Happy Halloween! Yesterday I shared my creepy cupcakes and today I have two more Halloween-related treats to share. The first treat came about when I set out to find a way to use up some of my Pumpkin Spice Hershey’s Kisses. Have you seen the Pumpkin Spice Kisses? I’d not seen them before this year but picked up a bag at Target a few weeks ago. They were ok but a bit too sweet for me to eat more than few. They reminded me of white chocolate in a way. Anyway, I had quite a few left and after asking my Twitter friends for ideas to bake with them, I finally settled on using them in cookies the way you typically see the regular chocolate Hershey’s Kisses in peanut butter cookies around the holidays. Instead of using peanut butter cookies I went with a recipe for double ginger snaps from Williams-Sonoma. I started baking the cookies fairly late and though I was halving the recipe, I forgot to halve the egg. I suspect the extra half-egg in the batter played a role in how much my cookies spread. They didn’t look anything like the photo on the Williams-Sonoma site, but in the end they tasted great so I didn’t care too much! The cookies were soft, chewy and spicy! Shane took them to work and they all disappeared which is always a good sign.
adapted from Williams-Sonoma
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup canola oil
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup dark molasses
1 whole egg, lightly beaten, plus 1 egg white
1/2 cup coarse sugar crystals
Preheat oven to 325 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Over a sheet of waxed paper, sift together the flour, ground ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, using a wooden spoon, stir together the oil, brown sugar and molasses until well blended. Add the whole egg and stir until blended. Stir in the flour mixture.
In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg white. Spread the sugar crystals in a shallow bowl.
With dampened hands, shape the dough into 1-inch balls. Brush each ball lightly with egg white and roll in the sugar to coat lightly. Place the cookies about 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets.
Bake until the tops of the cookies are set and crackled, 15 to 18 minutes. Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks and let cool for 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to the racks to cool completely. The cookies will firm as they cool.
Makes about 4 dozen cookies.
The second treats are brownies baked in little ghost pans! The ghost pans are Reynolds Fun Shapes baking tins. I’d picked them up last year and forgotten to use them so I was sure to break them out this year. I really enjoyed using them! The pans don’t have to be greased and the brownies popped right out once baked. These brownies went to work with Shane so I just left them in the tins, which made it easy for folks to grab one.
The brownie recipe comes from Alice Medrich’s book, Bittersweet, which I borrowed from the library recently. There are a TON of yummy chocolate recipes in this book, including several for brownies, so I might be adding it to my Christmas list. I’m not a fan of fudgy brownies so I chose a recipe that promised cake-like brownies. The recipe was quick and easy – like a lot of brownie recipes it didn’t require a mixer at all. Once they were baked, I used some leftover cream cheese frosting to add eyes and mouths to the ghost brownies for fun The brownies were definitely cake-like – fairly light and decidedly not dense. They were a bit hit with Shane’s coworkers!
Cakier Classic Unsweetened-Chocolate Brownies
from Bittersweet: Recipes and Tales From a Life in Chocolate, by Alice Medrich
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cold large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup walnut or pecan pieces (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides.
Put the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Stir frequently until the chocolate and butter are melted and the mixture is smooth and hot enough you want to remove your finger quickly if you dip it in to test.
Remove the bowl from the pot. Add the sugar, vanilla and salt and stir with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs one at time, incorporating each fully before adding the next. Add the flour and beat the mixture with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until the batter is smooth, glossy, and beginning to come away from the sides of the bowl, 1 to 2 minutes. If using the nuts, stir them in. Transfer the batter to the prepared baking pan and smooth the top to even.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with some thick, gooey batter clinging to it. Cool on a rack.