Halloween

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  

 

 

 

Peanut Butter Cookies

Trick-or-treating was different back in the day when I was a kid, so long ago, in a time when no one was afraid that someone would give us poison candy or fruit with shards of glass in it.

Most often we celebrated Hallowe’en at home by bobbing for apples and roasting marshmallows and playing games wih my mother and dad.

If we did go out, it was to our neighbors, who gave us homemade cookies, maybe some apples. If we got candy it was always either candy corn, licorice or lollypops. 

Sounds naive probably. Maybe even hokey. 

It’s what we knew. And the first year after I was married I made cookies for the trick-or-treaters who came to our door and saw the look on the horrified faces of the parents who were there with their children. Times had changed and I was completely clueless about it then.

I never did that again. Only packages now, from certified candy manufacturers. 

I suppose it’s good for the economy, including for the dentists.

But these cookies are the ones I made that October day. The recipe is from my mother’s trove of absolutely fabulous cookie recipes. So whether or not you do anything special on Halloween, make these. Anytime. They freeze well and they are just as good straight from the freezer and dunked into milk or hot chocolate.

Peanut Butter Cookies

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup white sugar

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup peanut butter

1 cup shortening

2 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the flour, baking soda, salt, white sugar and brown sugar. Mix at medium speed until the ingredients are well combined and evenly distributed. Add the peanut butter, shortening and eggs and mix at medium speed for 2-3 minutes or until well combined and thoroughly blended into a soft dough. Take off pieces of dough and shape them into balls about 1-1/2 inches in diameter. Flatten the balls between you palms. Place the circles on the cookie sheet, leaving some space between the cookies for them to expand. Press each cookie 2 times with the back of the tines of a fork, making a criss-cross pattern. Bake for 16-20 minutes or until lightly browned and crispy. Makes about 100

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