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WHEN this eerie abode appears at Halloween parties, guests will surely move right in...to get a piece of the treat! Our kitchen staff prepared the ghostly home with handy packaged cake mixes, plus common baking pans you likely already have in your kitchen. To complete the frightfully delightful scene, they decorated it with edible details including cookie tombstones, cereal shingles and a chocolate door.
TIME: Prep: 45 min. Bake: 55 min. + cooling
Prepare chocolate cake batter according to package directions. Spoon 3 cups into a greased and floured 8-in. x 4-in. loaf pan. Set remaining batter aside. Bake loaf cake at 350° for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Prepare white cake batter and pour into a greased and floured 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Drop reserved chocolate batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto white batter. Cut through batter with a knife to swirl. Bake at 350° for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely. To assemble, place the marbled cake on a large platter or covered board (about 14 in. x 10 in.). Level top of chocolate cake. Cut chocolate cake in half widthwise. Referring to photo above for position, place one half on the corner of the marbled cake for the house. For the roof, cut remaining half of chocolate cake in half diagonally. Position the two halves together so they form a triangular shape on top of house. Cut each cookie in half widthwise and set aside. In a mixing bowl, cream shortening and butter. Gradually add the confectioners' sugar, milk and vanilla, mixing until smooth. Frost house, roof, sides of marble cake and cookie halves. Break candy bar into rectangles. Place one on front of house for door (save remaining pieces for another use). Place a small dot of frosting on left side of door and attach M&M baking bits for doorknob. Tint remaining frosting orange; frost top of marble cake. Place cereal on roof of house for shingles. Cut gum in half widthwise and then lengthwise. Place two pieces above the door for shutters. Use sprinkles to outline the window. For tombstones, attach sprinkles to the cookies to read "RIP" and "BOO". Place cookies on the cake, lightly pushing them into frosting. Place rock candy in front of door for a walkway. Yield: 12-15 servings. Crafter thought: Don't have the same decorations our cooks used? Try any goodies you have in the cupboard, such as candy corns for the roof shingles, M&M's for the stone walkway and candy pumpkins for a patch. Finished size: Cake measures about 13 inches long x 9 inches wide x 7 inches high
Taste of Home Field Editor. Blogger & Photographer. http://nutmegdisrupted.com/
This fun recipe, from Darlene Markel of Sublimity, Oregon, is one the kids will find appealing. Children can help by dipping the baked cookies in caramel and nuts —and also by eating the treats! "They just disappear at my house," Darlene details.
TIME: Prep: 25 min. + standing Bake: 15 min. + cooling
In a small saucepan, combine filling ingredients. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened; set aside to cool. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars. Add egg, vanilla and salt; beat well. Add flour; mix well. Shape dough into 1-in. balls. Flatten and place 1/4 teaspoon filling in center of each. Fold dough over filling and reshape into balls. Place 1 in. apart on greased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool. In a saucepan over low heat, cook caramels are melted. Insert a toothpick into each cookie and dip into caramel until completely coated. Dip bottoms into nuts. Place on wire racks to set. Yield: about 3 dozen.
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Relates field editor Bernice Morris of Marshfield, Missouri, "These light, crispy cookies are packed with fun ingredients perfect for Halloween."
TIME: Prep: 30 min. Bake: 10 min.
In a mixing bowl, cream shortening and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture. Stir in oats, cereal, orange slices and chips or raisins. Drop by tablespoonfuls 2 in. apart onto greased baking sheets. Flatten slightly with a fork. Decorate with raisin or chocolate chip eyes and orange slice mouths. Bake at 350° for 10-14 minutes. Cool on wire racks. Yield: about 6 dozen. *Editor's Note: Orange slices cut easier if microwaved for 5 seconds on high and cut with a sharp knife or kitchen scissors.
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These cookies have become somewhat famous at the school our children attend. One year, I made more than 150 of these "fingers" for their classroom Halloween parties.—Natalie Hyde, Cambridge, Ontario
TIME: Prep: 25 min. + chilling Bake: 20 min.
In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Beat in the egg and extracts. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture. Divide dough into fourths. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes or until easy to handle. Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll into 1-in. balls. Shape balls into 3-in. x 1/2-in. fingers. Using the flat tip of a table knife, make an indentation on one end of each for fingernail. With a knife, make three slashes in the middle of each finger for knuckle. Place 2 in. apart on lightly greased baking sheets. Bake at 325° for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool for 3 minutes. Squeeze a small amount of red gel on nail bed; press a sliced almond over gel for nail, allowing gel to ooze around nail. Remove to wire racks to cool. Yield: about 5 dozen cookies.
Both young and old members of my family request these frozen treats every Halloween. It's been a fun tradition around here for many years. —Edie DeSpain, Logan, Utah
TIME: Prep: 20 min. + freezing
Coat edge of ice cream cones with decorating gel; press chocolate wafer against gel to make bring of hat. Set aside. Drop eight scoops of ice cream onto a waxed paper-lined baking pan. Cut licorice into strips for hair; press into ice cream. Add chocolate chips for eyes and candy corn for noses. Pipe red gel for mouths. Flatten scoops slightly to hold hats in place; position hats over heads. Freeze for at least 2 hours or until hats are set. Wrap each in plastic wrap after solidly frozen. Yield: 8 servings.
Cake mix gives these chocolate sandwich cookies a heat start. You can even have kids help assemble the "spiders!" —Nella Parker, Hersey, Michigan
TIME: Prep: 30 min. Bake: 10 min.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the cake mix, butter and egg (dough will be stiff). Shape into 1-in. balls. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes or until set. Cool for 1 minute before removing from pans to wire racks. Spread a heaping teaspoonful of frosting over the bottom of half of the cookies. Place four licorice pieces on each side of cookies for spider legs; top with remaining cookies. For eyes, attach two red-hot candies with frosting to top of spider. Yield: about 2 dozen.
Our home economists add even more fun to Halloween with these candy spiders resting on a chocolate cookie web. Little goblins will be delighted with these sweet treats.
TIME: Prep/Total Time: 25 min.
Cut licorice into 96 pieces, about 1/2 in. long. Using a toothpick, poke one licorice piece about 1/8 in. into a candy. Repeat seven times to make eight spider legs. Repeat with remaining licorice pieces and candy. Melt chips in a microwave or heavy saucepan; stir until smooth. Transfer to a heavy-duty resealable plastic bag; cut a small hole in a corner of bag. Pipe two small dots on one candy and immediately place one nonpareil on each dot to create eyes. Repeat with remaining candies. Pipe a web on each chocolate wafer. Pipe a dot of melted vanilla chips onto the bottom of the spider and attach to wafer. Yield: 1 dozen.
This spiced cheesecake makes an appearance on my Halloween table every year. Folks get a kick out of the candy web and chocolate spiders.
TIME: Prep: 35 min. Bake: 1 hour + chilling
Combine wafer crumbs and butter; press onto the bottom and 1 in. up the sides of a greased 10-in. springform pan. Set aside. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and sugars until smooth. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Whisk in pumpkin, cornstarch, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice just until blended. Pour into crust. Place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 60-65 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Combine topping ingredients; spread over filling. Bake at 350° for 6 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around the edge of pan to loosen; cool 1 hour longer. Refrigerate overnight. Remove sides of pan; set aside. For spiderwebs, draw six 3-in. x 2-in. half circles on two sheets of parchment paper on top; tape both securely to work surface. In a saucepan, bring the sugar, cream of tartar and water to a boil over medium heat. Boil, without stirring, until mixture turns a light amber color and candy thermometer reads 350°. Immediately remove from the heat and stir. Cool, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes or until hot sugar mixture falls off a metal spoon in a fine thread. Using a spoon or meat fork, carefully drizzle syrup over half-circle outlines and inside the outlines to form spiderwebs; reheat syrup if needed. Cool completely. Place melted chocolate in a resealable plastic bag; cut a small hole in a corner of bag. Pipe 1-in. spiders onto parchment or foil; cool completely. With remaining melted chocolate, pipe two or three dots on each web; attach spiders. Remove sides of springform pan. Cut cheesecake; place a web on top of each slice and remaining spiders on the side. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 12 servings.
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Our Test Kitchen turned Phyllis Schmalz’s cute meringue cookies into these whimsical kisses, perfect for Halloween. With just 15 calories, each little treat from the Kansas City, Kansas cook can be enjoyed guilt-free!
CATEGORY: Low Fat
TIME: Prep: 20 min. Bake: 40 min. + standing
Place egg whites in a small mixing bowl; let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Add extracts and vinegar; beat on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, on high until stiff glossy peaks form and sugar is dissolved, about 6 minutes. Beat in food coloring if desired. Cut a small hole in the corner of a pastry or plastic bag; insert a #10 round pastry tip. Fill bag with egg white mixture. Pipe 1-1/2-in.-diameter ghosts onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Add two chips on each for eyes. Bake at 250° for 40-45 minutes or until set and dry. Turn oven off; leave cookies in oven for 1 hour. Carefully remove from parchment paper. Store in an airtight container. Yield: 2-1/2 dozen.
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Get ready for an assembly line because these no-bake marshmallow witches from our Test Kitchen are easy to prepare, and kids will love helping. They're perfect for gatherings because a dozen can be put together in just 30 minutes. TIP: Whip up an extra batch, put them in plastic wrap, and tie with curly orange or black ribbon for festive party favors.
TIME: Prep/Total Time: 30 min.
For the face of each witch, place a dab of frosting on the bottom of three chocolate chips; press two for eyes and one for nose onto each marshmallow. For hair, combine green food coloring and a drop of water in a small resealable plastic bag; add coconut and shake well. Spread a small amount of frosting on sides of marshmallows; press coconut hair into frosting. Place 3 tablespoons of frosting in a small heavy-duty resealable plastic bag; tint orange with red and yellow food coloring. Set aside. For hats, spread some of the remaining frosting in the center of chocolate wafers; press peanut butter cups upside down into frosting. Lightly spread bottoms of chocolate kisses with frosting; place on peanut butter cups. Cut a small hole in the corner of pastry or plastic bag; insert a small star tip. Fill the bag with frosting and pipe stars around the base of each peanut butter cup. Secure a hat to each witch with a dab of frosting. Yield: 1 dozen.
These cute chocolate-covered treats will magically disappear at your house. Our Test Kitchen staff had a "spooktacular" time coming up with the rich snacks, featuring sugar cones filled with a creamy homemade mousse. Prepare them for your little goblins this Halloween.
TIME: Prep: 25 min. + chilling
For mousse, in a small saucepan, bring 1/2 cup cream to a boil; remove from the heat. Stir in chocolate chips until smooth. Transfer to a bowl; cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally. In a small mixing bowl, beat the remaining cream until stiff peaks form; fold into the chocolate mixture. Cover and refrigerate. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt semisweet chocolate and shortening; stir until smooth. Dip pointed tips of ice cream cones a third of the way into melted chocolate; roll in sprinkles. Refrigerate until set. Just before serving, spoon mousse into cones. Top each with a chocolate wafer. Invert onto a serving platter. Yield: 1 dozen.
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With their nicely spiced, pumpkin pie flavor, these cute layered desserts from Nicole Werner of Roseville, Minnesota make a great alternative to the usual holiday dinner finale.
CATEGORY: Lower Fat
TIME: Prep/Total Time: 30 min.
In a small bowl, whisk milk and pudding mix for 2 minutes or until thickened. Whisk in the pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Spoon into two dessert dishes. Cover and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes. Just before serving, garnish with vanilla wafers. Yield: 2 servings.
Cast a sweet spell over Halloween party guests by making a pumpkin patch worth of treats from our CW Test Kitchen. Using a basic meringue recipe spiced with pumpkin flavor, you too can scare up festive, fun-to-eat cookies.
TIME: Prep: 1 hour Bake: 40 min. + standing
Place egg whites in a small mixing bowl; let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Add cream of tartar and salt; beat until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, on high until stiff peaks form. Add pumpkin pie spice and vanilla. Place egg white mixture in a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip. Pipe 1-1/2-in.-diameter pumpkins onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets. In a small resealable plastic bag, combine the orange sugar and glitter. Seal bag; crush mixture to break glitter into small pieces. Sprinkle over pumpkins. Bake at 250° for 40-45 minutes or until set and dry. Turn oven off; leave meringues in oven for 1-1/2 hours. Carefully remove meringues from parchment paper. Cut leaf and vine shapes from fruit roll; attach to pumpkins with a dab of frosting. Store in an airtight container. Yield: 2 dozen.
TIME: Prep/Total Time: 5 min.
Combine all ingredients. Store in an airtight container. Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice may be used to prepare the following recipe (also found in Recipe Finder): Spice Nuts. Or it may be used as a substitute for the spices called for in your favorite pumpkin pie recipe. Yield: 2-1/2 tablespoons.
TIME: Prep/Total Time: 20 min.
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Gradually add white chocolate, lime juice and peel; mix well. Set aside. In a small bowl, beat cream until it begins to thicken. Add confectioners' sugar; beat until stiff peaks form. Gently fold into cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle cookie crumbs into four dessert dishes, 2 tablespoons in each. Using a large round pastry tip, pipe white chocolate mixture into ghost shapes onto cookie crumbs. Add eyes and mouths with black decorating gel. Serve immediately. Yield: 4 servings.
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