It's autumn and that means....
Max's Fresh Raspberry + Pear Bundt Cake with Buttercream Frosting
This cake was the result of what I didn't have. I wanted to make a cake for my son's birthday, but it was late in the afternoon and I didn't have time to drive to the store. So I decided to just wing it in the kitchen, which always leads to the new and unexpected. Plus, the birthday son isn't a stickler about his birthday cake and in truth doesn't even like sweets. This gave me permission to experiment.
So I guess I should call this Max's Fresh Raspberry and Pear Cake. I'm honoring him. This cake is dense, moist, filed with hunks of fruit, and in my estimation, delicious. I'm fairly certain that it's also not on any diet plans. I serve it topped with Buttercream frosting, the kind that you make from a SINGLE BOX of powdered sugar (recipe on the back of the blue box -- you add to the powered sugar a cube of butter, a 1/4 cup of whole milk and a teaspoon of vanilla. Beat with the blender. Works every time).
Let us begin....
Full confession: When I was about 4 or 5 years old I was so utterly terrified of Halloween that I once ran from the dinner table to the bedroom where I locked myself inside it for 20 minutes while Trick or Treaters came to the front door of the house. I’m not sure why I did that exactly as I wasn’t normally a timid or shy child; I think my dramatic exit had more to do with the fact that I enjoyed that sense of fright, darkness and mystery that rolls around every October. I like to be scared when I know nothing bad will actually happen.
This explains my interest in fright nights, scary movies, haunted houses, macabre scenarios, you name it. I think there’s a part of all of us that likes that thrill…why else would we visit haunted houses, watch slasher films, and listen to Paris Hilton songs and videos?
Not that I’ve done the latter. Even that’s too scary for me.
When I mentioned to Adam that I wanted to do my first Halloween blog post about a cocktail I tried he quickly informed me that it would neither be a) exciting b) deep enough or c) have enough pizazz. “What’s so exciting about a cocktail, all by itself?” he asked. I could see his point as there are tons of others who focus on spirits and do a much better job. Besides, this drink wasn’t anything exciting or thrilling but perfect for the grown-ups at any Halloween party. “Give me a few minutes and I’ll help you out” said Adam.
Wow. Was my drink really that lackluster that it needed help? Apparently so.
The countdown to Halloween is well under way and we are enjoying a few holiday treats! I celebrate Halloween all month because I love it!! I also love mason jars, which goes back to my love of glass storage containers.
And honestly, these couldn't be easier to make and will impress your little Hallow-weenies at home. My boys love anything for Halloween that is remotely gross, which is why the Kitty Litter Cake has always been so big around here. The idea of worms coming out of a pretend grave is also right up their alley.
I wish I could take these to their Halloween party at school, but we are no longer allowed to bring homemade treats. Such a bummer.
You want to make sure your mason jars are washed and completely dried before you begin. I used 1/2 pint wide mouth jars. They are the perfect size.
My husband and I are not fans of Halloween. I hate dressing up - clearly I lack a sense of whimsy and the need to pretend to be something I am not. Or maybe I'm just content with who I am. You can be the judge. His birthday is three days before and his childhood parties were always black and orange-themed and required a costume. You'd think all the free candy would balance the drag of dressing up, but as the years went by his hatred only grew. Since we don’t have children avoiding this holiday is pretty simple…just turn the lights off and stay away from the front door.
Or go to visit relatives. We usually visit our families back East once a year and had the great luck, unbeknownst to us, to find ourselves in the quaint hamlet of Cooperstown, NY on Halloween in 2006. We honestly didn't even think about it. We were on vacation so the days just ran together. It was just the day we happened to be there. We didn't even realize it WAS Halloween until we entered the Baseball Hall of Fame.
We are big fans of America's past time and we were determined on this trip to actually take some time to see something new for once. If you've never been to the Birthplace of Baseball, well, you are really missing out. Walking around Cooperstown is like stepping back in time. It's small town America at its' best. No chains, no fast food, no big hotels. Just mom & pop small businesses - most with a baseball theme - centuries old stately homes and a fancy restaurant or two that have been providing fare since before our grandparents were born.
I was in my early 20’s. I had been invited to Dean Martin’s daughter’s Halloween party. Yes, at her father’s house. A big ass Beverly Hills home. I planned to be Elton John. The girls — Gina and Donna — who had invited me to the party were very close with Shaun Cassidy, and I was told Shaun owned Ziggy Stardust-style silver lame’ rock & roll boots. I didn’t know him or what size shoe he wore, but I boldly called and asked to borrow them: “Hi, I’m Fredde Duke, you don’t know me but….”
I picked up the rock & roll boots at his mother’s house on North Oakhurst. Found it on my Map to the Stars’ Homes. Kidding. I enlisted the wardrobe department where my dad had a studio deal to write “Elton John” in a sequined signature on the back of my satin, emerald-green man’s coat. A friend worked for Bernie Taupin and Elton at Rocket Records, and he gave me a stack of unsigned Elton John headshots. At the toy store on Beverly Drive, I bought a child’s baby grand piano. By now I’m realizing it would have been a lot easier to go as Pat Boone. Then I scored a man’s wig in Hollywood, but cut it at the crown to make me look like I was balding. The piece de resistance was the blacked out Elton gap tooth. Voila, I was suddenly a gay rock star!!!
Corpse Reviver #2 - For the next day.
Rich, dark, devilish. Like a big Reese’s peanut butter cup. The recipe for these cupcakes sounded amazing, although once I started following it I had to tweak it a bit to get it to work. When they were finished, they were sublime!
I used two 12-mini muffin tins to yield 24 tiny cupcakes. They have a small mound of peanut butter frosting on top, then a glaze of dark chocolate and a Reese’s peanut butter candy on top. I know you will love these once you try them.
They are even great right out of the freezer!
The gluten free cupcake had become my nemesis. Until these. Several failed attempts at making both vanilla and chocolate, gluten free cupcakes did not discourage me. Cupcakes are a household favorite and not having these in our recipe binder has made not only my kids sad, but me as well (well, maybe not so sad, more disappointed).
I originally came up with these for one of the many Halloween parties we were invited to this year. They were so good that I recreated them again, for an event, last week.
A new, favorite teacake recipe is now the inspiration for many wonderful cakes and cakelettes. Infusing seasonal flavors and ingredients into the original base (which is the perfect combination), allows me to introduce old favorites using whole and gluten free ingredients.
Omitting maple from the original recipe while adding fall spices gave me the end result I was looking for. Topping them off with a dulce de leche buttercream was, literally, the icing on the cake!
We can't think of many things we like better than fondue. We're also pretty fond of cooking things inside other edible things. The confluence of these two circumstances makes Gourmet's Roast Pumpkin with Cheese "Fondue" one of our favorite cold-weather recipes.
This pumpkin fondue recipe, proof that simplicity does not negate decadence, is probably not something you should eat every day -- even if you want to, like us. You'll understand why as you begin to fill the cavity of your pumpkin with toasted baguette slices, cream, stock and more cheese than you'd initially thought necessary.
After you've filled the pumpkin and rubbed the skin with olive oil, it goes into the oven where the pumpkin itself does all the work. You'll hear an occasional crackle in there, the air will start to smell delicious. Beware of smoking ovens from overflowing cream -- this happens nearly every time we make this no matter how much headspace we try to leave inside the pumpkin.
With Halloween creeping around the corner, Belvedere Vodka offers exciting cocktails that are sure to thrill. Created by Belvedere’s Head of Spirit Creation and Mixology, Claire Smith, the innovative combinations will have your guests dying for more!
Bloody Mary Martini
50ml/ 2oz Belvedere Citrus (or IX)
6 cherry tomatoes
10ml/ ¼ oz simple syrup
15ml/ ½ oz lemon juice
4 dashes Tabasco
Muddle tomatoes with simple syrup. Add rest of ingredients and shake with cubed ice. Fine strain into a chilled coupe or martini glass. Garnish with a small piece of basil.
We made these for a crowd and watched them vanish in five minutes…My husband and I do not need brownies; we’ve eaten enough of them already to meet our lifetime quota and to account for certain body changes that I will not describe here. But Tom is a hopeless chocoholic, so on the occasions when I make brownies to curry favor with my kids’ friends, I have to keep an eye on them.
For a long time, when brownies disappeared from the cooling rack and my husband seemed the obvious perpetrator, he would issue a denial and look meaningfully in the direction of Oliver, our dog. So I thought the golden retriever was both amazingly athletic (how did he reach the brownies I placed behind the kitchen sink?) and had a remarkable tolerance for chocolate, a substance that is notorious for making dogs ill.
Are you ready for Halloween? Do you have your costume? Do you have enough candy to hand out to the little goblins in your neighborhood? Do you have whiskey? No, not for kids, for you.
Here's how it works: Make yourself a batch of David Lebovitz's boozy butterscotch pudding, and chill it in the fridge all day. Then after you've finished handing out all of your Halloween candy, put the kids to bed, turn off the lights and treat yourself.
Just be sure to serve it tricked-out with a dollop of freshly whipped cream and a few candy corn. That is, if you haven't already gobbled up all the candy corn in your house. If you have, then switch to salty, roasted pecans.
by Cathy Pollak
It's that time of year of again...where gross food is welcomed by the little boys that inhabit my house. Nothing brings a smile to their face like something bloody, goopy, poopy or oozy when Halloween is in the air. They love it.
I saw these cookies and thought, my kids need to be welcomed home from school with these somewhat authentic looking...
by Susan Russo
I was a weird kid. I never ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. My mother never had to tell me to straighten my room. And I liked Halloween more for the decorations than the candy.
Except for Snickers. I loved Snickers.
Something about the mix of sweet chocolate, sticky caramel, dense peanut butter nougat, and crunchy peanuts made me swoon....
by Joseph Erdos
Chocolate sandwich cookies were my favorites as a kid. Though I haven't had them in years, I still crave them. To settle my sweet tooth this Halloween, I decided to create my own grown-up version with a peanut butter filling. They are far better than the ones I remember eating as a kid. And I'm sure if you give kids a choice between these and...Read more...
by Maia Harari