Hallowe'en

Zombie, Hits the Spot on Hallowe'en

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My kids are grown now so the only thing I do these days for Hallowe’en Trick-or-Treaters is have a supply of goodies for whoever comes to my door.

I do remember the old days though, when my husband would take the kids out. Hallowe’en night was always cold. The kids didn’t want to wear coats for fear it would ruin the measly costumes I bought or made for them and they’d come back home freezing cold but happy to be loaded down with crap candy.

I would welcome them with something hot and comforting. Like hot cocoa.

Now?

No kids at home, so for us — some libation that’s, let’s say, more adult, to celebrate that I have reached the age when I don’t have to go out in the cold OR make or buy costumes OR make sure the kids get over the shivers.

For example — this Zombie cocktail, originally the prize beverage at the original Don the Beachcomber’s restaurants. Apparently the recipe for this drink was a secret for decades and someone either got the recipe or somehow duplicated it. It’s got a lot of rum plus a little of this and that and frankly, some of the ingredients were beyond what I wanted to bother with. For instance, I didn’t want to buy a whole bottle of falernum (a nut and spice seasoned sugar syrup) or even grenadine (a tart fruit syrup) — though I did go to the trouble of cooking a homemade cinnamon syrup. (Btw, if you don’t have grenadine, you can use 1/2 teaspoon pomegranate molasses or 1 teaspoon pomegranate juice.)

So I more or less made up my own recipe and it is quite delicious.

In the interests of making sure my recipe works I tried it several times already.

Happy Hallowe’en.

Zombie

  • 2 ounces dark rum

  • 1 ounce light rum

  • 1/2 ounce apricot brandy

  • 1/4 cup orange juice

  • 1/4 cup pineapple juice

  • 2 tablespoons lime juice

  • 1 teaspoon confectioners sugar

  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon syrup, optional

  • 1/2 teaspoon pomegranate molasses or grenadine, optional

  • ice

Place all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker or blender, shake until well blended and pour into a tall glass filled with ice cubes.

Makes one

To make the cinnamon syrup: Place one 3-inch cinnamon stick plus 3 tablespoons sugar and 1/4 cup water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Cook at a simmer for 2-3 minutes or until the mixture is syrupy. Let stand for at least 2 hours. Remove the cinnamon stick. Makes 3-4 tablespoons

Pumpkin Sour Cream Coffee Cake

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I used to bake a fresh pumpkin when it was time to make the usual seasonal pumpkin pies and cakes. I'd buy one of those small, round, sweet "sugar" pumpkins, carve it up, sprinkle the pieces with salt and give it a roast until the flesh was tender.

It was all good. The house smelled like autumn, the pumpkin was nice and dry -- perfect for baked goods.

But.

I got busy. And sometimes I couldn't find the right variety of pumpkin.

So I switched to canned.

You know what? We didn't even notice the difference when it came to my favorite pumpkin coffee cake.

So, make it easy on yourself. Use canned pumpkin if you wish (but not pumpkin pie mix, which is pre-seasoned). Or fresh baked pumpkin of course, if you can find a good variety and have the time to roast it. 

Either way, this cake is rich and gently fragrant. It has a wonderful salty-sweet balance.

You can freeze it too.

PUMPKIN SOUR CREAM COFFEE CAKE

STREUSEL TOPPING:

  • 1/3 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons cold butter

CAKE:

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup mashed pumpkin (canned is fine; not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated orange peel
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup milk

 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease an 8" square cake pan. Make the streusel: place the oats, flour, brown sugar and salt in a bowl. Add the butter and work it into the dry ingredients with your fingers, a pastry blender or two knives until the mixture is crumbly. Set the streusel aside.

Make the cake batter: beat the sugar and butter together with a hand mixer or electric mixer set at medium speed for 1-2 minutes or until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Add the pumpkin, sour cream, egg and orange peel and beat the ingredients for 1-2 minutes or until they are smooth. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg and salt in a bowl. Add 1/2 of the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and beat the ingredients until they are blended. Add 1/2 of the milk and beat this in until it is well blended. Repeat this process again until all the flour and milk have been used up. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Sprinkle the streusel over the batter. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes then carefully invert the cake onto a cake rack, carefully flip it right side up. Let cool completely.

Makes one cake serving 8-10 people

Pumpkin Sour Cream Coffee Cake

I used to bake a fresh pumpkin when it was time to make the usual seasonal pumpkin pies and cakes. I'd buy one of those small, round, sweet "sugar" pumpkins, carve it up, sprinkle the pieces with salt and give it a roast until the flesh was tender.

It was all good. The house smelled like autumn, the pumpkin was nice and dry -- perfect for baked goods.

But.

I got busy. And sometimes I couldn't find the right variety of pumpkin.

So I switched to canned.

You know what? We didn't even notice the difference when it came to my favorite pumpkin coffee cake.

So, make it easy on yourself. Use canned pumpkin if you wish (but not pumpkin pie mix, which is pre-seasoned). Or fresh baked pumpkin of course, if you can find a good variety and have the time to roast it. 

Either way, this cake is rich and gently fragrant. It has a wonderful salty-sweet balance.

You can freeze it too.

Pumpkin Sour Cream Coffee Cake

STREUSEL TOPPING:

  • 1/3 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons cold butter

cake:

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup mashed pumpkin (canned is fine; not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated orange peel
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup milk

 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease an 8" square cake pan. Make the streusel: place the oats, flour, brown sugar and salt in a bowl. Add the butter and work it into the dry ingredients with your fingers, a pastry blender or two knives until the mixture is crumbly. Set the streusel aside.

Make the cake batter: beat the sugar and butter together with a hand mixer or electric mixer set at medium speed for 1-2 minutes or until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Add the pumpkin, sour cream, egg and orange peel and beat the ingredients for 1-2 minutes or until they are smooth. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg and salt in a bowl. Add 1/2 of the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and beat the ingredients until they are blended. Add 1/2 of the milk and beat this in until it is well blended. Repeat this process again until all the flour and milk have been used up. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Sprinkle the streusel over the batter. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes then carefully invert the cake onto a cake rack, carefully flip it right side up. Let cool completely.

Makes one cake serving 8-10 people

 

Bones and Blood

Last year my daughter Meredith (a board certified lactation consultant (IBCLC) who provides services for expectant and new parents), made these Hallowe'en snacks. Although I do not have young children at home, nor would I ever pass these out to trick-or-treaters, they were too cute to pass up. So I made my own. Just for us, for TV watching time.

Hers were baked with biscuit dough. I didn't feel like making dough, so I took the easy way out -- used packaged pizza dough. They looked the same as these, just a bit browner.

A cute snack for Hallowe'en and really easy to make:

Bones and Blood

  • one pound pizza dough
  • 6 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • sea salt to taste
  • 2 cups marina sauce

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the dough into 10 equal pieces and roll each piece into a rope about 8 inches long. Cut a slit at each end of each rope, and curve the slit part out slightly to make the bone shape. Place the bones on the baking sheet. Brush with the melted butter, sprinkle with the cheese, oregano and salt. Bake for about 15 minutes or until vaguely tan. Serve with the marinara sauce. 

Makes 10

Carrot Spice and Honey Muffins

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I always make a few carrot dishes for Rosh Hashanah. It's tradition!

Most often it's soup, sometimes a side dish.

This year I baked carrot muffins. Big breakfast winner for everyone, especially the grandkids.

Freezable too, so you can have them on hand whenever you might have a need. Like Hallowe'en, Thanksgiving weekend.

 

Carrot Spice and Honey Muffins

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease 12 muffin tins. Melt the butter and set it aside to cool. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Set aside. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, brown sugar, yogurt, honey, cooled butter and vanilla extract. Add the liquid mixture to the flour mixture and stir gently just until blended. Fold in the carrots and raisins. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tins. Bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the muffins are golden brown. Let cool in the tins for 2-3 minutes, then remove the muffins to a rack to cool.

Makes 12  

 

 

 

Apple-Pumpkin Streusel Muffins

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A few weeks ago I bought about 60 pounds of apples.

That's a lot of apples.

And even I can hardly believe that after making many pies, a few cakes, some baked apples, apple crisps and apple brown bettys, mounds of applesauce, a couple chicken-apple recipes, including a salad, all my apples are gone.

Oh no! 

I still have a pancake recipe to try! 

Hard to believe I'll have to buy another few pounds. 

But before I ran out of apples, I did get to try these Apple-Pumpkin Streusel Muffins which are gorgeous and delicious and such a welcome, seasonal treat (with cider or coffee or tea) for Hallowe'en or Thanksgiving or simply for breakfast or coffee break.

 

Apple-Pumpkin Streusel Muffins

Streusel:

  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon butter, cut in smaller pieces, or coconut oil

 

Muffins:

  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup mashed pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups chopped apples

To make the streusel: place the brown sugar, flour and cinnamon in a bowl and mix to distribute the ingredients evenly. Add the butter and work into the dry ingredients with your fingers until the mixture looks crumbly. Set aside.

To make the muffins: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease 12 muffin tins. Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and salt in a bowl and stir with a whisk until the ingredients are evenly distributed. In another bowl, combine the pumpkin, vegetable oil and eggs and blend thoroughly. Pour the liquid ingredients into the flour mixture and mix until combined. Stir in the apples. Spoon the batter into the muffin tins. Sprinkle the tops evenly with the streusel. Bake for about 20 minutes or until tops are browned and crispy and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. 

Makes 12

Rice Krispy Crusted Macaroni and Cheese

"What are you going to be for Hallowe’en?"

It’s the question my granddaughter Nina asked recently as we were walking down the street.

So I said “I’m going as a grandma. And Grandpa is going as a grandpa.”

She thought that answer was so funny she stopped to laugh out loud for a long time. And said “but you are already grandma!”

So I told her that I was going to buy a gray-haired wig and a cane and go trick-or-treating looking like an old, bent-over woman. And I showed her how I would do it and what I would sound like when I said “trick or treat” with my best old-person voice.

But of course I am not going trick or treating because I am in Egypt. Yes, that’s right. Egypt. Cairo. Tahrir Square, the Pyramids, Sphinx and the whole bit. That’s why I haven’t been blogging as much as usual.

But I also just learned that our group, which has 9 women, will be having an early Halloween and we will be wearing gulabyas (Egyptian dresses) so I guess I will be in costume after all.

When my neighbors at home come to my door on the real Halloween and they realize I am not home I hope they don’t vandalize the place too much. One year our doors got sprayed with that stuff that comes flying out of a can like neon colored string and we had to have everything painted because the string didn’t come off.

It’s been years since I went trick-or-treating with my children. They are grown and go trick-or-treating with their own kids now. But I remember that Halloween night was always the turning point for the weather. It was always cold and frequently rainy on that night (why couldn’t nature wait one more day???)

So there was always something warm and delicious when we got home. Like soup or Mac and Cheese and certainly hot chocolate with marshmallows.

If you go trick-or-treating and need some warm nourishment afterwards, before the candy gobbling, try Macaroni and Cheese. I would give a nourishing and warm Egyptian recipe but —- more on that some other day. Here’s a good recipe for Macaroni and Cheese.

Macaroni and Cheese

  • 8 ounces elbow macaroni
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • few grindings of nutmeg
  • 4 ounces American cheese, cut into small pieces
  • 4 ounces cheddar cheese, grated or chopped
  • 1 cup Rice Krispies cereal (or similar), optional
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter, optional

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cook the macaroni until it is al dente. Drain and set aside. In a saucepan, melt the two tablespoons of butter over medium heat. When the butter has melted and looks foamy, add the flour and stir it into the melted butter using a whisk. Cook for about a minute. Gradually add the milk, whisking constantly to form a smooth sauce. Add the salt, nutmeg, American cheese and cheddar cheese and stir until the sauce is smooth and thick. Stir in the macaroni and coat all the pieces. Spoon the macaroni into a baking dish. If you like a top crust, mix the cereal and melted butter and sprinkle on top of the macaroni. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the cereal is browned and crispy.

Makes 4 servings