The Pumpkin Harvest and Halloween Treats

I just can't remember a more beautiful Autumn in Utah.  The weather has been so lovely and I can't believe I'm still picking tomatoes.

I just harvested my pumpkins and gourds in time for Halloween and to do a bit of decorating around my home to celebrate the perfect season.  My garden is naked without them attached tho their vines.

I'm sure you have favorite recipes that you can't live without during this time of year.

Here are a few of our family favorites.  Halloween just isn't Halloween without them.

Old Fashioned Caramel Apples made with a simple caramel recipe of my Grandmothers.

Spudnuts!  Nothing beats a hot doughnut on Halloween.  If you have never made homemade doughnuts, this is your year.  You family and friends will love you more than Dunkin'.

 How about these Creepy Witch Finger cookies.  One of the most popular recipes from my blog.  I know they look so gross, but they are a delicious butter cookie.

These Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins are not so sweet and perfect to tuck in a lunch box or a quick breakfast.

My little trick-or-treaters never left the house without a hot bowl of soup.  Pumpkin Coconut Bisque is warming and a deliciously easy.  This is my favorite bisque during the cold winter season.  

I'd love to hear about some of your family favorite treats and meals for Halloween.  

Share if you dare!  


Ghostly Cupcakes and a recipe for Boiled Icing

I am lucky enough to have my grandmothers old wooden recipe box.  I was thumbing through this old box looking for her recipe for chili sauce.  I carefully pulled out recipes that had been handwritten on recipe cards, torn sheets of paper, and even napkins.  I can see her sitting at a ward church potluck and using her napkin to write down the recipe of a new dish she had never had before.  I found a recipe written on a piece of paper from a small desktop calender dated back to 1954.  Many of the recipes did not have instructions or specific amounts.  I chuckled to myself when I read things like a "handful of..." or a "box of..." 
I stumbled upon a recipe for Boiled Icing. I remember my mom making this icing to top Grandma's recipe for Devils Food Cake.  I haven't had this for years!  

I thought it would be fun to turn the icing into a fun cupcake for Halloween.  I was lucky enough to have my grand kids visit last week and thought how fun it would be to make this recipe with them.  I had forgotten how much chaos is involved with these cuties.  I told my daughter that the Midwest tornadoes had nothing on her kids.  We had fun times with some fun memories and I'm just getting around to making the cupcakes and the grandchildren are hundred of miles away (self pity). 

You will need the following to make Grandma's boiled icing recipe:

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup hot water
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
3 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla

18 chocolate cups cakes  Here are two great recipes to choose from:  Grandma's Devils Food OR Mumma's Chocolate Cake
mini chocolate chips or candy eyes

In a small sauce pan add 1 1/2 cups sugar.

Carefully add the 1/2 cup hot water.

Add 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar.

Sorry about the blurry pics on this post.  I had a few camera setting issues.  I'm still trying to figure out this new camera that I've had for 7 months.

This is very important.  Carefully stir the water, sugar and cream of tartar.  I try very hard not to let any sugar crystals stick to the sides of the pan.

Because there isn't any fat in the recipe, if sugar crystals form then the icing could turn to sugar. Gently stir while warming over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved.

When the mixture begins to boil, clip on a candy thermometer.  Notice that no sugar is around the edges of the pan.  If there are sugar crystals present, just wet a pastry brush with water and wash the sides.

Let the mixture gently boil over medium heat until it reaches 240 degrees Fahrenheit.

When the temperature has almost reached 240 degrees, add the 3 egg whites and 1 teaspoon vanilla into a large mixing bowl.

Mix until egg whites begin to foam.

When the temperature of the sugar mixture reaches 240 degrees, remove from heat and pour into a heat proof measuring cup.

With the mixer running slowly pour the hot mixture into the egg white mixture.

 Beat for about 10 minutes until very thick and shiny and just barely warm.

Another blurry pic...

I like to use a disposable pastry bag fitted with a large round tip.

It helps to place the bag into a large cup to fill.

Pipe onto cooled chocolate cupcakes.

Add candy eyes or mini chocolate chips.

I can't believe that I was out of mini chocolate chips, but found some candy eyes.



Ghostly Cupcakes with Boiled Icing

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup hot water
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
3 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla

18 chocolate cups cakes  Here are two great recipes to choose from:  Grandma's Devils Food OR Mumma's Chocolate Cake
mini chocolate chips or candy eyes

Print recipe


Licorice Caramels

My mother-in-law is famous for her Black Licorice Caramel.  She makes a batch or two every year at Christmas along with her white fudge and shortbread.  The are always soft, chewy and literally melt in your mouth.  They are completely addicting.  I can never eat just one.

During the holidays I am usually up to my elbows in chocolate and never get around to making them. Why not get ahead of myself and make the perfect Halloween treat?  

Black Licorice Caramel.

 Don't panic thinking you can't make candy.  As far as caramel goes, this recipe is pretty simple with only a few ingredients.  I think it's pretty fool proof.  I was stopping the process and taking photo's.  I was certain I had over cooked the caramel because it sat in the pan while snapping pics, but it was just as soft and smooth as I remember.  You can even get by without a candy thermometer just using the cold water test that you will see as you scroll down.  Give it a shot...why not?

You will need:
1 1/2 cups light corn syrup
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 teaspoons salt
2 cups sugar
2 sticks (1 cup) butter
3/4 teaspoon licorice or Anise oil
3/4 teaspoon black gel food color

Line a 9 x 9-inch pan (or 9 x 13, if you prefer) with non-stick aluminum foil.

Press into the edges and corners.

Lightly butter bottom and sides.  Set the pan aside.

In a heavy medium size sauce pan, add corn syrup.

Add condensed milk.


Add 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Add 2 cups sugar.

Mix together well.

Place over medium heat and add 2 sticks of butter.

Stir to blend in melting butter.

Continue to cook over medium heat until the mixture begins to boil.

Clip on a candy thermometer.

Continue to cook caramel until temperature reaches 232 degrees Fahrenheit.  STIRRING CONSTANTLY.

The recipe states to cook ingredients to 234 degrees, but all thermometers vary as well as boiling point and altitude, so I start checking the candy at about 232 degrees in a cold water test.

Drizzle some of the hot caramel into a cup with cold water.

Pick up the caramel, once it has cooled, and shape into a ball.

Once the caramel holds it shape and is soft to the touch, remove the caramel from the heat.

Now we are going to add the flavoring and color.

Add 3/4 teaspoon licorice oil.  If you are using licorice extract, use 2 teaspoons.

Add 3/4 teaspoon black gel food color.  I like to make sure it's really black so I'm adding a heaping teaspoons.

Stir until the caramel is completely black with no streaks of the caramel color coming through.

Pour into prepared pan and let set for 24 hours at room temperature before cutting.

After the caramel has set overnight.  Turn out upside down onto a cutting board.

The non-stick foil will peel right off.

Let the caramel upside down to cut. For some reason this helps the caramel keep its shape and it won't smoosh down as it is cut.

I made each square a little less than 1 x 1-inch square.

Cut rectangular shaped pieces of waxed paper to wrap each caramel in.

Fold over each side.

Give the ends a twist.

Licorice Caramels
1 1/2 cups light corn syrup
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 teaspoons salt
2 cups sugar
2 sticks (1 cup) butter
3/4 teaspoon licorice or Anise oil
3/4 teaspoon black gel food color

Line a 9 x 9 or 9 x 13-inch baking pan with non-stick aluminum foil.  Lightly butter.  Set aside.

In a heavy medium size saucepan add corn syrup and condensed mild.  Stir.  Add salt and sugar and mix until completely mixed in with corn syrup mixture.  Place pan over medium heat.  Add 2 sticks (1 cup) butter.  Continue to stir to blend in melted butter.  Bring to a boil and clip on a candy thermometer.  Continue to cook stirring constantly.  Once temperature reaches 232 degrees Fahrenheit, drop a small amount into a cup of cold water.  If the mixture forms a soft ball, then remove from heat.  If it is too soft continue to cook to 234 degrees.  Remove from heat.  Add licorice oil and black food color.  Stir until caramel is completely black with no streaks.  Pour into prepared pan and allow to stand at room temperature for 24 hours before cutting.  Wrap in squares of waxed paper.

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