Ghoulash Stew

ghoulash stew

Erik Kran

Top this hearty beef stew with crackers or some spooky cheesy spiders for a delicious warming meal you’ll want to eat all fall.

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Yields: 8 servings
Total Time: 3 hours 0 mins

Ingredients

2 1/2 lb.

beef chuck or stew meat, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces

1 tbsp.

all-purpose flour

2 tsp.

ground cumin

1 tsp.

salt

1/2 tsp.

ground pepper

3 tbsp.

vegetable oil

1

large onion, chopped

1

8-oz container sliced mushrooms

2

cloves garlic, minced

1 c.

red wine (optional, can also substitute broth or water)

1

16-oz can whole tomatoes in juice, chopped (juice reserved)

1

8-oz container sour cream

Directions

Heat oven to 350°F. Toss beef with flour, cumin, salt, and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large Dutch oven on medium-high. Working in batches, brown meat on all sides. Transfer to a bowl using a slotted spoon.Heat remaining tablespoon oil in pot. Add onions, mushrooms, and garlic. Cook, stirring, until onions are translucent and mushrooms are golden, about 3 minutes. Add wine, tomatoes, and their juices and bring to a boil. Cover pot and place in the oven. Cook until beef is tender, about 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Skim any excess fat from top of stew and season with salt and pepper if desired.Spoon into bowls. Spoon sour cream into a resealable bag. Snip a corner from the bag and squeeze a spiral on top of the stew. Drag a toothpick through sour cream to create a spiderweb.

Spicy Cornbread Sticks

Spicy Cornbread Sticks

Erik Kran

These spicy cornbread sticks are perfect for dipping or decorating with any spread.

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Yields: 14 servings
Total Time: 0 hours 30 mins

Ingredients

1 1/4 c.

all-purpose flour

3/4 c.

yellow cornmeal

2 tbsp.

sugar

2 tsp.

baking powder

1/2 tsp.

salt

1/8 tsp.

cayenne pepper

1 c.

milk

1/3 c.

vegetable oil

1

large egg 

Directions

Heat oven to 400°F. Coat two corn stick pans or 10 cups in a muffin pan with nonstick spray.Combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cayenne pepper in a medium bowl. In another bowl, whisk milk, oil, and egg. Pour milk mixture over flour mixture. Stir just until combined.Spoon batter into pans until each mold is two-thirds full. Bake 10 to 12 minutes (sticks) and 15 to 20 minutes (muffins) until golden brown. Transfer to wire rack; cool 3 minutes. Invert onto rack.

Broom Cookies

broom cookies

Erik Kran

Scare the cobwebs out into the open with these Broom Cookies, crafted from cookie dough and red frosting, then shaped with the tines of a fork and topped with a pretzel-rod handle. 

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Yields: 36 servings
Total Time: 0 hours 50 mins

Ingredients

1

17.5-oz bag peanut butter cookie mix (such as Betty Crocker)

1/3 c.

all-purpose flour

1

9-oz bag honey-wheat multigrain pretzel sticks

1

tube red decorating frosting

Directions

Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat two baking sheets with nonstick spray; set aside. Prepare cookie mix according to package directions with the addition of flour. Mix until smooth.Divide dough into 36 pieces. Shape dough pieces into triangles about 1/4-inch thick. Arrange pieces about 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Insert pretzel stick into one corner, 1/2 inch into dough.Press the tines of a fork into dough to make the broom bristles.Bake 12 to 15 minutes until golden and cookies are slightly firm. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.When cookies are cool, pipe a line of red frosting on the top of the bristles.

Haunted Cookie House

haunted cookie house

Erik Kran

You’ll want to eat this haunted cookie house even before you’re done assembling it. 

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Yields: 1 serving
Total Time: 1 hour 20 mins

Ingredients

2 c.

all-purpose flour

1 c.

unsweetened cocoa powder

4 tsp.

cinnamon

4

18-oz rolls refrigerated sugar cookie dough

2

16-oz boxes confectioners’ sugar

6 tbsp.

egg white powder

Brown, purple, and orange food coloring 

Assorted candies and cookies

5

brown flat-bottomed ice cream cones (Joy brand color cups 2.625 oz)

2

chocolate ice cream cones (Oreo brand)

2

bags Hershey’s Hugs

1

10-oz bag Nestlé Swirled chocolate chips

Decorated cookies

Candy pumpkins

2

cups ground chocolate cookies

Hot-glue gun (optional, if house is only for decoration)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F. Knead flour, cocoa, and cinnamon into cookie dough, working in batches if necessary, until combined and smooth.Divide dough into quarters and roll out on a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper or foil. Cut out windows and doors. Leave house pieces on the paper or foil and transfer to baking sheets.Bake until golden and firm to the touch, 15 to 20 minutes depending on size of the pieces. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough and pattern.Meanwhile beat confectioners’ sugar, egg white powder, and 3/4 cup water in a large bowl with an electric mixer
until thick and smooth.Transfer 1 cup frosting to a resealable bag. Tint 2 cups frosting brown, 1/2 cup orange, and 1 1/2 cups purple. Spoon each color into a separate resealable bag and set aside. Cover remaining frosting well with a moist paper towel and plastic wrap. (This will be used for the assembly.)Snip small corners from the bags with purple, white, and orange frosting. Pipe around windows and doors on sides of house. Let dry about 1 hour.To assemble (for a quick non-edible centerpiece, use a glue gun instead of frosting): Pipe generous lines of white frosting on vertical sides of piece A, B, C, and D (large house), and stick sides together. Use cans to support all sides, inside and out. Let dry about 1 hour. Pipe generous lines on vertical sides of pieces E, F, G, and H (second story) and attach using cans to support. Let dry at least 1 hour.Attach the roof pieces I and J to the large house with frosting and let dry about 1 hour. Support the roof with a box or cans. Pipe lines along small roof edge and add pieces K and L. Let dry about 1 hour. Pipe decorative lines on the outside of both stories with purple frosting. Pipe bone decoration with white frosting along the sides of the second storyUse a serrated knife to trim 1 /12 inch from bottom of two of the brown cones. Stack remaining three brown cones and add one trimmed cone on top. Place one of the chocolate cones on top of that to create the tower next to the house. Secure tower with some purple frosting.  Trim remaining brown cone to fit on top of the second-story roof. Cut a V shape on either side of cone with a serrated knife. Attach cone to the small roof with some brown frosting.Place the larger house on a serving platter. Pipe a generous line of brown frosting along bottom edge of second story. Place on top of larger house and press slightly to secure.Spread a 2-inch-wide band of brown frosting along bottom roof edge I. Add unwrapped Hugs as close as possible in rows. Repeat, adding more frosting and Hugs, trimming candy if necessary. Repeat with roof piece J.Spread brown frosting on roof piece K. Arrange swirled chips to cover roof, starting at the bottom edge. Repeat with roof piece L.Attach one or two decorated cookies to house if desired using some remaining frosting. Hold cookie for several minutes to make sure that it sets.Spread chocolate cookie crumbs around house. Add other decorated cookies and candy pumpkins around house.

Flying Crow Cupcake

flying crow cupcake

Erik Kran

This flying crow cupcake doesn’t take an artist to make. It’s as simple as using chocolate wafer cookies as wings.

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Yields: 12 servings
Total Time: 0 hours 30 mins

Ingredients

1

16-oz can vanilla frosting

Yellow food coloring

12

baked and cooled cupcakes

Yellow sanding sugar

1 c.

dark-chocolate frosting

12

chocolate wafer cookies

12

yellow banana-shaped candies (Runts)

12

red candy decors

Directions

Tint vanilla frosting bright yellow, then spread on top of cupcakes and make smooth. Roll edges in sanding sugar.Spoon some of the chocolate frosting into a resealable bag. Snip a 1/4-inch corner from the bag and pipe a large dot of frosting on one side of each cupcake as the head. Pipe another dot of frosting next to the first, in the center, as the body.Using a serrated knife, gently cut two 1/2-inch-wide wing shapes from each of the chocolate wafers. Trim remaining pieces into 1-inch triangle tails.Insert wafer pieces into cupcakes as the wings and tail. Press banana candy into chocolate frosting as the beak. Add red candy decor as the eye; pipe on dark chocolate for legs.

One-Eyed Monster Cupcake

One-Eyed Monster Cupcake

Erik Kran

Transform your favorite cupcake batter into some delicious monster cupcakes.

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Yields: 12 servings
Total Time: 0 hours 30 mins

Ingredients

1

16-oz can vanilla frosting

Green, red, and yellow food coloring

12

baked and cooled cupcakes

1/2 c.

each light green and red decorating sugar

Red licorice laces

12

Mega M&M’s

Black licorice laces, cut into 1-inch pieces

1

tube black decorating frosting

Directions

Spoon 3/4 cup of frosting into a resealable bag. Divide remaining frosting in two and tint one portion light green with the green and yellow food coloring and one portion orange with the red and yellow food coloring. Frost tops of cupcakes, then roll cupcake edges in green and red decorating sugar. (You can make the monsters other colors, too.)Cut red licorice into twelve 2 1/2-inch pieces and twenty-four 1/4-inch pieces. Attach as the mouth on the lower half of cupcakes. Snip a small corner from bag with frosting and pipe teeth along the lower part of mouth.Snip a large corner from resealable bag and pipe a large dot of vanilla frosting for the eye. Add M&M’s as the iris. Insert three to four pieces of black licorice laces as the lashes. Pipe the pupil with black frosting on top of the candy eye.

Bread Branch Sticks

Bread Branch Sticks

Erik Kran

Get ready to dip these bread sticks in salsa and guac alike.

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Yields: 8 servings
Total Time: 0 hours 25 mins

Ingredients

3 tbsp.

sesame seeds

2 tbsp.

poppy seeds

2 tsp.

kosher salt

1/4 tsp.

cayenne pepper (optional)

2

tubes (8 oz each) plain refrigerated bread sticks

Directions

Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat two baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. Combine sesame seeds, poppy seeds, salt, and cayenne pepper in a small bowl.Sprinkle 1 Tbsp of seed mixture onto a clean work surface. Unwrap one tube of bread-stick dough and arrange bread sticks on top of seeds. Make a 3-inch cut, lengthwise, into each strip of dough. Sprinkle tops of bread sticks with a generous tablespoon of seed mixture. Twist pieces and separate cut to look like branches. Arrange dough pieces on prepared sheet pans. Repeat with remaining dough and seeds. Bake until golden; about 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cook completely. 

Sand-witches

sand-witches

Erik Kran

Grilled cheese sand-witches filled with harm or turkey on pumperknickel and white bread are the tops when you stamp them out with a cookie cutter, then toast them up in a skillet. Yellow mustard and roasted red pepper add all the color and flavor you need. 

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Yields: 12 servings
Total Time: 0 hours 25 mins

Ingredients

12

slices white bread

12

slices pumpernickel bread

24

slices cheese, such as Cheddar, provolone, or Swiss

12

slices baked ham or turkey

6 tbsp.

butter, softened

1

roasted red pepper, cut into thin strips

Yellow mustard

2 tbsp.

vegetable oil

Parsley, for garnish

Directions

Cover two baking sheets with nonstick foil or parchment paper; set aside.Cut bread slices, cheese, and ham or turkey with a witch-hat cookie cutter, or other desired shape. Spread softened butter over one side of each slice of bread.Place a piece of buttered bread on prepared baking sheet, buttered side down. Top with 2 slices of cheese and 1 slice of meat. Top with some cheese scraps followed by another piece of buttered bread, buttered side up. Repeat layering with remaining bread, cheese, and meat.Preheat oven to 250°F. Heat 2 tsp oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium. Add as many sandwiches as will fit. Cook until bottom of bread is lightly toasted; about 1 to 2 minutes. Turn sandwiches over and cook until golden, about 1 minute longer. Transfer to baking sheet. Place in the oven to keep warm and continue with remaining sandwiches.Decorate sandwiches with a slice of red pepper or a line of mustard along the brim just before serving. Garnish platter with parsley.

Tortilla Hands and Salsa

Tortilla Hands and Salsa

Erik Kran

Shape tortillas into hands using a cookie cutter, then crisp them up into tortilla chips and pair them with salsa for an irresistible Halloween party snack.

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Yields: 24 servings
Total Time: 0 hours 35 mins

Ingredients

1

8-oz package 8-inch red pepper flour tortillas

1

8-oz package 8-inch spinach flour tortillas

2 tbsp.

vegetable oil

1

16-oz jar salsa

Directions

Preheat oven to 375°F. Have baking sheets ready.Brush tortillas on both sides with oil. Using a 3-inch hand-shaped metal cookie cutter, cut as many shapes as you can from tortillas.Arrange hands on pans in a single layer. Bake 10 minutes, then remove pans from oven and turn hands over. Switch pans from one rack to the other and bake another 5 or 10 minutes, until light golden and crisp. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.Serve hands with salsa.

Ghost Cupcakes

Ghost Cupcakes

Kamin Williams

These sweet treats are deliciously spooky (and easy to make!).

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Yields: 24 servings
Total Time: 1 hour 5 mins

Ingredients

For Cupcakes
1

16.5-oz box white cake mix

3

large eggs

1 c.

water

1/4 c.

vegetable oil

2 tsp.

pure vanilla extract

1 tbsp.

orange coloring

For Creamy Marshmallow Frosting
1

8-oz package cream cheese, softened

1 c.

confectioners’ sugar

1 tsp.

pure vanilla extract

1

7-oz container marshmallow crème

1

8-oz container frozen whipped topping, thawed

For Decorating

Confectioners’ sugar, for the surface

1/2

5-lb. box white rolled fondant

Black gel icing

Directions

Make Cupcakes
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two 12-cup muffin pans with paper liners; set aside.In a large bowl, beat cake mix, eggs, water, oil, and vanilla extract with an electric mixer on medium speed for 1 minute. Increase mixer speed to high and beat for 2 minutes. Add food coloring; mix well. Evenly divide batter among muffin cups.Bake until a wooden pick inserted near the center comes out clean, about 18 to 22 minutes. Remove from oven and cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove to wire rack to cool completely.Place Creamy Marshmallow Frosting in a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip. Pipe frosting onto cupcakes. Garnish with fondant ghost. Store covered in refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Make Creamy Marshmallow Frosting
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add confectioners’ sugar and vanilla and beat until combined. Add marshmallow crème and beat until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add whipped topping and beat until combined. Use immediately or store covered in refrigerator for up to 3 days. If refrigerated, allow to come to room temperature for 30 minutes and beat with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy.

Make Fondant Ghosts
Lightly dust a work surface with confectioners’ sugar. Roll out fondant to 1/8-inch thickness.Using a 2-inch round cutter, cut rounds from fondant.Roll out fondant circles smoothly into oval shapes.Using your index finger, mold oval over finger, creating a ghost form.Using your fingers, shred or tear the ends of the ghost. Set on parchment paper to dry, at least 4 hours.Pipe eyes with black gel icing; allow 30 minutes to dry.