Halloween Party Recipes

October 16, 2008

 


You’ve probably figured out by now that when I’m not making gift baskets, I’m playing in the kitchen. Below are some fun Halloween recipes that I developed for All You magazine a few years back. They are all pretty easy, with steps that kids can help with, so round up the whole family for some spooky kitchen fun.

 

Ghost Chips

These chips are delicious on their own, but even better when accompanied by Satan’s Smokey Guacamole. (Recipe follows.) When you cut out the ghosts, use some of the leftover tortilla scraps to make wings for the Bat Bites (recipe follows), if you like. Reduce baking time to 8 to 10 minutes for the wings. 

 

Yields: 24 ghosts 

 

¼ cup vegetable oil, plus more for brushing pans

1 ½ teaspoons chili powder

½ teaspoon paprika  

½ teaspoon ground cumin

¼ teaspoon cayenne

½ teaspoon kosher salt

24 (6-inch) corn tortillas

 

1.    Preheat oven to 375 degrees and arrange racks in upper and lower thirds of the oven.

 

2.    Brush two large baking pans with oil. Whisk ¼ cup of oil with the spices and salt. Use scissors to cut corn tortillas into freeform ghost shapes. Use a wooden skewer or clean hole punch to punch eye holes into each ghost. Brush one side of each ghost with the oil and spice mixture. Place the ghosts, dry side down, in a single layer on the baking sheets.

 

3.    Bake, switching the position of the pans halfway through, for 12 to 14 minutes or until the ghosts have curled into lively shapes and become golden and crisp. Season with additional salt, if desired, and let cool completely in the pans. Repeat with remaining tortillas. The ghosts can be made up to 3 days ahead and stored in a tightly covered tin.

 

 Satan’s Smokey Guacamole

 

 Yields: About 3 cups

 

3 small ripe avocados, cut in half and pitted

2/3 cup onion, finely chopped

2/3 cup (packed) fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped

1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

2 tablespoons canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, seeded and finely chopped, plus 1 tablespoon adobo sauce

½ teaspoon ground cumin

Salt, to taste

 

Scoop the avocado flesh into a bowl and coarsely mash with a fork. Stir in the remaining ingredients and salt to taste. The guacamole can be made up to 1 day in advance and kept chilled, its surface covered with plastic wrap. Serve with Ghost Chips, above.

 

Bat Bites

 

Yields: 16 bats

 

1 (4 oz) package cream cheese, at room temperature

8 oz soft, mild goat cheese, at room temperature

¼ cup pesto

2 tablespoons each of coarsely ground black pepper and poppy seeds

8 pitted olives, sliced in half

32 pink peppercorns

32 triangular shaped blue corn chips OR freeform wing shapes made from leftover Ghost Chips, above.

 

1.    Mash together the cream cheese, goat cheese and pesto. Chill 20 minutes.

 

2.    Shape the mixture into 16 balls about the size of a walnut.

Roll half the balls in the black pepper and half the balls in the poppy seeds, to cover. Press olive slices into each ball to make eyes, placing peppercorns in the centers for pupils. (The recipe can be made up to this point up to 2 days in advance and kept covered and chilled.)

 

3. Just before serving, insert a chip on either side of each ball to make wings.  Arrange the bats on a platter along with crostini or crackers.

 

Witches Purse

 

Almost any jam you like will work here as long as it is fairly thick-bodied. Also try tomato preserves (omit the nuts) or your favorite fruit chutney. This recipe is easily doubled. Puff pastry generally comes in packages of 2 sheets.

 

Yields: 8 servings

 

1 sheet frozen puff pastry

1 small (8 oz) wheel of Brie

1/4 cup apricot jam 

¼ cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted

1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water

Kumquats and clusters of grapes, for garnish (optional)

 

1.    Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Defrost the sheet of puff pastry at room temperature for about 20 minutes. Unfold on a lightly floured surface and gently roll the pastry sheet to increase its size by an inch or two in both directions.

 

2.    Center the wheel of Brie on top of the pastry sheet. Spread the jam over the top of the Brie, then sprinkle evenly with the toasted almonds. Bring the 4 corners of the sheet together above the Brie and twist gently to form a bundle. Tie the gathered pastry at the neck with kitchen twine.

 

3.  Place the witches purse on a parchment lined baking sheet and brush lightly with the beaten egg. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the pastry is golden. Place on a platter garnished with fresh kumquats and grapes, if desired. Let sit 10 to15 minutes before cutting. Let guests serve themselves, cutting the purse into small wedges. 

 



 

Stake-in-the-Heart Salad with Blue Cheese Dip

 

To make the spooky salad stakes, hot glue a plastic spider to the middle of each wooden skewer before threading the vegetables on.

 

Makes 16 servings

 

1 cup mayonnaise

1 cup sour cream or plain yogurt

2-1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper

1-1/2  teaspoons hot pepper sauce, or to taste

1-1/2 cups crumbled blue cheese

2  small heads of iceberg lettuce

16-1/4-inch cucumber slices (from about 2 medium cucumbers)

16 cherry tomatoes

 

1.    Wisk together mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, pepper and hot pepper sauce until blended. Stir in blue cheese. Refrigerate dip, covered, until serving time, up to two days. (Makes 3 cups)

2.    Cut lettuce heads in half. Cut each half into 4 equal sized wedges, each with some core attached. (Peel away some of the outer layers, if needed, to make all the wedges roughly the same size.) Thread each of 16 wooden skewers with a lettuce wedge, piercing the wide part first and keeping the wedge close to the tip. Add a cucumber slice to each skewer and then top each with a cherry tomato. Arrange the finished skewers in a wide mouthed flower vase, or on a large platter, accompanied by a bowl of the reserved blue cheese dip.

 

Finger Food

 

Put out a bowl of sea salt or some of the blue cheese dip (above) to accompany these gnarly digits.

 

Serves 8

 

One 2-ounce bag (about 2/3 cup) sliced almonds, lightly toasted

1/2 pound haricots verts or green beans

12 to 13 small carrots

About 2 tablespoons cream cheese, slightly softened

 

1.    Pick over the almonds, selecting only the whole (finger nail-shaped) pieces and reserving the broken pieces for another use. Set aside.

2.    Prepare a large bowl of ice water and set aside. Bring a large pot of salted water to a bowl. Trim the ends of the beans and place them in the boiling water. Blanch for 15 to 20 seconds, until they turn bright green. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beans to the bowl of ice water. When they are cool, pat dry and set aside.

3.    Peel the carrots and slice them in half lengthwise. If some halves are too long, trim the big ends so they roughly match the length of the beans.  (This recipe can be prepared up to this point a day in advance.Wrap the vegetables in damp paper towels and refrigerate in a sealed plastic bag.)

4.    Use a dot of cream cheese to attach an almond slice “fingernail” to the pointed end of each carrot half. Attach almonds to each green bean in the same fashion. Arrange the carrot and green bean fingers, in alternating sets of 5, on a large platter.

 

Transylvanian Truffles

 

Go to www.fancyflours.com to order fancy Halloween sugar decorations to top your truffles with. Or, simply press a toasted hazelnut into the top of each truffle.

 

Makes 32 truffles

 

1 pound good quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup chocolate-hazelnut spread, such as Nutella

About 1/4 cup best quality unsweetened cocoa powder, for coating truffles

3 dozen miniature Halloween sugar decorations or toasted hazelnuts, for

   garnish (optional)

 

1.    Place chocolate in a large heat-proof bowl. Bring cream to a boil in a small, heavy saucepan, then pour over chocolate, whisking until chocolate is melted and smooth. Whisk in chocolate-hazelnut spread until combined. Let cool, then refrigerate until firm, at least 3 hours or overnight.

2.    Using a teaspoon, scoop out chocolate mixture in a 1 to 1-1/2-inch nugget and use your hands to quickly roll it into a ball. Continue until all the mixture is used, transferring balls to a rimmed baking sheet as they are finished. (If balls become too soft, return to the refrigerator for a few minutes.) Place cocoa powder in a bowl; roll truffles in cocoa to coat. Gently press a Halloween sugar decoration or a toasted hazelnut into the top of each truffle. Chill until firm. (Store unadorned truffles in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Truffles topped with sugar decorations should be stored only up to 2 days or the sugar decorations will begin to melt. To add sugar decorations later, first bring truffles to room temperature, press decorations on, then refrigerate again before serving.)

 

Tip:

Cut your work in half by using a melon baller or small-bowled ice cream scoop to scoop out the chocolate mixture before forming it into balls. 

 

 

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