Friday, October 31, 2014

No Tricks, All Treats!

Today's the day, folks!  Happy Halloween!  Heading out to a party tonight?  Or trick-or-treating?  I've got some recipes to get you set up for the festivities!  First up, classic holiday gingerbread skulls! 

Ok, I admit that most people don't think of gingerbread for Halloween, but gingerbread cookies are sooo good, why would you waste 2 months waiting for it?  My answer, I don't.  Gingerbread cookies in October has been a tradition in my house for like a decade.  We can't even be bothered to put icing on them, not to say you can't, but they are so warm and soft and awesome right out of the oven! Plus I don't have that kind of will power to wait until they cool.

First thing's first, allow yourself at least 4 hours before your shin-dig to make these.  Throwing the goods together, cutting, and baking take no time at all, but the chill time of the dough is about 3 hours, so take that into consideration.

Gingerbread Halloween Cookies


1/2 c shortening
1/2 c sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 c molasses
2-1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 egg
1 Tbls. vinegar


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a mixing bowl, beat shortening with electric mixer for about 30 seconds.  Add the sugar, baking powder, ginger, baking sida, cinnamon, and cloves.  Beat until combined.  

Beat in the molasses, egg, and vinegar until smooth.  Then add in the flour, a little at a time, and beat with mixer until stiff.  Then use a wooden spoon or your hands to mix it the rest of the way.

Divide the dough in half.  Cover and chill for about 3 hours, then remove from fridge and continue.

Lightly grease a cookie sheet and set to the side.  On a lightly floured surface, roll out half the dough until it's about 1/8 of an inch thick.  Using Halloween themed cookie cutters, cut into desired shapes and place about 1" apart on the prepared cookie sheet.

Bake at 375 for 5-6 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. 

Repeat cutting and cooking process with the other half of the dough.  Use any scraps to make your own spooky creations!

You will probably need something to wash these down, not because they're not moist, but because I needed a segue into the next thing on my Halloween recipe list - how about some Hot Apple Cider?

Hot Apple Cider


1 Gallon of apple juice 
1/4 c brown sugar
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp. whole cloves
3 stick of cinnamon


Now, there are a few ways to do this.  You could disolve the brown sugar and allspice in a 1/2 cup of boiling water then add it to the rest of the stuff.  But in my family, we just toss everything together in a crock pot and let it simmer then serve!

I recomend the crock pot method because you can just throw and go.  You can put it on high for about an hour then on the low or "warm" setting for the rest of the evening.  Put a ladle and some mugs close by and you have yourself an all-night sipper.

And the last recipe to share with you in this post, is full of gooey goodness!

Caramel Apple Crisp


4 medium apples, sliced (granny smith works best, but any mixture of tart apples will do)
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 sm. package individually wrapped caramels, unwrapped
2 Tbls. milk
1/4 c sugar
1/4 c brown sugar, packed
1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c old-fashioned oats
1/3 c butter, softened
3/4 tsp. ground allspice


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Greese the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square pan with shortening or cooking pray, and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together the sliced apples, lemon juice, vanilla, and cinnamon.  Transfer the apple mixture ti your prepared baking dish.  Place as many caramel squares on top of the apples as you would like, then sprinkle the milk over the caramel layer.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, stir together the sugar, brown sugar, flour, oats, allspice, and butter until well mixed.  Sprinkle the oat mixture evenly over the caramel-covered apples.

Bake, uncovered, for about 35-45 minutes or until the topping is golden brown and the apples are tender when pierced with a folk.  Serve warm, with a dollop of ice cream, which is of course optional. The ice cream is optional, not the serving the apple crisp warm, just to be clear.  

There you have it folks!  Yummy treats for your Halloween!  Have fun, and have a very happy Halloween!

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