Some more horrid Halloween delights

By Mark Gallagher

Wow, it’s Halloween, next stop Christmas, how this year is flying by. Hope that you tried some of the Halloween recipes I shared last week, here are a few more to get you in the mood.

Barmbrack

This is a traditional Irish Halloween recipe, and most bracks contain a ring wrapped in a bit of greaseproof paper. As tradition goes, the person who gets the slice of brack that contains the ring will be the next one to marry. The things we used to do before the internet.

Ingredients

375g of dried fruit

300ml of cold tea

225g of self-raising flour

One egg, beaten

One teaspoon of mixed spice

125g of caster sugar

Honey or Golden Syrup (optional – for decoration )

Method

Soak the fruit in tea overnight, then drain. Mix together with the rest of the ingredients (apart from the honey/Golden Syrup ) and stir in the covered ring. Don’t over knead the dough, or your delicately re-hydrated fruit will break up. Line the base of a 20cm round cake tin or 900g loaf tin with greaseproof paper. Grease the tin and pile in the mixture. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 170C for about an hour until risen and firm to the touch. You can brush melted honey or golden syrup over the brack before cutting. Or glaze the brack with a syrup made from two teaspoons of sugar dissolved in three teaspoons of boiling water. Simple as that.

Scary shortbread cookies

My wife makes these cookies for the trick or treaters in our estate. It’s a basic shortbread recipe rolled out and she uses little Halloween cutters to make the shapes. You can get the cutters in most foodie shops and they are only a few euro. Then the cookies are decorated with chocolate. So easy to make and they taste fantastic.

Ingredients

12oz of plain flour

A pinch of salt

4oz of caster sugar

8oz of margarine

Method

Preheat your oven to 180C. Sieve the flour and the salt together, stir in the sugar and rub in the margarine until it comes together as a dough. Roll out the dough and cut out the cookies with your cutters. Cook on a lightly greased tray for about seven minutes and let them cool on a wire rack. Melt some chocolate and pipe on the biscuits, and Sin é.

Spiderweb chocolate Florentines

These little cookies are lovely, they do take a bit of time but the result is worth it.

Ingredients

1/2 of cup pecans, toasted

2 tablespoons of porridge oats

6 tablespoons of unsalted butter

1/4 cup of granulated sugar

1/4 cup of packed light-brown sugar

2 teaspoons of honey

1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon of coarse salt

1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

5 ounces of bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Method

Preheat the oven to 175C. Pulse together the pecans and porridge oats in a food processor until they are finely ground. Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add the sugars and honey and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the sugars are melted and mixture is simmering, it takes about three minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in pecan mixture, flour, salt, and cinnamon. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.

Mound two teaspoonfuls of dough, one on top of the other, to form each cookie and place two to three inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Flatten stacked mounds to 1.5 inches in diameter. Bake until cookies spread and are golden throughout, about 10 minutes. Let them cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough.

Place chocolate in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir until melted and remove from heat. Pour chocolate into a parchment cone or a resealable plastic bag. Snip off a tiny corner. Pipe chocolate on to each cookie in a spiral, working out from the centre. Pipe lines from outside in and back again, all the way around. Let set at room temperature or in refrigerator before serving. Here is a treat that everyone will appreciate tonight after all the trick or treating is over, go on, give it a go.

Dark chocolate martini

Mix two tablespoons each raw sugar and finely chopped dark chocolate on a plate. Combine two ounces each chocolate liqueur and vodka, one ounce chilled espresso, 1/2 teaspoon fresh orange juice and a strip of orange zest in a cocktail shaker with ice; stir well. Moisten the rim of a chilled martini glass and dip it in the sugar-chocolate mixture. Strain the cocktail into the glass and garnish with an orange wedge.

You deserve it after all that cooking, talk to you next week…

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