A darling pink bug with a lolli-pop. She came a-calling. A sweet police officer with a badge, a bucket and his grandparents. He came too. There was also a dragon, a panda, the entire cast of Star Wars and little Miss Snow White, who was just busting out of her dress thanks to her snow suit. Despite the snow, despite the cold… they all trudge on in the name of: CANDY. Trick or treating in a costume that is still recognizable despite the boots, the snow pants, the touque and the mittens is a bit of a feat. It is truly where art meets practicality. Any furry sort of suit is perfect, especially if it’s big enough for all your gear to go under it. But then, you probably can’t wear that same costume to school or you’ll be a sweaty little mess of a pink bunny come recess. So, girls bundle layers under princess dresses, elves tape ears to hats and pixies pin wings to parkas, all in the name of trick or treat.
In tribute to the ingenuity that creates both warm and identifiable costumes: a superman complete with blue long underwear, a bunny in a child’s 80s vest and a baby in a leopard suit showed up at our Halloween party… looking an awful lot like our party’s hostess and her siblings when they had struck out some 20 years before on the trick or treating circuit.
However, as our party was inside, and the name of the treat in question comes in a glass rather than a candy wrapper, that’s where the weather appropriate costumes ended and the rest came in…
Minnie waved at Gumbi… Gumbi chased the hound… The hound accompanied Sherlock…. Sherlock had his non-hair brushed with a dinglehopper by Ariel… Ariel sang to Princess Peach… Princess Peach tried to kiss Mike Holmes… Mike Holmes played pool with Ted… Ted thrusted his way into the kitchen where tequila shots were poured by Superman 2… Superman 2 tried to fly with Wonder Woman… Wonder woman stole a moment with Clark Kent… Clark Kent punched in a hello with a tipsy bumble bee… The bumble bee buzzed by the dragon-fly… The dragon-fly found Waldo… And on it goes, as these Halloween events tend to do.
Since the walls were covered in bats and the chair in cobwebs and the cauldrons were bubbling with witch fingers, I wanted my baking contribution to be appropriate. So, I conjured up Spider Web Cupcakes, Chocolate Mice and Ghost Meringues.
These are my favorite simple yellow cupcakes. I love them with chocolate ganache, but picky Princess Peach picks the frosting off and just eats the cake.
Yellow Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache and White Chocolate Spider Webs
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
8 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup greek yogurt
1 egg plus 2 yolks
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350F and place the rack in the middle position. Line muffin tins for 32 mini muffins or 12 large with paper liners.
In a large bowl whisk together all the dry ingredients. Add all wet ingredients and beat together on medium until smooth. This should take about 30 seconds. Scrape down the bowl with a spatula and stir by hand to ensure no flour pockets remain.
Divide batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups. Bake for 18-20 minutes for mini cupcakes and 20-24 for large cupcakes. When a toothpick inserted into the centre of one comes out clean, they are ready. Transfer each cupcake from the tin to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting with ganache.
1 cup heavy cream
8 oz semi sweet chocolate, chopped
Place the chocolate in a heat proof bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan until just boiling. Pour the cream over the chocolate, cover and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Use a whisk and stir chocolate mixture until smooth. Place in the fridge for 45 minutes, until it is slightly firm. Use a whisk attachment to whisk until fluffy. Place in a pastry bag and pipe onto cooled cupcakes.
4 oz white chocolate, melted
Print out these helpful spiderweb templates from Country Living. Place the print out on a baking sheet and cover with parchment. Place the melted chocolate in a small Ziploc bag and cut off a very small corner. Trace the spider webs. I didn’t trace the outer ring so mine were small enough for mini cupcakes. It is a finicky job, but I made plenty of mistakes and they still came out looking like webs. Once you have all your webs, place baking sheet in the fridge to harden. Transfer to cupcakes before serving.