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Halloween Treats!

Halloween Treats!

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Caramel ApplesCaramel Apples:

9 large apples, such as Fuji or Crispin (or 10 to 12 medium)
1 cup (250 mL) granulated sugar
1 cup (250 mL) packed brown sugar
3/4 cup (175 mL) unsalted butter
1 can (300 mL) sweetened condensed milk
2/3 cup (150 mL) corn syrup
1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
2 tsp (10 mL) vanilla
1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped toasted almonds or pecans (approx)
2 oz (60 g) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 oz (60 g) milk chocolate, chopped
2 oz (60 g) white chocolate, chopped

This is a great two-person job - one can coat the apples in the delicious gooey caramel then the other can roll it in nuts. You'll need nine wooden stir sticks or chopsticks. Any caramel left in the pot after dipping can be scraped onto greased foil, cooled and cut into squares for treats.

Preparation:
Remove stems from apples, if desired. Insert wooden stir stick or chopstick into stem end of each. Refrigerate on baking sheet. In 12-cup (3 L) heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt together granulated and brown sugars, butter, condensed milk, corn syrup and salt, stirring. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, stirring and making sure to stir around bottom edge of pot to prevent caramel from scorching.

Reduce heat to medium-low; boil, stirring often, for 18 to 20 minutes or until thickened, deep caramel colour and 1 tsp (5 mL) dropped into cold water forms soft pliable ball (234-236 degrees F/112-113 degrees C on candy thermometer). Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla. Let cool for 5 minutes.

Line rimmed baking sheet with foil; grease foil and set aside.

Place almonds in shallow dish; set nuts aside.

Holding apple by stick, swirl all but top of each apple in caramel, allowing excess to drip back into saucepan. Roll bottom half in nuts. Place on prepared baking sheet; refrigerate until caramel is set, about 15 minutes.

In heatproof bowl over saucepan of hot (not boiling) water, melt bittersweet chocolate. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Repeat with milk and white chocolates. ¡Put bittersweet chocolate, milk and white chocolates into 3 parchment- paper cones or resealable plastic bags with corner tip cut off.

Pipe chocolate over apples as desired. Sprinkle with more almonds (if using). Return to baking sheet; refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes. (Make-ahead: Refrigerate for up to 24 hours.)

Cub Cakes'Cub' Cakes:

This simple, delicious cake has enough body to easily hold the various shapes after cutting.

1 1/2 cups butter, softened (375 mL)
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar (550 mL)
3 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla (7 mL)
3 cups all-purpose flour (750 mL)
3/4 cup cocoa powder (175 mL)
1 1/2 tsp each baking powder and baking soda (7 mL)
1/2 tsp salt (2 mL)
2 1/4 cups buttermilk (550 mL)

Grease sides of 13-x 9-inch (3.5 L) metal cake pan; line bottom with parchment paper. Set aside.

In large bowl, beat butter with sugar until light. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time; beat in vanilla.

In separate bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt; sift again. Stir into butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, making 3 additions of dry ingredients and 2 of buttermilk. Scrape into prepared pan; smooth top.

Bake in 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) oven until cake tester inserted in centre comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Let cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes. Turn out onto rack; peel off paper. Invert topside up let cool completely.

(Make ahead: Wrap in plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to 24 hours or overwrap in foil and freeze for up to 2 weeks.)

Buttercream Icing:

Having the butter truly soft prevents the icing from splitting when tinting it.

1 cup butter, softened (250 mL)
5 cups icing sugar (1.25 L)
2/3 cup whipping cream (150 mL)
2 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled (60 g)
2 tsp vanilla (10 mL)

In bowl, beat butter until light: gradually beat in sugar and cream, making 3 additions of sugar and 2 of cream. Beat in chocolate and vanilla.

(Make ahead: Cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours; beat before use).

Makes about 4 cups (1 L).

Variation

Chocolate Cupcakes: Line 24 muffin cups with jumbo paper liners or grease. Grease top surface of pan. Spoon in batter. Bake in 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) over until cake tester inserted in centre comes out clean, about 20 minutes.

Makes 24 cupcakes.

Variation

Werewolf Cub Cakes: Tint icing dark brown. Dab in centre of cupcake. Place mini-marshmallow on icing. Using star tip and starting at top of marshmallow, pipe icing in 5-inch (12 cm) lengths around marshmallow to resemble spokes. Pipe between spokes to edge to make hairy face.

Attach candy-coated chocolate pieces for eyes and nose, halved white candy-coated licorice pieces for teeth and slice of red gumdrop for tongue.

Makes 24 cupcakes.
Maple Popcorn Caramel Crunch
You won't be able to resist this ultimate in caramel corn. A deep saucepan of about 16-cup (4 L) capacity is the perfect size so the caramel does not boil over. You'll need the full 10 cups (2.5 L) of popcorn to get it evenly coated.
Servings: 10 cups (2.5 L)

Caramel PopcornIngredients:
10 cups (2.5 L) freshly popped popcorn 2.5 L (about 1/2 cup/125 mL kernels)
1-1/2 cups (375 mL) pecan halves
1-1/3 cups (325 mL) granulated sugar
1 cup (250 mL) butter
1/4 cup (50 mL) maple syrup
1/4 cup (50 mL) corn syrup
1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
1 tsp (5 mL) maple extract

Preparation:
Place popcorn in large shallow greased roasting pan. Break pecans in half lengthwise; add to pan. Set aside.

In large heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring sugar, butter, maple syrup, corn syrup and salt to boil over medium heat; boil, stirring constantly, until candy thermometer reaches hard-crack stage of 300 degrees F (149 degrees C), 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in maple extract.

Pour over popcorn mixture; stir to coat evenly. Let cool. Break into bite-size pieces. (Make-ahead: Store in airtight container for up to 1 week.)

 

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