Boo-tini

To finish off ghost week I present to you a cocktail. If you’re throwing a party tomorrow add this martini to your bar menu. Or, maybe you want something with a little kick to sip on while you’re handing out candy to the little ghosts and goblins knocking on your door.

Do kids really dress up as ghosts and goblins anymore? These days it’s all about wanting to be their favorite movie character – I challenge you to count the number of Elsas and Olafs. (Hey, this cocktail could easily be redone in the winter as a melted snowman!)

Boo-tini

Ingredients:

  • 2 parts vodka
  • 1 part vanilla simple syrup
  • 1 part cream
  • 2 parts seltzer

Steps:

  1. Combine martini ingredients in a large pitcher and gently stir. Pour into martini glasses. If only making one, 1 part = 1 ounce.

*This recipe is adapted from Janelle at http://www.hgtv.com/entertaining/liquefied-ghost-cocktail-recipe/index.html *

Boo-tini

Graveyard Cupcakes

The ghost theme continues with this super fun and adorable dessert.

I was originally planning on making another spin on S’more Brownies using ghost marshmallow peeps but during my trip to Joann’s for the ghost cookie cutterI used in Monday’s post my eyes fell upon these adorable ghost icing decorationsand I couldn’t resist! A change in plans was made and a discussion with Kate was in order. With her creative genius she suggested I do chocolate cupcakes with green icing and having these ghosts be coming back from the grave. I continued to follow her instruction and dipped Milano cookies in chocolate to create headstones.

I decided on a chocolate coffee cupcake for the base. My husband forgot his coffee on the counter one morning and I had the ambitious idea to save it, thinking I’d do something with cold coffee. These ideas are usually met with a lack of time or imagination, or even completely abandoned and everything I save with the intentions to do something awesome make their way to a dark corner of the refrigerator to die. But not this time! This time I found a use for that coffee! And because I did a coffee cupcake, I decided to use coffee creamer in the icing instead of milk. And my idea worked! Vanilla buttercream is my least favorite of the buttercreams and I didn’t think I’d be able to dye chocolate buttercream green very effectively. Using the Italian Sweet Cream flavor coffee creamer I had on stock for my mother-in-law made this frosting perfectly sweet and it complimented the cupcakes beautifully – making for an addicting chocolate cupcake. And I don’t say that about cake very often!

Chocolate Coffee Cupcakes with Coffee Creamer Frosting

Ingredients for cupcakes:

  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 C sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 3/4 C flour
  • 1/4 C cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 C cold coffee

Ingredients for decorating:

  • 2/3 C chocolate chips
  • 12 Milano cookies
  • 12 ghost icing decorations
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 3 C powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp liquid coffee creamer
  • green food coloring

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake tins with 16 cupcake liners. Note: there are only decorations for 12 cupcakes, the other 4 are bonus for the cook!
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time. Mix in vanilla.
  3. In a large bowl whisk together flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder. If you’re using unsalted butter, add a pinch of salt.
  4. Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the butter and mix until combined. Add 1/2 of the coffee and mix until combined. Repeat with another 1/3 of the dry ingredients, the last of the coffee, and ending with the remaining 1/3 of the flour mixture.
  5. Fill cupcake tins and bake 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out cleanly. Allow to cool.
  6. Over a double boiler, melt the chocolate chips. Dip the Milano cookies in the chocolate and let set on a piece of parchment paper.
  7. Make frosting: in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar. Add the vanilla and creamer. Add up to another tablespoon of creamer if needed. Mix in food coloring until desired color is achieved. Note: Depending on how you ice your cupcakes, there will be leftover frosting.
  8. Cut a cat’s eye slit into the cupcakes and place the chocolate covered cookies into the cupcakes.
  9. Ice the cupcakes. Decorate with the ghosts.

*This recipe is adapted from Roxana at http://roxanashomebaking.com/chocolate-coffee-cupcakes-with-coffee-buttercream-frosting-recipe/ *

Chocoalte Coffee Cupcakes with Coffee Creamer Frosting

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

Ghost Pancakes

Today’s ghost recipe is 100% inspired from my countless hours surfing Pinterest.

Ghost pancakes!

Doing ghost pancakes is the reason I chose the ghost theme for this year’s Halloween week!

I used my go to pancake recipe. I have been using this recipe for over four years and wish I could give credit where credit is due but I don’t remember where I found it. My copy is a wrinkled piece of paper with stains of egg, melted butter, and syrup all over it. The text is going to be fading before I know it. This recipe makes 12 1/3 C portion pancakes, or 10 ghosts. Feel free to use your favorite pancake recipe or use a boxed mix.

Ghost Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 C flour
  • 3 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/4 C milk
  • 3 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
  • 30 chocolate chips

Steps:

  1. Preheat griddle to medium-high heat. Grease with cooking spray or butter.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.
  3. In another bowl whisk together egg and milk. Whisk in cooled melted butter.
  4. Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients.
  5. Pour pancake batter into a measuring cup. Pour onto hot griddle into shape of ghosts. Place three chocolate chips in the form of eyes and a mouth in the ghost’s head. Flip pancakes when batter starts to set and bubbles form in the center of the pancake. Cook until both sides are golden brown.

Ghost Pancakes

SRC: Ghost Sugar Cookies

Today’s Secret Recipe Club post kicks off a week of ghostly treats in preparation for Halloween. I knew that in my search through my assigned blog, Making Miracles, I knew I would be narrowing down my scope to something that would fit into my plan this year. If you were to look at my secret Pinterest board you’d see that I didn’t do a very good job at tunnel vision.

Making Miracles is Rebekah’s blog about “food, family, and making memories.” Her blog started eight years ago to share her experiences at being a surrogate mother. I couldn’t think of a better gift to give to someone than the gift of a child. For six years Rebekah selflessly gave 4 daughters to parents dreaming of having their own children. Making Miracles was the perfect blog title.

Rebekah’s blog has transformed over the years into a very impressive food blog. With the exception of catching her blog during SRC reveal days, I was introduced to Rebekah through the blog event #10DaysofTailgate where together with 10 other bloggers we ate our way through the end of September cheering on our favorite teams. Let me tell you, it was very tempting not to tell her that I was assigned her blog this month.

If you don’t yet know, in the Secret Recipe Club, each participating blogger is assigned a blog from another participating blogger and secretly searches their site for something to recreate. The accompanying blog post then goes live on reveal day!

So back to my recipe searching.

My secret pinterest board is filled with over 25 recipes from Rebekah’s blog, including her pizza dip from #10DaysofTailgate, her buttermilk soaked parmesan baked pork chops, and chocolate chip cookie souffle. But to fit in with my Halloween week, I narrowed it down to quesadillas (either pizza or sweet potato black bean) or sugar cookies. After finding my ghost shaped cookie cutter, I knew I’d be going the cookie route.

This cookie recipe reminded me of my grandmother’s Roll Out Christmas Cookies. Instead of frosting, I put sprinkles on the cookies before baking them. There are two reasons for doing that: 1) that’s what my Busia did and 2) I don’t like frosting on my cookies. These sugar cookies are not overly sweet and that’s what makes them addicting. Without frosting, they’re also perfect for dunking in your coffee!

I halved Rebekah’s recipe and was nervous the dough didn’t come together perfectly, but after chilling in the fridge before rolling it was perfect! Do not skip the chilling step. If the dough gets too warm it’ll stick to the board and rolling pin all too easily. This means, in between throwing the cookies in the oven, put the dough back in the fridge.

While Rebekah likes thick, chewy cookies I’m the opposite and like thin, flaky cookies. I rolled my cookies to 1/4″ thickness until very lightly golden on the edges. This half recipe yielded approximately 4 dozen cookies. The amount you get will vary depending on the size of your cookie cutter(s) and your desired cookie thickness.

Ghost Sugar Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 C sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 C flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • sprinkles (optional)

Steps:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time. Add in vanilla.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Add the flour to the butter in 3 batches.
  4. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill in fridge at least one hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  6. Roll dough out on a floured surface. Cut out cookies and place an an ungreased cookie sheet. Sprinkle cookies with sprinkle, if desired. Bake 7 minutes.
  7. Cool cookies on a cooling rack.

*This recipe is adapted from Rebekah at http://rebekahrose.blogspot.com/2013/12/the-best-rolled-sugar-cookies.html?m=1 *

Ghost Sugar Cookies

To see the other bloggers who participated in the Secret Recipe Club this month click here:

Slow Cooker Hoisin Chicken

As I sit here, trying desperately to come up with a Next Food Network Star style story behind the dish I find myself coming face-to-face with writer’s block.

I don’t have any personal connection behind this dish. And it has all of the usual selling points: Slow Cooker, Chinese food, Barbecue, chicken. Easy, fast, delicious. Wait? Chinese food and barbecue in the same dish? Absolutely!

Hoisin sauce is used in China in a similar manner that Americans use ketchup or barbecue sauce, and by shredding the chicken you get the same versatility you get with pulled pork barbecue. You can turn this slow cooker meal into lettuce wraps like the original recipe, serve it atop steamed brown rice like I did, or even make it into a sandwich.

Slow Cooker Hoisin Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1/2 bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 jar (8.5 oz) hoisin sauce
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 scallions, chopped

Steps:

  1. Place sliced onions and peppers in bottom of slow cooker. Season chicken with S+P and place on top of vegetables.
  2. In a small bowl whisk together hoisin, soy, water, ginger, and garlic. Pour over chicken.
  3. Cook on low 5-7 hours.
  4. Shred chicken and return to sauce.
  5. Serve with steamed rice. Garnish with scallions.

*This recipe is adapted from Rebecca at http://whoneedsacape.com/2014/05/crock-pot-chicken-lettuce-wraps/ *

Hoisin Chicken

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

Sea Salt and Olive Oil Bagel Chips

Today is my mother-in-law’s birthday! After the birth of my son, her first grandchild, she now happily goes by Tilly. She didn’t want a traditional southern name for grandma and after a lot of contemplation she created this term for herself. After seeing Saving Mr. Banks (no, I don’t know what the movie had to do with it, I never saw it) she investigated her favorite family names to look for their origins, combined a couple, and created Tilly.

As you’ve probably gathered, my mother-in-law and I get along very well. I appreciate how lucky I am to have a mother-in-law who loves and trusts me enough to have given her diamond to Stuart to propose to me. (I still don’t know how she did it!) Three years ago she bought me my first sewing machine and taught me how to quilt. This new hobby provides a great way to bond with Tilly; it allows us time together to be creative, to have both serious and fun conversations, and to go fabric shopping!

Tilly

Wedding photography by Cher Hanna

During her last visit she requested bagel chips to be put on my grocery list. And then added the caveat “if they have them.” I thought, why wouldn’t they? Apparently, they don’t. They sell countless versions of pita chips and pretzel chips, but no bagel chips. If I knew how easy it were to make my own I would have done so for her, but it didn’t cross my mind until after she left. So, I diverted from my original Tilly’s birthday post idea (a chocolate skillet cake) to share this recipe instead. I will definitely be playing around with flavors in the future!

Sea Salt and Olive Oil Bagel Chips

Ingredients:

  • 1 plain bagel
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • sea salt

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cut bagel into chips. Do this by splitting bagel in half and quartering. Halve the quarters from the bottom piece into thin chips and third the quarters from the top piece.
  3. Place bagel chips on a baking sheet and brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt.
  4. Bake for 12 minutes. Allow to cool before storing.

*This recipe is adapted from Lori at http://whoneedsacape.com/2013/08/homemade-bagel-chips/*

Bagel Chips

Grape Jelly

I feel like I’ve been saying this a lot lately, but here’s another cooking adventure I’d always been afraid to try. Making jelly and canning. This adventure wasn’t even on my culinary bucket list – it was too scary. There’s the whole bit with the pectin and the part of sterilizing jars and sealing jars. It just seemed like way too much time and effort to be worth it.

Boy was I wrong!

Homemade jelly is FANTASTIC.

Maybe it’s the grapes.

These grapes came from my parents’ lake house in Lake Geneva, WI. This house used to be my grandparents’ summer home and I spent many of my childhood summers making memories there.

By the road there’s a fence that has grapes growing on it. Grapes which I always thought were green grapes. Nope. They’re beautiful, purple concord grapes! They were just never ripe when I was visiting.

This year, the grapes were ready a little early and Mom called me up asking if I wanted to try making jelly with her. She had over ten pounds of harvested grapes! She stopped by on her way back to Florida for the winter for a few days and we tried our hand at jelly making. A first for both of us!

There are a good number of steps to jelly making. And there’s a good mess to be made. But it’s not difficult. And with the right canning suppliesit’s even fun. This recipe made 12 4oz Jarsand 4 8oz jars.

Making Homemade Jelly 1 Making Homemade Jelly 2 Making Homemade Jelly 3 Making Homemade Jelly 4

Grape Jelly

Ingredients:

  • 5 lb concord grapes
  • 7 C sugar, divided use
  • 1 pkt pectin(or 8 tbsp)

Equipment:

  • blender or juicer
  • cheesecloth
  • jelly jars with lids and rings
  • jar funnel
  • jar grabber
  • magnetic lid grabber
  • large stock pot(s)

Steps:

  1. Sanitize your jelly jars. I did this by running my dishwasher on a very hot cycle. Keep jars warm until ready to fill to prevent the glass cracking. If you do this in a dishwasher, simply don’t open the door until you’re ready to fill the jars. If you sanitize jars by washing with soapy water and boiling in water for 10 minutes,keep the jars in warm water until you’re ready to fill them.
  2. Place jar lids in a shallow skillet over low heat (do not boil) to get the seal gummy, remove lids from water.
  3. Place grapes in a blender (this will need to be done in batches) and pulse until juiced. Pour and press the juice through a cheesecloth lined strainer and strain into a large measuring cup. Squeeze cheesecloth to extract all the juice. Do this until you have 5 C of juice. (Any extra juice is a delicious tart treat for you to enjoy!)
  4. In a small bowl, combine the pectin with 1/4 C of the sugar.
  5. Warm the juice, but do not boil (yet). Stir in the pectin. Bring to a full boil.
  6. Add the rest of the sugar and return to a boil. Boil for 1 minute.
  7. Fill jars with jelly, cover with lids and rings. Seal by placing the filled jars in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes. Remove and allow to cool in a dry place over night. (I did this in my oven.)

*This recipe is adapted from http://www.pickyourown.org/grapejelly.htm#.VELDzfl4ofg*

Homemade Grape Jelly

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

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