I realize Halloween will not be the same this year, and that makes me sad. But it is impossible to resist baking all kinds of spooky things, and with this post I share six options for your socially-distant Halloween celebration.
All macarons were filled with a chocolate ganache, but in the Devil and Mummy macs the ganache was made by steeping the cream with smoked tea. Bat Cookies are a hazelnut-almond dough, and the others are regular sugar cookies.
I used my default recipe which you can find here (and also a video tutorial in case you’d like to bake along with me). The idea of the decoration came from a brand new cookbook (The Wicked Baker) by one of the most fascinating contestants of the Great British Bake Off, the one and only Helena Garcia. She used a similar decoration for donuts, but I adapted it for macarons. The ears were made with Royal Icing dyed black, and piped on parchment paper in the appropriate format. Make more ears than you’ll need, as they break easily. The same Royal Icing was used to pipe the devilish tail. Once you assemble the shells with the filling, quickly add the ears, while the ganache is still soft.
Recipe for the smoked chocolate ganache:
150g heavy cream (you won’t use the full amount in the ganache)
1 bag smoked black tea (Lapsang Souchong)
2 tsp corn syrup
230g semi-sweet chocolate in pieces
Start by making the filling, as it must cool down before using. Bring the heavy cream to a gentle boil, add the tea bag. Turn the heat off, close the pan and leave the tea infusing for 30 minutes. Squeeze the tea bag and remove it. Bring the cream to a gentle boil again, then pour 115g of it over the chocolate. Leave it for 5 minutes, gently whisk until smooth, add the corn syrup. Cool it until it gets to a good consistency for piping on the shells.
Also made with my default recipe, and filled with Smoked Chocolate Ganache. Once the shells are assembled, simply use white Candy Melts to make a random drizzle on the surface, and quickly add store-bought candy eyes (from Wilton).
Those were made in fact two years ago, and I totally forgot to blog about them. Back then, there was a thing called “Halloween Party” with guests and all (sigh). Bogey approved the macs, but was a bit spooked by a special version I made at the time.
Isn’t that pup the most adorable being in the universe? Noticed the paw?
The shells were made with a new (to me) recipe. I used the Swiss meringue method, in a version that is super easy to memorize: 100g of every ingredient. All details in this recent post from Broma Bakery. I really like the way the shells baked with tall feet, and I did not even passed the almond flour + powdered sugar through the food processor, which made the whole process even simpler.
I loved making the spider decorations. I used marzipan dyed black, and then formed the head and the body of the little spiders, glueing them to the shells with candy melts. A little food-safe black pen to make the spider legs, and that was it! If you prefer less marzipan on the shells, roll the marzipan thin, and cut circles, one bigger for the body, one smaller for the head. It will have a similar look, but for those who are not wild about marzipan, even better to enjoy!
Chocolate Ganache Filling
100 g heavy cream
220g dark chocolate, chopped finely (I used Lindt 70%)
15 g butter
15 g honey
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Gently melt the chocolate with the butter in a double-boiler or microwave at 50% power. Set aside.
Pour the cream together with the honey and vanilla into a small saucepan and place over medium heat until it reaches almost boiling point. Pour slowly over the chocolate-butter mixture, mix until homogenized. Keep at room temperature for about 3 hours before using to fill the shells. You can make also make it the day before.
Another decoration idea from The Wicked Baker, Helena’s cookbook. She used sugar cookies, I went with a slightly different recipe for the cookie base.
HAZELNUT-ALMOND CUT-OUT COOKIES
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)
188g butter at room temperature, cut in small cubes
78g powdered sugar
250g all-purpose flour
42g ground hazelnuts
42g ground almonds
1/4 tsp salt
In a Kitchen Aid type mixer with the paddle attachment cream the butter with powdered sugar until soft and smooth. Gradually add the eggs, and keep beating until fully emulsified.
Add the flour, hazelnuts, almonds and salt, mixing gently to a homogeneous mixture. Transfer the dough to a floured surface, pat as a disc and refrigerate for about 2 hours.
Roll out and cut in any shape you like. Freeze the cut cookies for 10 minutes before baking at 350F for about 12 minutes, until edges start to get a little color. Decorate with Royal Icing or serve plain, they are delicious even without decorations.
to print the recipe, click here
A little Royal Icing, sprinkles, and food pen to finalize the bat-look… Very simple to decorate, and the hazelnut-almond base really adds a lot to the cookie.
SPOOKY SUGAR COOKIES
I love using these cookie cutters that make the design for you, because I’m not that good at piping fancy designs (I am working on it, but well, you know how it goes). For the houses, I wanted a “granite” look, and it was easy to do with food gel diluted with a bit of vodka (or lemon extract). You need to eye-ball the dilution factor, so that the color is a little faded and does not cover the surface of the cookie completely. I used purple and dark blue from Artisan Accents, and completed the decoration with Royal Icing dyed orange or black.
For the sugar cookie basic recipe, I followed Bakeat350 to a T. I love that you don’t need to refrigerate the dough before rolling it out. All recipes I’ve tried from that site worked wonderfully, and I’ve tried plenty, as every week I include a small batch of sugar cookies in my donations to Common Table.
FRIENDLY GHOST MACARONS
I used my default recipe for these, and the same chocolate ganache used for the Spider Macs, posted above. All you need is a template to pipe your little ghosts, and to make sure the macaron batter is not too thin, stop shorter in the macaronage, so that when you pipe the design it stays as it is. There are many templates available in the net, I used this one. The only issue I had with these macs is the slight browning in the oven. It is pretty tricky to keep the white color unchanged. In a batch I made earlier, I painted some pearl dust all over the surface, but it used up so much pearl dust, I am not sure it was worth it.
For more recipes to inspire you, click on this link from last year. Amazing how we had no idea how much our world would be changed 365 days later.
ONE YEAR AGO: Miso and Sesame Roast Chicken with Revelation Quinoa
TWO YEAR AGO: Incredibly Simple Times Four
THREE YEARS AGO: Parsnip, Coconut and Lemongrass Soup
FOUR YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen, October 2016
FIVE YEARS AGO: Paleo Moussaka
SIX YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen, October 2014
SEVEN YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen, October 2013
EIGHT YEARS AGO: Bourbon and Molasses Glazed Pork Tenderloin
NINE YEARS AGO: Crimson and Cream Turkey Chili
TEN YEARS AGO: Taking a break from the nano-kitchen
ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Chocolate Chip Cookies