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Happy Halloween!

I believe whole-heartedly in the over indulgence that is Halloween (or over indulging on any holiday for that matter).   I love the idea of dressing up as someone else, begging for candy and scaring the crap out of your friends and neighbors.  Don’t get me wrong, I adore the Christmas season too, but since transplanting myself to Florida, it just doesn’t feel the same.  So I have made Halloween my “it” holiday, when I expend the most amount of energy making in fun. 
It started with “Its the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” over my super pancakes (recipe at another time), and will end sometime much later (wayyyyyy past bedtime) with sugar crashes after truckloads of candy. 
I am wishing everyone a safe and spooky Halloween!
(I’m sure I will be back later posting about our chocolate pumpkin cake and with pictures of the things all decked out in their Halloween garb.)

Spooky Pies!

My filling is yellow, I didn’t prep correctly and didn’t have red food coloring!

See what I did there, I made Whoopie Pies in to Spooky Pies!  I’m clever, that’s why you read my crap (or not, no one probably reads this!) 
I’m a New England Girl, and these whoopie pies make me wax nostalgic of summers on the lake in Maine.  I figured they would be a fun Halloween treat if I colored the creamy centers orange and gave them a Halloween-ish moniker.  They are pretty simple to make, messy- fun to eat and made my neighbors happy when they got the bags full of old fashioned goodness. 

What you need:

Cookies:

  • 1 cup shortening
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sour milk (I used heavy cream, you can make sour milk by adding 1 tsp white vinegar to 1 cup milk)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened coco powder
  • 1 tsp salt
Filling:
  • 1 1/2 cups shortening (I know, TONS of shortening, but your gonna eat TONS of your kids candy in a few days anyway)
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 2 egg whites, beaten
What you do:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Grease cookie sheets.
In a large bowl, cream together 1 cup of shortening and white sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time then stir in the vanilla and sour milk. Combine the flour, cocoa and salt, stir into the creamed mixture. Stir together the baking soda and hot water then mix them into the batter last. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 8 minutes in the preheated oven, until firm but not overbaked. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.
To make the filling: In a medium bowl, cream together the 1 1/2 cups shortening with the confectioners’ sugar and 1/4 cup of flour until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the milk and vanilla until well mixed, then fold in the egg whites. Sandwich at least 1 tablespoon of filling between the flat sides of two cookies.

Taste tested by Thing 2.

Pie production overseen by “Jack Skellington”

Martian-Mallows

As you can see, the blog has gotten a new name, and a new look.  The editors and I (and by editors, I mean the things, who are always more than willing to add their input) have decided that since its more fun to bake sweets than actual food, that the blog should be focused on baking…with a few non baked recipes thrown in. 

Anywho, in the Halloween spirit, we made some marshmallows and turned them green…the birth of a martian-mallow.  Super yummy, covered in powdered sugar, they make the ones in the bag look like lumps of coal.  They are minorly labor intensive, but worth it.  I did my best to get the plate of ours out of little arms reach, but every time I look over, there is another one missing.  I can see some sugar rushes followed my major crashes in my future.

               
                                                                Marshmallows

What you need:

  • 1 cup cold water, 1/2  for mixer bowl, 1/2 for saucepan
  • 3 – 1/4 ounce envelopes unflavored gelatin
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup  light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • A few drops of green food color

What you do:

Lightly butter, or spray with a non stick vegetable spray, the bottom of a 13×9 baking pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. Then sift about 3 tablespoons of powdered  sugar onto the bottom of the pan (this will help release the set marshmallow from the paper).
Place 1/2 cup cold water into the bowl of your electric mixer that is fitted with a whisk attachment. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let stand until gelatin softens, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a heavy two quart saucepan, place the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and remaining 1/2 cup  cold water. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves and the mixture comes to a boil. Cover the saucepan with a lid and let boil for about three minutes to allow any sugar crystals to dissolve from the sides of the saucepan. Remove the lid and attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan. Increase heat to high and boil, without stirring, until the syrup reaches 240 degrees  (about 6-8 minutes.)  Remove from heat.
With mixer running at low speed, slowly pour the hot syrup into the gelatin mixture in a thin stream down the side of the bowl. Gradually increase the speed to high and beat until mixture has tripled in volume and is very thick and stiff, about 10 minutes.  Add vanilla extract and food color and beat to combine.
Scrape marshmallow mixture into the prepared pan and spread with a damp rubber spatula ( I found that if I wet my fingers and pushed the mixture into the sides of the pan, it worked better) The mixture is very sticky so just smooth it out as best as you can. Dust the top of the marshmallow with another 3 tablespoons of confectioners’ sugar and let stand, uncovered, at room temperature until set, about 12 hours.
Remove the marshmallow from the pan by first running a small sharp knife around the edge of the marshmallow to loosen it from the pan. Turn them out onto a surface that had been dusted with powdered sugar.You might have to use your fingers to help loosen the marshmallow from the pan. Peel off the parchment paper (the marshmallow will be sticky) and dust the top of the marshmallow with confectioners’ sugar. Cut the marshmallow into squares using a sharp knife ( kept dipping my knife in HOT water, it worked like a charm) . Dip the cut sides of the marshmallows in additional powdered sugar. Shake off excess sugar and store the marshmallows in an airtight container, at room temperature, for up to two weeks.
I think we may use some to try this.