A Halloween Special
"I was working in the lab late one night, when my eyes beheld an eerie sight..." - Bobby "Boris" Pickett & the Crypt-Kickers
Halloween has always been one of my favourite holidays. Why? Perhaps it was the copious number of sweets and chocolate that suddenly filled our home overnight, a big bowl of goodies placed in the middle of our dining room table. I would perilously dip my hand in and grab one without looking at what it was and see if I could stomach the surprise, whether it be a jellybean, caramel bon bon or milk chocolate button. Perhaps it was the trick or treating with friends. A sure adventure of epic proportions that would leave my small satchel filled with sweeties [recovering from a few scares along the way]. Or maybe, it was the movies - where to begin? The Witches, The Addams Family, Scooby Doo, Goosebumps, the list goes on and on and on. These bewitching and jump scare tales both spooked and delighted my younger self [And my parents no doubt, I saw how engrossed they were as they too munched on chocolate skeletons and gummy worms].
Quite frankly, it was all of these things combined into one bubbling concoction of fun and excitement. It is the Disneyesque, cartoonish potential of Halloween that I love. It’s not so much about the ghouls and goblins, but the way everything around you takes on a sweet fairy-tale quality. Everyone seems to be eating one sweet too many [And frankly my dear, not giving a damn!] and donning costumes from the ridiculous to the amusingly clever [Or both!]. If one has the time, you can turn this holiday into a sugar coated masquerade and good old jolly for the whole family, no matter what age. To celebrate this time honoured holiday of terrifying trickery, I decided to bake some brownies [naturally]. But not just your average fudgy pieces of pure chocolate heaven. Reveling in this month's frightening atmosphere and taking inspiration from Dios De Los Muertos [Day of the Dead], I indulged in this classic treat and twisted it on its head, turning my very own brownie bake into a raucous graveyard dance tableaux. Read on my fellow Halloweenies to see how you can take this traditional goodie and turn it into something a little more spooky but equally as scrumptious.
THE RECIPE Ingredients
1 packet brownie mix
I must confess my brownie mix was not made from scratch. But don’t say boo until you’ve tried the Creative Nature mix that I happened to stumble on in Sainsbury's. The packaging caught my eye, but it was their byline that sold me: “seriously gooey every time”. Now usually I do love the challenge of baking without help but the promise of having that much sought after brownie texture of it being just slightly under cooked in the middle was just too good to pass up. Consider this part of the baking process the trick. The treat? Creating your Monster Mash graveyard!
Monster Mash graveyard party
Fondant icing, red and green
Biscuits of your choice [with a flat side is best]
White icing to pipe
And anything else you can think of!
Step 1 - Bake your brownie mix!
If you’re a true Bake Off style baker, please feel free to venture on with your own mix. If you’re like me and decide to be a little naughty this Halloween, grab your favourite pre-made brownie mix and follow the instructions accordingly.
Step 2 - A chill in the air
Allow your brownie mix to cool sufficiently before adding any toppings.
Step 3 - Pumpkin party
Whilst waiting for the brownie bake to cool, take your red fondant icing and make 7 or 8 balls roughly the size of a malteser. Slight variations on sizing will enhance the effect of your pumpkin patch. Once complete, take your green icing and roll 3 long strips. Cut half inch pieces and stick these onto your pumpkins for the stalks. Taking a toothpick [or fork], press into the pumpkin sides length ways to create ridges.
Voila, fondant pumpkins ready for your graveyard party!
Step 4 - The gravestones
Open your chosen packet of biscuits and pop one in your mouth [must keep ones strength up, baking is tiring work]. Next take 8 biscuits and line them up. With your white frosting at the ready, begin piping on each biscuit. I chose to go with the simple yet effective message of: ‘RIP’. I then proceeded to get carried away and swiftly changed this to, ‘RIP 2020’ in humorous spirit. I attempted skeletons and a pumpkin but being quite the amateur ice-er, quickly turned back to the simple block lettering I started with.
Once done, leave the iced biscuits to set for 3-4 minutes.
Step 5 - Assemble
With your brownie bake cooled and iced biscuits ready, it is time for construction. There’s no real magical art to this, just let your ghoulish imagination run wild and place your chosen sweets as haphazardly or neatly as you wish. The biscuit tombstones will obediently slot into your brownie mix and you can use a little leftover icing to prop them up if they do decide to misbehave. Make sure to get the whole family involved in this graveyard party and do remember to share your sweets - the more the merrier.
Ennjoy this simple but fun brownie bake and I wish you and your family a most Happy [and haunting] Halloween! Until next time, Gia x