake until cookies are golden brown around edges, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; cool completely.
Prepare Royal Frosting.
Divide Royal Frosting into 3 bowls. Tint one bowl black and one deep purple; leave one white. Transfer half of each color batch to separate pastry bags fitted with a plain number 1 tip. Thin the remaining frosting with a few teaspoons of water to the consistency of slightly whipped cream. Transfer each thinned color to separate resealable bags.
Outline each scarecrow in the desired colors with the thicker frostings. Snip a small corner from bags with the thinner frostings and fill in outlines. Allow cookies to dry at least 1 hour. Pipe other decorations on top of dried frosting with the thicker frosting. Add sugars, if desired. Let cookies dry completely, about 3 hours.

Pumpkin Ghosts


1 box(es) (14-ounce) pumpkin quick bread
1 cup(s) milk
1/3 cup(s) vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 can(s) (16-ounce) vanilla frosting
Black round sprinkles


Heat oven to 375°F. Grease the inside of 2 mini-ghost pans ($11.99 each, wilton.com and place them on a cookie sheet.
Prepare quick bread according to package directions using milk, vegetable oil, and eggs. Divide batter evenly between the ghost pans. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; invert and cool completely.
Line a cookie sheet with wax paper. Place a wire rack on top of cookie sheet. Trim tops of ghosts to make level and trim to make ghost shape. Arrange ghosts, cut side down, on wire rack about 2 inches apart.
Spoon vanilla frosting into a 2-cup glass measuring cup. Microwave on high, stirring frequently, until frosting is the texture of slightly whipped cream, about 15 to 20 seconds. (Do not overheat.)
Pour frosting over ghost cakes to cover completely. Reuse drippings if necessary; reheat and pour over cakes. Let cakes stand about 30 minutes to set. Carefully transfer to a serving platter. Add black sprinkles as the eyes.

Itsy, Bitsy, Spooky Spider


3 tablespoon(s) butter or margarine
1 package(s) (10 ounces, about 40) regular marshmallows, or 4 cups miniature marshmallows
6 cup(s) Ready-To-Eat Cereal Kellogg's® Rice Krispies® Cereal
Food coloring
Assorted candies
Canned frosting or decorating gel


In large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat.
Add Kellogg's® Rice Krispies® cereal. Stir until well coated.
Using buttered hands shape cereal mixture into eight spiders. Cool. Decorate with frosting and/or candies. Best if served the same day.

Pumpkin-Shaped Chocolate Cake


2 package(s) (18.25-oz.) chocolate cake mix, plus additional ingredients as directed on package
1 1/4 cup(s) confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon(s) (light) corn syrup
4 teaspoon(s) milk
red and yellow food coloring , or orange, if available, optional
1/3 cup(s) chocolate frosting
1 wafer ice cream cone
1 small tube green decorating icing , optional
edible leaf or petal sugar decorations, for garnish, optional


Mist two standard 12-cup Bundt cake pans with nonstick cooking spray. Prepare cake mixes as package label directs for 2 Bundt cakes. Bake as directed. Cool in pans for 10 minutes, then invert cakes onto wire racks to cool completely. You can also prepare cakes one at a time using the same pan.
Meanwhile, prepare glaze: In a small bowl, stir confectioners’ sugar, corn syrup and 4 tsp. milk together with a fork until smooth. Blend in remaining 1 tsp. milk, if necessary, for desired consistency. If you like, use food coloring to tint glaze orange, or just leave glaze white.
Trim the flat side of each cake with a serrated knife so it’s even. Place one cake, rounded side down, on a serving plate. Spread chocolate frosting on top (not a thick layer, just enough to hold the two cakes together). Position second cake on top of the first, flat side down.
Stir glaze again and drizzle over cake. Invert ice cream cone into hole in top of cake to make the pumpkin’s stem. If you like, use green icing to decorate the cone and arrange edible leaf decorations around it.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Colonial Hot Buttered Rum

2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 pinch salt
2 quarts hot water
3 cinnamon sticks
6 whole cloves
2 cups rum
1 cup sweetened whipped cream
ground nutmeg to taste

Combine the brown sugar, butter, salt and hot water in 5 quart slow cooker. Add cinnamon sticks and cloves. Cover and cook on Low for 5 hours. Stir in rum.
Ladle from the slow cooker into mugs, and top with whipped cream and a dusting of nutmeg.


2 bottles red wine
2 ounces dried orange zest
2 ounces cinnamon sticks
20 whole cardamom seeds
25 whole cloves
1 pound blanched almonds
1 pound raisins
1 pound sugar cubes
5 fluid ounces brandy

Pour wine into a large pot. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Wrap orange zest, cinnamon sticks, cardamom and cloves in cheesecloth, tie with kitchen string and put into pot. Let boil for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in almonds and raisins and continue to boil for 15 more minutes. Remove from heat.
Place a wire grill over the pot and cover with sugar cubes. Slowly pour on brandy, making sure to completely saturate the sugar. Light sugar with a match and let it flame. When sugar has melted, cover pot with lid to extinguish flame.
Stir and remove spice bag. Serve hot in cups with a few almonds and raisins.


3/4 cup water
3/4 cup white sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 orange
10 whole cloves
1 bottle red wine

In a saucepan, combine the water, sugar, and cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer.
Cut the orange in half, and squeeze the juice into the simmering water. Push the cloves into the outside of the orange peel, and place peel in the simmering water. Continue simmering for 30 minutes, until thick and syrupy.
Pour in the wine, and heat until steaming but not simmering. Remove the clove-studded orange halves. Serve hot in mugs or glasses that have been preheated in warm water (cold glasses will break.)

Hot Spiked Cider

1 quart water
3 orange spice tea bags
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 cups apple cider
1 1/2 cups light rum
8 cinnamon sticks
3 teaspoons butter

Pour water into a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and toss in the orange spice tea bags. Cover and let steep 5 minutes. Remove tea bags and stir in sugar, apple cider, rum, and 2 of the cinnamon sticks. Heat just to steaming -- do not boil.
Ladle hot cider into 6 mugs and drop 1/2 teaspoon butter into each. Garnish with a cinnamon "swizzle" stick.


1 cup water
2/3 cup white sugar
2 pinches ground cloves
1 cinnamon stick
3 cups apple juice
1 lemon, sliced

In a 3 quart saucepan, bring water, sugar, cloves and cinnamon to boil.
Stir in juice and heat through. Do not boil. Take spices out and pour over lemon slices in serving bowl. Serve warm.

Hot Spiced Cranberry Cider

2 quarts apple cider
6 cups cranberry juice
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
4 cinnamon sticks
1 1/2 teaspoons whole cloves
1 lemon, thinly sliced

In a large pot, combine apple cider, cranberry juice, brown sugar, cinnamon sticks, cloves and lemon slices. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove cinnamon, cloves, and lemon slices. Serve hot.

Warm and Spicy Autumn Punch

2 oranges
8 whole cloves
6 cups apple juice
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 cup honey
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 1/4 cups pineapple juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Stud the whole oranges with cloves, and bake for 30 minutes.
In a large saucepan, combine the apple juice and cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in the nutmeg, honey, lemon juice, and pineapple juice.
Serve hot in a punch bowl with the 2 clove-studded baked oranges floating on top.

Hot Spiced Cider

1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon whole allspice
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 pinch ground nutmeg
1 large orange, quartered with peel
2 quarts apple cider

Place filter in coffee basket, and fill with brown sugar, allspice, cloves, cinnamon stick, salt, nutmeg, and orange wedges. Pour apple cider into coffee pot where the water usually goes. Brew, and serve hot.

Hot Buttered Apple Cider

1 (16 ounce) bottle apple cider
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

In slow cooker over low heat, cook apple cider with maple syrup for 20 minutes or until steaming hot.
In a small bowl, combine butter, nutmeg and allspice. Mix well.
Pour cider into mugs and top with a teaspoon of spice butter.

Homemade Apple Cider

10 apples, quartered
3/4 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground allspice

Place apples in a large stockpot and add enough water cover by at least 2 inches. Stir in sugar, cinnamon, and allspice. Bring to a boil. Boil, uncovered, for 1 hour. Cover pot, reduce heat, and simmer for 2 hours.
Strain apple mixture though a fine mesh sieve. Discard solids. Drain cider again though a cheesecloth lined sieve. Refrigerate until cold.