Everything Pumpkin!

Halloween may be over, but PUMPKIN season is just beginning!

By now you’ve had a chance to check out Kbatz’s multitude of Krafty pumpkins! Releasing later this month, we’ll have a Pumpkin Special Podcast that you can listen to while you prep that perfect pumpkin dessert or look ahead to family gatherings you may or may not be excited about attending. Until then, here are some awesome new pumpkin ideas for you to try:

Wordy Pumpkins

I just love using dollar store pumpkins to make cooler pumpkins. This look is created by modge podgeing book pages (in this case pages from an old dictionary) onto pumpkins and then using a black marker or paint to put the letters you would like on them. This boo-tiful craft takes only a few supplies: stryo pumpkin from a dollar store, old book/dictionary pages, glossy modge podge, a foam paintbrush (or you can use your fingers), and a thick black sharpie.

Pinned Pumpkins

These looks are pretty easy because you aren’t even covering the entire pumpkin.

Buttoned Pumpkin supplies: tons of mini buttons of varying colors, but all about the same size, crafting wire that can be cut and poked into the foam through two holes (like a staple).

Ribboned Pumpkin supplies: thin black ribbon or curling ribbon, a thicker specialty ribbon, pins.

Pumpkin Recipes:

Horror Addicts Guide to Life

Check out Dan’s Pumpkin Patch Party Recipes in Horror Addicts Guide to Life. 26 pages of pumpkin reciepes from pepita brittle to maple pumpkin ice cream!

Other Pumpkin crafts:

Finale Craft: Making Quilted Pumpkins

Kbatz Kraft: Pumpkin Ottomans, Oh Yes

How to Make Stuffed Pumpkins – A Kbatz Kraft!

How to Make a Pumpkin Cat House – A Kbatz Kraft!

 

 

Morbid Meals – Krampus drinks

Tis the season to make merry, and who better to get on your good side than Krampus? Here are a couple drinks to get into the spirit this season.

First off, a drink of my own invention…

The Flaming KrampusFlaming Krampus

1 oz spiced rum
2 oz cinnamon schnapps
2 oz applejack or hard apple cider
2 oz orange juice
splash of grenadine
1/2 oz 151 rum

Glass: Old-Fashioned

In an Old-Fashioned glass or similar, mix the rum, schnapps, apple cider, and orange juice. Add a splash of grenadine to give a fiery look. Over the back of a spoon, float the 151 rum on top and then ignite. When the fire goes out, it is ready to drink.

This drink was inspired by the traditional German New Year’s hot punch called Feuerzangenbowle. Here’s a recipe for that which you can make at home rather easily.

FeuerzangenbowleFeuerzangenbowle

EXAMINATION

Feuerzangenbowle (Flaming Fire Tongs Punch) is a hot punch made with red wine and rum that is traditionally served at German New Year’s and Winter festivities. Glühwein is another traditional German winter mulled wine. Feuerzangenbowle is essentially the same thing, but with FIRE! Krampus would approve!

ANALYSIS

Yield: 1.5 liters
Serves: 8

Ingredients

2 bottles of sweet red wine, like a Dornfelder (750ml each)
4 cloves
3 cinnamon sticks
2 whole allspice
2 cardamom pods
1 orange
1 lemon
1 Zuckerhut (substitute sugar cubes, or make one with 1 cup granulated sugar)
2 oz 151 proof rum

Apparatus

  • Fluted glass or conical mold (if making a zuckerhut)
  • Crock pot or large pot
  • “Fire tongs” or a metal strainer or rack that reaches across your pot
  • Lighter

Procedure

Making your Zuckerhut
  1. If you can purchase a Zuckerhut sugar cone or just want to use sugar cubes, you can skip this step. However, it is easy to make your own.
  2. In your measuring cup or a small bowl, add your granulated sugar and add 2 teaspoons of water, and mix well.
  3. Using a cone-shaped glass or mold, pack sugar in tight. After about an hour, flip your glass/mold over and tap gently to release the cone onto a piece of waxed or parchment paper. Allow 24 hours to dry.
Making the mulled wine
  1. In your crock pot, add your wine and spices.
  2. Peel your orange and lemon to make spirals and add them to the pot. Juice the orange and lemon and add the juice to the pot. Chop up the juiced fruit and add to the pot.
  3. Heat the mixture on High/Hot setting on your crock pot until it is warm, about an hour. Do not let it come to a boil. Once it is at the temperature you want, reduce your crock pot to “Keep Warm” or its lowest setting.
Lighting the sugar
  1. Lay your fire tongs, strainer, mesh, or rack over the top of your pot.
  2. Place the zuckerhut or sugar cubes on the fire tongs.
  3. Slowly pour your 151-proof rum over the sugar allowing it soak the rum up but not dissolve it.
  4. Carefully light the rum-soaked sugar. As the sugar caramelizes and melts, it should drip into your punch. You may need to keep adding rum, only a spoonful at a time, to keep the fire alight until all of the sugar is gone. Do not pour the rum directly from the bottle.
  5. Using a ladle, serve the hot punch into mugs.

DISSECTION

By making this in a Crock pot, you can keep the punch warm without fear of boiling the punch. You can still prepare this in a covered pot kept over a medium low heat for about 30 minutes if you do not have a crock pot available.

On a historical note, this punch used to be prepared with the sugar cone sitting atop swords that were crossed over a kettle. How wicked is that?

I made the recipe scalable so that you can make this with just one bottle of wine (divide all ingredients in half) or up to as large as you need.

POST-MORTEM

It might seem cliche, but this drink really tastes like Christmas to me. My grandmother never made this, to my knowledge, but her house at Christmas always smelled like this. The flaming sugar brings a little extra festive spectacle to an already delicious mulled wine.

Morbid Meals – Halloween & Dia de Los Muertos treats for kids and adults

For Halloween I wanted to come up with some fun recipes for everyone’s holiday parties, whether they be Halloween or Dia de Los Muertos celebrations. However, I wanted to find new recipes beyond the old standards. So, here is my take on three new tricks to treat your guests.

Graveyard Guacamole Chips and Dip

Graveyard Guacamole

EXAMINATION

It’s the Great Guacamole Graveyard, Charlie Brown! Nah, that just doesn’t have the same ring to it. It does, however, taste really, really good.

ANALYSIS

Ingredients

16oz can refried beans
16oz can chili with beans
1/2 cup salsa
1 1/2 cups shredded chicken and/or pork
1/4 cup buffalo wing sauce
3 Haas avocados, peeled and pitted
1/4 cup salsa
1/2 lime, juiced
1 cup pepper jack cheese
1/4 head of lettuce, shredded
bag of tortilla strip chips (the long rectangular ones)
side of sour cream (optional)

Apparatus

  • 3-quart rectangular casserole dish
  • 3 small mixing bowls

Procedure

  1. In first mixing bowl, combine the refried beans, chili, and salsa.
  2. In second mixing bowl, combine shredded meat and buffalo wing sauce.
  3. In third mixing bowl, make fresh guacamole by mashing the avocados, then combining with lime juice and salsa.
  4. Layer the ingredients as follows into your casserole dish.
    a. First, the beans mixture, then a sprinkling of cheese.
    b. Next, the buffalo-sauced meat, then a sprinkling of cheese.
    c. Finally, the guacamole, and generously sprinkle on the shredded lettuce.
  5. Stick some tortilla chips into the dip to resemble headstones
  6. Serve with remaining tortilla chips and a side of sour cream, for the gringos who can’t stand the heat.

DISSECTION

If you want to add a little extra spookiness to this, find some Halloween-shape cookie cutters, and make your own creepy chips. Use the cookie cutters to cut corn or flour tortillas into spooky shapes. Bake in a 350°F oven for 5 to 7 minutes or until you have crispy critters. Allow to cool on a cooling rack.

POST-MORTEM

This of course makes a great appetizer for a macabre Cinco de Mayo, or anytime you want to spice up a dead (man’s) party. Furthermore, this quite frankly is a balanced meal in of itself, worthy of any gruesome occasion.


White Chocolate “Sugar Skulls”

White Chocolate Sugar Skulls

EXAMINATION

Celebrations for Dia de Los Muertos just wouldn’t be the same without sugar skulls. A new tradition of making skulls, and even coffins, from chocolate is also emerging. Regular sugar skulls take special molds and years of practice (or maybe some meringue powder to help out). They also aren’t eaten when complete — licked maybe, but never eaten.

For our party needs, we’re going to make something a little more edible using white chocolate.

ANALYSIS

Ingredients

12 oz bag white chocolate chips (roughly 2 cups)

Royal icing, in many vibrant colors, fine tip
Or if you can find them “Candy Writers” which are tipped tubes of pre-colored white chocolate candy.

Candy Writers

Apparatus

Procedure

  1. Heat water in the saucepan over high heat until it begins to simmer, then turn off the stove and place the top pan (or bowl) over the water.
  2. Pour your white chocolate chips into the top pan (or bowl). It will take about 5 minutes for all of the chips to melt.
  3. Spoon your melted candy into your skull molds. Allow the candy to harden in the molds, at least an hour. You can refrigerate it to speed this up but your candy will melt faster later. Wait it out naturally if you have the time.
  4. Carefully remove your candy from the molds. If there are any side bits to break off, use a sharp knife to carve them off.
  5. Decorate with the icing or Candy Writers and allow the your decoration to completely dry. If you are able to use Candy Writers, they need to be warmed up in hot water, but they are the smoothest way to decorate these. Since they are chocolate on chocolate, the decorations will stay longer than royal icing will on chocolate.

DISSECTION

You can also melt the chocolate in the microwave, but do this in small batches at 50% power.

Try to smooth the backs of the candy as best you can and don’t let any spread outside of the molds. You’ll have to break off any of these bits and it is hard to do that cleanly.

If your chocolate gets hard on you again as you work with it, it will become less and less easy to melt. The sugars reform bonds that get stronger each time. Turn the heat up on your boiler but only a little bit. If it gets too hot it could burn or seize up.

Also, like Gremlins, do not let your chocolate get wet. This will mess with the fats in the chocolate and then you’ll have nasty little blobs instead of smooth, silky candy. Never cover your melting chocolate with a lid, and do not let your water boil or you could get steam in your chocolate.

If the chocolate does seize up on you or get wet, here’s some tips that can help.

POST-MORTEM

Decorating these skulls with your kids is part of the fun. If they are old enough, they could help you with melting the chocolate. That is if you can keep them from licking the spoon.

You can find chocolate molds in almost every craft store these days, like Jo-Ann’s, Michael’s, etc. There’s also Amazon and eBay if you don’t have a local store with a large selection. For folks like me in Phoenix, ABC Cake Decorating Supplies has a HUGE selection of molds, and you can even buy them online. This is also where I found the Candy Writers which were perfect for the job.

If you want to try your hand at making real sugar skulls, the awesome folks at MexicanSugarSkull.com sell molds and provide recipes that make this traditional labor of love a little more accessible to the rest of us.


Blood Orange Sangría

Blood Orange Sangría

EXAMINATION

I never drink… wine. Ahem. By itself, that is. I do love a good sangría. This is my personal favorite version that I have made for years, for many an occasion. What makes it a special treat for Halloween? Why the blood oranges, of course. Blood oranges from Florida can be found in stores in October making it the perfect season for Blood Orange Sangría.

ANALYSIS

Ingredients

1 cup blood orange juice (from 4 medium or 6 small fruit)
1/4 cup superfine granulated sugar
1 bottle red wine (like pinot noir or merlot)
1 cup brandy
2 small red delicious apples
1 can cold lemon-lime soda (optional)

Apparatus

  • citrus juicer
  • large pot
  • large pitcher or punch bowl

Procedure

  1. Peel and core the apples and chop into small pieces about 1/2 inch to an inch in size. Or if you have one of those wicked spiral slicers, those peel, slice, and core an apple quickly and beautifully. Add these to your pitcher/bowl.
  2. Cut your blood oranges in half and then slice one thin ring from each half. Add these to your pitcher/bowl.
  3. Juice the blood oranges, getting every last little drop. I find electric juicers work best, but there’s nothing wrong with using an old school juicer and some elbow grease.
  4. In the large pot, over medium heat, combine the blood orange juice and the sugar. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  5. To the juice, add the wine and brandy. Stir to incorporate everything well.
  6. Pour into the pitcher/bowl and refrigerate until well chilled, about an hour.
  7. Remove from the refrigerator and add the soda. Stir well.

DISSECTION

You can make a virgin version with pomegranate juice or your favorite fruit punch instead of the alcohol.

If you want to make this when blood oranges are out of season, try to find Cara Cara navel oranges. They have a ruby pink fruit like grapefruit but they are remarkably sweet.

POST-MORTEM

Pour this sparkling Spanish drink into your favorite glass, with or without ice, and enjoy the best of an autumn harvest. ¡Salud, dinero y amor, y el tiempo para gozarlos!