Happy Halloween Everyone! I don't know exactly what it is, but for some reason I have been more excited about the quirky holiday this year than ever before. However, I am the type who likes the idea of a "cute" Halloween. I am not intrigued by fear or horror or anything gruesome for that matter. I am quite a wimp when it comes to being afraid.
When I was younger I lived in a place renowned for its trick or treating. I have some great memories of excitedly wandering around in the frigid night, dressed up in quite a unique array of homemade costumes ranging from a pink tulle dress mimicking Glenda the Good Witch to a feather boa wrapped ensemble resembling a fluffy chicken.
But soon after moving out of the city, I learned that Halloween is much different in the countryside. I will always remember what must have been a very peculiar sight of a little girl walking down a deserted street, dressed as a mime. Since that last attempt at trick or treating, Halloween has become for me, more than anything else, a holiday that celebrates all of the things that are so special about autumn.
I love the fact that they are so chocolate-y and dark and mysterious. The frosting is almost like velvet and is such a great contrast with the crisp cookies. I used my grandmother's vintage cat cookie cutter. I think these scaredy cats make a fun and sweet treat :)
These baked apples were also fantastic. I stuffed some local Fuji apples with Hail Mary's Lemon Thyme pecans and dried sour cherries. The syrup is a slightly lemony apple cider spiced with cinnamon and vanilla bean. The addition of olive oil enriches the flavor even more.
The smell that wafts through the kitchen as the apples bake, is superb. When they are done, they look shiny, juicy, and delicious, flecked with tiny vanilla seeds.
Triple Chocolate Scaredy Cat Cookies (GF)
makes about 2 dozen 4 inch cookies
1 cup Jeanne's All Purpose Gluten Free Flour Blend (see Lavender Peach Crostada post)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1. Whisk to combine flour blend, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. In a double boiler, stir together the chocolate, butter and brown sugar until partially melted. Remove from heat. Stir until completely melted and smooth. Let cool slightly.
2. Add eggs to chocolate mixture. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until well blended. Gradually stir in flour mixture (dough will form a ball).
3. Divide dough in half. Roll out each half on a piece of parchment to 1/4 inch thickness. Stack dough on baking sheet and chill for about 20 minutes.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cut out dough with a cookie cutter. Transfer shapes to a parchment lined baking sheet, 1 inch apart. Bake, rotating halfway through, until cookies are firm, 7 to 10 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Can store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
Velvety Dark Chocolate Frosting
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup milk
1 ounce unsweetened or bittersweet chocolate
1.Whisk to combine sugar and cocoa in a bowl. Stir in milk and whisk until smooth. Melt the chocolate and drizzle into the frosting. Whisk again until smooth and dark.
Recipes slightly adapted from Martha Stewart Living
Baked Apples with Spices, Olive Oil, and Pecans
makes 4 servings
6 tablespoons dried sour cherries, chopped
6 tablespoons pecans, chopped
1 cup fresh apple cider
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
2 cinnamon sticks
4 crisp apples (I used Fuji)
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons coarse sugar
1. In a small bowl, combine the sour cherries and pecans. Set aside.
2. In a pot, combine the apple cider, lemon zest, vanilla bean and seed, and cinnamon sticks. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat. Cover and leave to infuse for 30 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
4. Slice the tops off of the apples, then core them. Drizzle them with lemon juice.
5. Place the apples in a baking dish and divide the stuffing mix among them. Cover them with their tops, then pour the infused juice and oil over them and sprinkle with sugar.
6. Place the apples in the oven and bake for 1 hour, or until tender, regularly drizzling with the cooking juices. Serve with yogurt or whipped cream, if you like.
Recipe adapted from La Tartine Gourmande by Beatrice Peltre via Melissa of The Traveler's Lunchbox