Make these spooky treats for your Halloween party – Orange County Register

Move, Jack-O’! Halloween was way more fun than just carving pumpkins. Preparing holiday-themed treats has become a big part of the fun. These are not intended to offer trick or treating, but to bring joy at Halloween-themed gatherings.

Poltergeist or phantom, ghost or ghoul. Call these imaginary appearances whatever you like. None of them scared me. The easy-to-make pretzel stick and white chocolate ghosts are designed for kids to prep and devour. Delicious giggles.

The pumpkin-filled whoopie pies and French-style chocolate bouchons decked out for Halloween have a more grown-up vibe, but I can assure you my kids would have devoured them.

Pretzel stick and white chocolate ghosts

I loved making these humorous ghosts with my granddaughter. Melted white couverture, often referred to as “melt waffles,” form the spooks on thick pretzel sticks. I’m sure there are other sources for pretzel sticks, but I ordered them online. The black writing gel, white melting wafers, and candy eyeballs were purchased from the cake decorating aisle at my local supermarket.

Yield: 12 to 15


10 ounces white chocolate melted wafers (“Chocolate Coating”)

About 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil, if needed

12 to 15 pretzel sticks

To decorate: 1.67 ounce tube of black writing gel, candy “eyes” or mini chocolate chips


1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a heatproof measuring cup with a handle or small heatproof bowl, melt melted white chocolate wafers in the microwave, stirring vigorously after 1 minute. If it isn’t completely melted, microwave in 30-second intervals until melted while stirring (the goal here is to get it just hot enough to melt). The mixture should have a dipping consistency, like a thin batter. If it needs to be thinned, stir in coconut oil.

2. Dip half of each pretzel stick in melted white chocolate wafers, coat half of each stick – leaving half of the coating empty, allow the “chocolate” to drip back into the container before placing on parchment to set.

3. Decorate “ghosts” with eyes and mouths. Writing gel can be used to anchor candy eyes or mini chocolate chips, or it can be used to create eyes and mouths.

Bouchons, cork-shaped chocolate munchies, are given a Halloween theme with candy corn or orange and black sprinkles. (Photo by Cathy Thomas)
Bouchons, cork-shaped chocolate munchies, are given a Halloween theme with candy corn or orange and black sprinkles. (Photo by Cathy Thomas)

Halloween themed chocolate bouchons

In France, a bouchon is a cork, but it can also be a cork-shaped chocolate nibble. Rich in chocolate flavor, they’re something like brownies but lighter in texture. If you don’t want to invest in a silicone bouchon tin, you can bake them in a mini muffin tin using butter and flour. Traditionally, they are simply dusted with powdered sugar. I gave them a Halloween theme by topping them with some chocolate ganache and finishing with either Halloween candy corn or orange and black sprinkles.

Yield: Varies depending on the shape used, around 10 to 16


Bouchon tin shaped like a silicone cork or mini muffin tin (butter and flour required if using a muffin tin)

1/3 cup cake flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt if using unsalted butter

2 tablespoons hot coffee or espresso

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa

1 tablespoon dark rum

4 ounces (just under 3/4 cup) chopped bittersweet chocolate

6 tablespoons butter, cut into 6 pieces

1 large egg

3 tablespoons light brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 5/8 ounces (1/3 cup) finely chopped bittersweet chocolate

Chocolate Ganache Frosting: 1 cup heavy whipping cream, 8 ounces (1 1/4 cups) semi-sweet mini chocolate chips

Garnish: Halloween candies like candy corn and orange sprinkles

Optional for serving: Ice


1. Set the oven rack to the middle position. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. If using a metal mold, butter and flour it. If using a silicone mold, place it on a baking sheet. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt, if using. Put aside.

2. In a small bowl, pour hot coffee over the cocoa powder and stir to dissolve. Add rum and stir to combine. Put aside.

3. In a double boiler, melt 4 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate and butter; stir to combine and remove from heat. In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, beat the egg until combined. Add sugar and beat until combined. Add coffee mixture and butter-chocolate mixture. Beat until well combined and smooth.

4. Fold in the flour mixture. Fold in 1 5/8 ounces finely chopped chocolate. Place in a bouchon pan or mini muffin pan and fill 2/3 full (I use a very small ice cream scoop to scoop the batter into the pans). Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until set (like a brownie) and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out moist but mostly clean (there may be some melted chocolate from the chopped chocolate added to the batter). Baking times will vary depending on the size of the pan. Transfer to the refrigerated section

5. After 3 minutes turn the molds over and let the bouchons cool in the molds. Meanwhile, prepare the chocolate ganache frosting. Place chocolate in a medium-heatproof bowl. In a large saucepan, bring the cream to a boil (lots of little bubbles dancing around the rim, and a bubble or two just beginning to appear in the center). Pour the hot cream over the chocolate, cover and leave to rest for 5 minutes. Whisk to combine and melt chocolate. Cover and refrigerate for 45 to 60 minutes. Meanwhile, remove the cooled bouchons from the molds. Using a spoon or syringe (piping bag with a large star nozzle), pour a small amount of ganache onto the bouchons. It’s easiest to spoon it up when it’s not fully set, after about 45 minutes of refrigeration. Top with Halloween decorations like sprinkles or candy corn. Serve with ice if you like.

Source: Adapted from Gateau: The Surprising Simplicity of French Cakes by Aleksandra Crapanzano (Scribner, $30)

Whoopie pies with pumpkin sticks showcase flavors associated with fall. (Photo by Curt Norris)
Whoopie pies with pumpkin sticks showcase flavors associated with fall. (Photo by Curt Norris)

Blackmarket Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Cream Cheese Filling

Rachel Klemek, executive pastry chef and owner of Blackmarket Bakery in Costa Mesa and San Diego, loves the whims of whoopie pies. Her whoopie pies with pumpkin sticks showcase flavors associated with fall; A rainbow of autumnal spices and a small dose of molasses awaken memories of sweet treats around Halloween on the palate.

The cakes have an irresistible cream cheese filling. Don’t chintz on the creamy filling; it is added generously, piping out of a plastic pastry bag to form a thick spiral. end of the introduction

Yield: About 10


2 1/2 cups pastry flour or all-purpose flour

3 tbsp ground cinnamon

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon of ginger

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

8 ounces butter (2 sticks), room temperature

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon molasses

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 large eggs (preferably if the eggs are not too cold)

1 cup canned pumpkin puree

3 1/2 ounces buttermilk


12 ounces cream cheese (not whipped or reduced fat), softened to room temperature

4 ounces unsalted butter (1 stick), softened

3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon or more to taste

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. Set the grate to the middle position and preheat to 350 degrees. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt. Put aside.

2. In large bowl of electric mixer (with paddle attachment), beat butter, sugar and molasses until combined and fluffy, thick and pale, about 3 minutes. Add vanilla and mix until just combined. Beat in eggs one at a time. Beat until light and fluffy. Add pumpkin and mix just until combined.

3. Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix on low speed until barely combined. Stop the mixer and pour in half of the buttermilk. Mix again just enough to blend. Stop the mixer and add another 1/3 of the dry mix; mix until barely combined. Add remaining buttermilk; mix until just combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. Add remaining dry ingredients; mix until just combined. Remove the bowl from the machine and gently fold it with a silicone spatula. Make sure the bottom of the bowl is included and the mixture is homogeneous. Scoop batter into mounds on prepared sheets (easiest, use a 1/4 cup ice cream scoop). Bake immediately, about 10 to 14 minutes, or until the skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool down completely.

4. Meanwhile, prepare the filling: In a large bowl of electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese thoroughly, scraping bowl as needed until smooth. Add softened butter and mix on low speed, occasionally scraping bowl as needed, until combined. Add sugar, cinnamon and vanilla and mix on low speed until combined.

5. Place a generous amount of cream cheese filling on half of the whoopies (or use a small scoop) – on the flat side – and place two together. Best served the same day.

Source: Rachel Klemek, executive pastry chef and owner of Blackmarket Bakery in Costa Mesa and San Diego

Question about cooking? Contact Cathy Thomas at Make these spooky treats for your Halloween party – Orange County Register

Adam Bradshaw

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