Halloween: Couldrons & Potions…

If you prefer to celebrate Halloween indoors these recipes, are pretty easy to make, and at least you won’t be battling a severe toothache by the end of the night! If you’re entertaining, your guests will be impressed with your innovative Halloween themed menu *wink wink*
Mini Halloween Pumpkin Cupcakes: (All you need is a mini muffin pan, and muffin liners; give yourself 2 hours). These cupcakes are a cute and tasty alternative to giving candy during the trick or treating times. Just make sure you watch out for peanut allergies!
1 cup self-rising flour
2/3 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 large egg
1/2 cup canned pure pumpkin
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup sour cream
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Chopped crystallized ginger (optional)
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
Orange and black food coloring; orange, black, white, and yellow candies and sugar crystals
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 24 mini muffin cups with 1 3/4x 1-inch paper liners. Mix flour, golden brown sugar, and pumpkin pie spice in large bowl. Whisk egg, canned pure pumpkin, vegetable oil, sour cream, and vanilla extract in medium bowl. Add mixture to dry ingredients; stir to fully combine. Spoon batter into paper liners (batter will almost fill liners). Scatter crystallized ginger over, if desired. Bake cupcakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 16 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan and let cool completely on rack. Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl to blend. Beat in powdered sugar.
Divide frosting among 3 bowls. Tint frosting in first bowl with orange coloring (or combine red and yellow coloring to make orange) and frosting in second bowl with black coloring, keeping frosting in third bowl white. Chill frosting 2 hours or until firm enough to easily spread. Frost cupcakes; decorate using candy and sugar crystals as desired.

Red Wine Caramel Apples: (you’ll need 8 wooden ice-pop sticks and a candy thermometer; this will take you about 30 minutes)

8 small McIntosh apples, stemmed, washed well, and dried
1 1/2 cups red wine
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
6 tablespoons heavy cream
Insert a wooden stick halfway into each apple at stem end. Line a tray with wax paper and lightly grease paper.
Boil wine in a small saucepan over medium heat until reduced to 1/2 cup, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
Bring sugar and water to a boil in a 2 1/2-to 3-quart heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved, then wash down any sugar crystals from side of pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water. Boil, without stirring, swirling pan occasionally so caramel colors evenly, until dark amber. Add reduced wine (mixture will bubble up and steam) and swirl pan. Add cream and simmer, stirring, until incorporated, then continue to simmer until thermometer registers 238°F. Remove from heat and cool to 200°F.
Holding apples by the sticks, dip them in caramel and swirl to coat, letting excess drip off, then hold apples up (stick end down) for about 15 seconds to allow more caramel to set on apples. Put caramel apples, stick side up, on greased wax paper and let stand until caramel firms up, about 30 minutes.

Bayou Slime Cocktail:
2 parts Cruzan Dark Rum
6-8 fresh mint leaves
1/2 part Fee Brothers Spiced Cordial Syrup
1 egg white
Muddle mint leaves and syrup together, making sure to crush the mint leaves. Place all ingredients into a shaker. Shake until well-chilled and frothy. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with additional crushed mint leaves.
Dracula’s Kiss:

Add spiders to the drink or hang them on the glass for a clever finishing touch.
1 oz black cherry vodka (Smirnoff or Effen)
1/2 oz grenadine
maraschino cherries for garnish
Coat the bottom of a highball glass withgrenadine.
Add ice and vodka.
Fill with cola.
Garnish with cherries
Spinach-Stuffed Pumpkin:

4 small sugar pumpkins
1 (9 ounce) package frozen creamed spinach, thawed
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 slices white cheese, such as Monterey Jack
reheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Cut off tops and remove seeds from pumpkins. Coat the insides with butter, and season with salt and pepper. Replace lids. Place in a shallow baking dish with a small amount of water to prevent bottoms from scorching during cooking.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until insides have darkened yet outsides remain firm. Meanwhile, small saucepan, stir softened cream cheese into spinach until melted and well-blended.
Fill pumpkins with spinach mixture, and top each with a slice of cheese. Return to the oven for 3 minutes to melt cheese if serving immediately. Pumpkins may be covered and refrigerated at this point until ready to serve. May be reheated in the microwave for 2 minutes.
Jack O Lantern Burgers:

1 envelope onion soup mix
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 1/2 pounds ground beef
10 slices process American cheese
10 hamburger buns, split
In a large bowl, combine soup mix, ketchup, brown sugar, horseradish and chili powder. Crumble beef over mixture; mix well. Shape into 10 patties. Grill, broil or pan-fry until the meat is no longer pink.
Cut eyes, nose and mouth out of each cheese slice to create a jack-o-lantern. Place cheese on burgers; cook until cheese is slightly melted, about 1 minute. Serve on buns.
Happy Halloween! (Thanks Epicurious!)
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