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Staying in this Halloween? Food and drink to make at home

An appropriately candy-filled feast for the holiday.

Anyone else holing up in their home Halloween night, conjuring a spooky vibe away from any potential pandemic scares? I am, and I plan on having some festive food and drink to keep the evening fun amid all the gloom of 2020.

Here are some ideas you can try at home, too.

Starburst Spritz

You will need a beverage for the evening. Keep it simple by making a syrup infused with bright red Starburst candy. It doesn’t need to be alcoholic; you can just mix an ounce of the syrup with some club soda for a similarly bubbly effect.

For the simple syrup:

¾ cup granulated sugar

1 cup water

6 Starburst candies, preferably red

For the cocktail:

2 ounces gin or vodka

1 ounce lemon juice

Ice

Prosecco or whatever bubbles you have on hand (you could also use club soda)

Lemon slices, for garnish

Starburst candies, preferably red

Make the simple syrup: Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved (you don’t really want the mixture to boil), then remove from heat and stir in Starburst until they melt.

Pour into another vessel, preferably one you can keep in the fridge later, and set aside to cool. You’ll only need an ounce for this recipe; the rest will keep for a week in the fridge.

Make the cocktail: Combine gin or vodka and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker or glass with a handful of ice. Add 1 ounce Starburst simple syrup. Shake or stir until cold, then strain into a serving glass. Top with bubbly or club soda. Garnish with more ice if desired, lemon slices and some Starburst candies.

Makes 1 drink.

Source: Michelle Stark, Tampa Bay Times

Fall Flatbread

This fall-inspired flatbread couldn’t be easier, providing necessary sustenance while you crank up another Halloween movie.

5 or 6 slices bacon

1 apple, really any kind is fine, sliced thin

1 small white onion, sliced thin

Salt

Pepper

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Store-bought or homemade pizza dough

Olive oil

4 ounces goat cheese

4 ounces mozzarella cheese

Handful of arugula

Dice bacon then add to a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Cook until bacon is crispy, then remove with a slotted spoon and set aside for later. Leave grease in the pan, then add apple and onion. Season with salt and pepper, then cook until both are soft, about 10 minutes.

Remove pan from heat, stir in apple cider vinegar, then set aside.

Stretch pizza dough out until it’s rather thin and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. You don’t want to go bigger than a 12- by 12-inch square, but any other size should be fine.

Drizzle some olive oil on top of dough, then spoon apple-onion mixture on top. Spread evenly across dough, then top with both cheeses. Season again with salt and pepper.

Cook in a 425-degree oven until crust is golden brown and crispy and cheese is melted.

Remove from oven, scatter reserved bacon on top, then top with arugula.

Source: Michelle Stark, Tampa Bay Times

Chocolate Candy Blondies

This recipe is great for that leftover candy you don’t love (looking at you, Milky Way) or just bought way too much of this year. It’s a blondie, which provides a blank enough canvas for little bits of chocolate and a brown butter glaze to shine.

For the blondie:

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more

2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus more

1 cup chopped chocolate candy, like Snickers, Twix or Milky Way

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

1½ teaspoons kosher salt

1 ¾ cups (packed) light brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the topping:

¼ cup unsalted butter

¼ cup (packed) light brown sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch of kosher salt

½ cup chopped chocolate candy, like Snickers or Twix or Milky Way

Make the blondie: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 13- by 9-inch baking dish and dust with flour.

Whisk baking powder, salt and 2 ¼ cups flour in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat brown sugar and 1 cup butter in a large bowl until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating between additions; mix until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in vanilla.

Reduce speed to low and mix in dry ingredients. Fold in chocolate candy. Scrape batter into prepared baking dish; smooth top, pushing batter to edges. Bake until blondie is golden brown and firm (a tester will not come out clean), 30 or 35 minutes. Let cool before slicing.

Make the topping: Cook butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, until butter foams, then browns, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer brown butter to a medium bowl; let cool slightly. Add brown sugar, vanilla and salt, beating until mixture is light, about 3 minutes. Fold in chocolate candies while mixture is still warm, then drizzle topping over blondies.

Source: Michelle Stark, Tampa Bay Times

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