This was our fifth annual attempt to bring Halloween to the people of Australia, and it was also a goodbye of sorts to our apartment. (We’ve moving into our first home next weekend.) Twenty-five guests turned up to help us celebrate with ghoulish and ghastly treats. I tell ya, every year it gets harder to top ourselves. (Recipe links included below where applicable.)
Here’s this year’s spread. We wanted to provide more of a well-rounded meal this year so I didn’t make quite as many sweet things. Please note my way cool knitted Frankenstein, ghosts, and pumpkins there at the back.
These are Pumpkin Brownies (recipe) that I made with my Baker’s Edge pan. They were delicious! I used fresh pumpkin instead of canned (I steamed it in the microwave and then mushed it up), but otherwise I followed the recipe faithfully. My frosting never quite made it to the “stiff peaks” stage, so it was more of a gloopy glaze. Maybe it was the heat. They tasted delicious though! Definitely more moist and cake-like than your usual brownies. (Note: The batter only half-filled my pan, so I used aluminum foil to make a wall to keep it from running.)
I make these Witches’ Fingers (recipe) every year, and they’re always a hit. Unfortunately this year they really “spread” a lot in the oven. (My Mom suggests in retrospect that I should’ve formed the fingers and then put them into the freezer to harden up, before baking at a higher temperature.) I just use food colouring to dye them green. For the “Chex” Mix, I based mine on this recipe. You can’t get Chex here, so I substituted an entire box of Nutrigrain. I also used macadamias, peanuts, and pretzels. (I forgot the Worcestershire sauce, but it was stil tasty.) Most people had never had this before, and they loved it! (Special thanks to Amy for the awesome pumpkin tureen.)
The Snook spent the entire day smoking pork ribs out on the barbecue, and he felt that we ought to have some coleslaw to accompany. This was just a tub we picked up at the deli. You can also see our way cool cocktail doggie, which we picked up at the 50’s Fair a few months ago. Mmm, cabanossi and cocktail onions… Trés elegant.
These Candy Corn Cookies (recipe) were a bit of an experiment. Again, I think I’m hampered by the fact that Halloween is in the spring here, and the weather tends to be warm and humid. It was really hard to form the dough into triangular logs. (Mine ended up being a little more equilateral than isosceles.) The other big problem was that my glazing sorta “crackled.” Not sure why. They were really tasty though! (Candy corn afficionados will notice another problem: I got the order of colours wrong! I was SURE that the orange was on the end, and it wasn’t til I was halfway through the batch that the Snook pointed out my error.) You can also see a bit of Fairy Bread here, which is a perennial favourite. It’s white bread with margarine and sprinkles on top. (It’s disgusting, but Aussie kids love it.)
These are my Buck Eye Balls. I’ve made these for a few years now, and they always go down well. This year I went with a lower-fat peanut butter, which seemed to help them stick together more without being too gloopy. Unfortunately I used a different type of white chocolate for the covering, and I’m not thrilled with how it worked out. Still, gruesome + tooth achingly sweet is always a winning combination.
Aren’t these cool? These were actually brought by Miss Jane, one of our guests. They’re lychees set in red Jello. Yummy!
As some of our guests are vegetarian, we decided to make a Tapeworm Salad (recipe) as an alternative to the ribs. We bought a pack of udon noodles from the Asian grocery and then followed the recipe pretty much exactly. Many, many thanks to Mr. Barker (Rob‘s Dad) for helping out with all the chopping!
Shh! This guacamole is actually from a Weight Watchers recipe! You’d never know it though; it’s really tasty. Mine is extra green because I like to throw in an entire bunch of coriander/cilantro. (Suck it, haters!) Once again, the carrots inexplicably went way before the capsicum did. (Veggie chopping, again, courtesy of Mr. Barker.)
I again made Alien Devilled Eggs, which are just real devilled eggs plus food colour. (Once they’re cooked, just crack them all over with the back of a spoon. Then put them in water and food colouring for a few hours before peeling and preparing.) I really need to remember next year to make twice as many, as these suckers always disappear fast. You can also see more cocktail sticks on our wacky cocktail cactus. (Thanks to Miss Fee for that one.) And lastly, that little trio in the center was the Snook’s joke. It’s fava bean dip… along with liver paté… and a nice chianti. (Get it?)