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Fun Recipes For Halloween By Elizabeth Black

3 Bad Moon Rising small My favorite time of year is the fall. Halloween is my favorite holiday. I like it even more than Christmas.

Fall is also the time for baking. While I make the usual fall goodies like pumpkin bread, banana nut bread, and various types of pies, I like the fun foods for Halloween. The first two recipes here are fun foods ideal for the scariest night of the year. The second two are more traditional fall treats. Enjoy!

BROKEN GLASS CUPCAKES

13 Owl Flying extraIngredients:

1 Can white frosting

1 Box Red Velvet Cake Mix

Sugar Glass:

2 cups water

1 cup light corn syrup

3 1/2 cups white sugar

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Edible Blood:

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/4 cup water, or more as needed

15 drops red food coloring

3 drops blue food coloring

Directions:

1- Prepare Red Velvet Cake Mix According to box, line cupcake tins with paper cupcake liners.

2- Divide cake batter between lined cupcake tins.

3- Bake according to box instructions. Let cool and frost cupcakes with white frosting.

4- Make the sugar glass. Mix 2 cups water, 1 cup corn syrup, white sugar, and cream of tartar in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Use a candy thermometer and boil sugar syrup until temperature reaches 300 degrees (hard ball), stirring constantly. The mixture will thicken as water evaporates. When sugar reaches 300 degrees, quickly pour onto a metal baking pan. Cool until completely hardened. Break into “shards” using a meat mallet.

5- Make the edible blood. Mix together 1/2 cup corn syrup and cornstarch in a large bowl. Slowly stir in the 1/4 cup of water, adding more if necessary, until the corn syrup mixture has thickened to the consistency of blood. Stir in the red and blue food coloring.

6- Stab each frosted cupcake with a few shards of broken sugar glass. Drizzle on drops of “blood” to complete the effect.

UNICORN POOP COOKIES

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrq8v9ijPs4&feature=youtu.be

Ingredients:

1 C. sugar

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup shortening

50 gram cream cheese, softened

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 whole egg

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

2 cup all purpose flour

Preparation Method:

1- Combine butter, shortening and cream cheese in a large bowl, beat together until smooth. Add sugar and salt. Beat until combined. Beat in egg and almond extract until combined and gradually add the flour beating until combined.

2- Form dough into a ball with your hands and then into a log shape, divide the log shape into six portions (or how ever many colours you want).

3- Place each portion of dough into individual bowls and tint the dough different colours.

4- Chill tinted dough in the refrigerator 1 hour or freezer 15-20 minutes.

5- Divide each tinted chilled dough ball into 8 equal pieces.

6- Take one piece of each colour dough ( leaving the rest in the fridge while you work) and roll out like a rope or snake on your counter-top. If you use a piece of waxed paper on the counter, you shouldn’t have to add any flour.

7. Roll the rope shape to about 6 inches long. Continue rolling all the colours and stacking them into a pile. Gently press the ropes together and roll the large multicoloured “rope” on the counter to round and smooth it and if desired to lengthen it to 10 to 12″.

8- Cut the multicoloured “rope” into two pieces, using both hands, roll with your palms in different directions on both end of the rope pieces to twist it gently.

9- Coil the rope into a poop shape, using your imagination as to what you think unicorn poop should look like

10- Press in some silver candy balls (dragee) into the dough pieces to decorate if desired. Place dough on greased cookie sheet (or one covered with parchment or silicone mat) and bake at 375F for 8-10 minutes until cookies are set and bottoms are light brown, they will not spread very much.

11- Cool on wire rack.

12- Coat with sparkle gel and/or disco dust to give them some sparkle and add some sprinkles to the still wet gel for more texture. Let cookies dry completely before stacking.

CARAMEL CORN

5 Gifts in the Dark smallIngredients:

1 1/2 cup Brown Sugar

1/2 cup Butter

1/4 cup Corn Syrup

1/4 cup Molasses

1/2 teaspoon Salt

1 teaspoon Maple Syrup

1/3 teaspoon Cream of Tartar

1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda

4 Quarts Popped Corn

1 1/2 cup Mixed Nuts or Spanish Peanuts

Directions:

1- In saucepan, combine brown sugar, butter, molasses, corn syrup, and salt.

2- Boil for 6 minutes, stirring constantly.

3- Add flavorings, cream of tartar, and baking soda.

4- Stir in nuts and cover the nuts completely with the mixture.

5- Stir in popcorn a bit at a time and coat completely.

6- Make sure to mix the nuts well with the popcorn.

7- Bake in 200 degree oven for one hour.

Hint:  Don’t eat it all at once!

MAPLE CANDY

The directions for making maple candy reminds me very much of making English toffee. It’s all in the chemistry.

Ingredients:

2 Cups Fancy-grade Maple Syrup

Directions:

1- In a heavy-bottomed 4-quart pot, boil maple syrup on medium-high heat to 235 degrees F, stirring the surface occasionally to keep it from boiling over.

2- Immediately remove the pot from the heat, leaving the thermometer clipped to the side, and place the pot on a wooden board to cool. (Do not touch the syrup while it is cooling, or large crystals will form.)

3- Cool the mixture to 175 degrees F, approximately 10 minutes.

4- Beat the mixture rapidly and continuously with a wooden spoon until the syrup becomes lighter in color, thick and creamy and begins to lose its gloss (about 4 to 5 minutes).

5- Pour into rubber maple-sugar molds or a buttered pan. If using a pan, score into squares immediately). Set aside to cool.

6- When the candies are cool, turn the molds upside down and remove.

7- Candies will store up to 1 month in a container in a cool, dry space. Makes 18 to 20 one ounce maple leaves.

Hint: The outside temperature dramatically affects the degree to which you boil maple syrup. 235 degrees is considered the “soft ball stage.” To obtain the “soft ball stage”, maple syrup is boiled 22 degrees past the boiling point of water. You will find that water will reach the boiling point at anywhere from 209 degrees to 217 degrees depending on the outside temperature and humidity.

Here’s where to find Elizabeth Black (EA Black) on the web. Friend me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, and check out my books! I’ve included my Amazon author pages for both of my pen names, so whether you’re into sexy or spooky, I have stories for you!”

Elizabeth Black – Blog and Web Site: http://elizabethablack.blogspot.com/

Elizabeth Black – Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/elizabethablack

Elizabeth Black – Twitter: http://twitter.com/ElizabethABlack

Elizabeth Black – Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/elizabethblack

E. A. Black – Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/~/e/B00BBWHMFM

(Note: Elizabeth Black’s blog contains adult content.)

The Wicked, Weird and Whimsical Words Halloween Blog Tour runs every other day October 23-October 31. Join us all five days for Halloween fun! Be sure to say hello on any post to be entered in a giveaway at the end of the tour!

Thanks to Elizabeth Black for her guest post. (I can’t wait to try out a couple of the recipes). Be sure and visit the other blog sites for fun Halloween-themed posts (including my guest posts). Coming up on Whimsical Words between now and All Hallow’s Eve: speculative authors Trisha Wooldridge and Gail Z. Martin. Missed some of these fabulous guest posts? Check out the Wicked, Weird and Whimsical Words Halloween Blog Tour for links.

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Readers and Writers Recipes: Brookies

099 These brownie-cookie creations using brownie mix and chocolate chip cookie mix are quick and easy to fix. A hit with kids and grown-ups alike, you’ll always want to keep the ingredients around for a hot-from-the-oven treat for guests. Like my last recipe Chocolate Waffles, Brookies work well for a book club or readers’ group get-together, family party, or any other fun gathering.

Brookies

Ingredients:

1 package Brownie Mix for 9” x 12” pan

   Ingredients to make Brownie Mix

   (usually eggs, vegetable oil, and water)

1 package Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix that makes 36 cookies

   Ingredients to make Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix

   (usually eggs and margarine)

Directions:

1- Preheat oven to 350º F. Spray 30 cupcake tin cups VERY WELL with a vegetable spray like Pam or grease-well.

2- Make Brownies according to directions on package in a bowl.

3- In another bowl, make Chocolate Chip Cookies according to directions on package.

4- Divide the Brownie batter evenly between the 30 cupcake tin cups.

5- Put a scoop of Chocolate Chip Cookie batter in the center of each Brownie-filled cupcake tin cup, making sure to use all the cookie batter.

6- Bake for 12-17 minutes (depends on your oven & mixes used). Watch the Brookies. They’re done when the cookie batter in the center is lightly browned.

7- Remove cupcake tins from oven. Cool briefly. Remove Brookies from tins with a clean knife.

8- Serve warm or cold, with or without ice cream. Keep leftover Brookies in an air-tight container. Brookies also freeze well.

Notes:

1- Again, make sure your cupcake tin cups are well-oiled, well-greased, or well-sprayed with a vegetable cooking spray (like Pam). Brookies will stick to the pan if you don’t.

2- When finished baking, only cool Brookies slightly, then remove from muffin tin cups. The only down-side to Brookies is that they’re a little challenging to remove from the muffin tin in perfect condition. Of course, imperfect Brookies will still taste fabulous!

Appearing Monday on Whimsical Words: a guest post from author, Alesha Escobar.

 

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Jaleta's CC Oatmeal Cookies The recipe for these delicious cookies comes from science fiction writer, Jaleta Clegg. These cookies are perfect for a book club or readers’ group get-together or for the kids when they get home from school. Like last week’s Oven Baked Chicken Bruschetta, Jaleta’s Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies get great reviews. And now, a few words from Jaleta and the recipe:

Have you ever put cooking scenes in your stories? I can’t stop myself. I love cooking and I don’t see that changing for people in the far future, when my stories tend to happen. Picture it: a starship flying through the cosmos, the crew gathered in the galley cooking dinner. I have a thing for RVs. I guess it shows in my books. Right now I’m channeling the Winnebago scenes from Space Balls and the kitchen scenes from Firefly.

I’ve got a main character that loves to cook. It’s her way to destress and connect. She loves playing with new spices and ingredients. Jasyn understands the role food plays in society. It not only nourishes our bodies but our souls.

I can picture Jasyn making a batch of these wonderful cookies in her tiny kitchen on her ship. I can also picture the other crew members – Dace and Clark – devouring them, just like my kids in my kitchen.

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

3/4 c. butter

1 c. brown sugar

1/2 c. white sugar

2 eggs

1/2 t. salt

2 t. baking soda

1 t. vanilla

1 c. whole wheat flour

1/2 c. white flour

2 1/2 c. quick cooking oatmeal

2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 c. dried cranberries (optional)

Cream butter and sugars together. Add eggs, salt, baking soda, and vanilla. Beat until very light and fluffy. Add flour, oatmeal, and chocolate chips. Stir until well mixed. Set aside while the oven preheats. Or cover and refrigerate for several hours. (Letting the dough rest allows the oats to absorb moisture and makes the cookies softer.)

Heat oven to 375°F. Spray cookie sheets with non-stick spray. Scoop cookie dough in one inch balls onto sheets. Bake for 9 minutes. Let cool for a couple of minutes before removing from the sheets. Makes 5 – 6 dozen cookies.”

biosmall Jaleta Clegg loves writing what she knows – science fiction and cooking with the occasional bit of silly horror thrown in for laughs. She loves concocting dishes with bizarre names such as Chilled Monkey Brains, Radioactive Dog Spit, and Snake Surprise. New spices and strange vegetables are common on her table. Her children have learned to taste before complaining. You never know what you might enjoy until you try it. Find recipes on her blog every Thursday: http://jaletaclegg.blogspot.com and links to her writings at http://www.jaletac.com

Thanks again to Jaleta Clegg for sharing her recipe. Appearing Monday on Whimsical Words: a guest post from speculative writer, Jennifer Allis Provost.

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Before I get to the recipe, here’s the link to a Book Giveaway that’s expiring in a few hours. Please make a comment and maybe win a copy of Beth Barany’s book!

These easy-to-make, melt-in-your-mouth sugar cookies vanish quickly from the cookie jar every season of year. The recipe makes a large batch, so cutting it in half is a possibility for those less enthusiastic about crispy, crunchy, sugary treats! Like last week’s Baked Caramel Popcorn, Drop Sugar Cookies work well for a book club or readers’ group get-together, kids’ party, or any other fun gathering.

Drop Sugar Cookies

Step #1: Make cookies.

Cookie Ingredients:

1 cup softened margarine (or butter, if you prefer)

1 cup powdered confectioner’s sugar

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 cup vegetable oil (I use canola)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

4-1/4 cups flour

Directions:

1-Cream margarine and sugars together in a large mixing bowl.

2-Beat in eggs.

3-Add oil, vanilla, and lemon juice. Mix well.

4-Combine cream of tartar, baking soda, salt, and flour in another bowl. Then, add the dry ingredients to the liquidy dough. Mix well until cookie dough forms.

5-Cover with plastic wrap and chill several hours (or over-night).

Step #2: Make & Bake the cookies:

1-Preheat oven to 325°F and spray cookie sheets with vegetable cooking spray (like Pam).

2-Place about 1/2 cup of sugar in a shallow bowl. Find a flat-bottomed glass, and place beside the bowl with the sugar. (Add more sugar to the bowl as needed).

2-Roll dough into walnut-sized balls and place on a cookie sheet allowing a couple of inches between dough balls.

3-Flatten the dough balls with the flat-bottomed glass. Here’s how: Dip the glass’s bottom in sugar, then press a dough ball flat. Re-dip the glass’s bottom in the sugar, then flatten another dough ball. You’ll probably need to re-dip after each cookie.

4-Once cookies are flattened, sprinkle lightly (remember you’ve already added a bit of sugar when flattening the cookies) with colored sugar or sprinkles.

5-Bake in oven (about 8 minutes, but it depends on how thick you’ve made your cookies) until cookies are lightly browned at the edges.

6-Using a pancake-flipper, remove cookies immediately from cookie sheet to a cooling rack.

7-Repeat steps 1 through 6 until dough is gone.

8-Serve when cooled or store in an air-tight container until ready to eat. Enjoy!

Notes:

1-You’ll get a “rhythm” going when making these cookies, so after the 1st sheet, the flattening process will go quickly.

2-I put the cookie dough back in the refrigerator between batches to keep it firm and easy to handle.

3-A trick I use to cool my cookies and not have to deal with cookie racks: Place a layer of heavy brown paper (the kind you wrap packages with) on the counter. Place cooked cookies, hot from the oven, on the brown paper rather than on racks. The paper absorbs any extra vegetable spray or other grease. Plus, when you’re done, just fold the paper up and toss it away – crumbs and all!

4-These cookies freeze well. Once cooled, they can be put in a tightly-sealed container and stored in the freezer for several months.

5-By the way, I press the dough balls out so my cookies are thin, and therefore extra crisp. I have to watch the baking cookies carefully so they don’t burn. If you make your cookies thicker, and therefore softer, they burn less quickly. But still keep a close eye on your Drop Sugar Cookies.

Appearing Monday on Whimsical Words: a guest post from speculative writer Phoebe Wray, author of the mystery-thriller, In Adam’s Fall..

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November is officially here – which means it’s NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).

This year, I’m going to see how many words I can complete on a YA novel I’ve been planning for some time. In addition to keeping you up to date on the progress of YA Urban Fantasy, as the novel will be known until I’m certain of a title, I’ll be blogging about other tidbits in this writer’s life.

Firstly, I needed to take a few deep breaths, relax, and get in the novel-writing mood. To read more about what I find stressful in my writing life and how I deal with that stress, check out my guest blog at Amber Polo’s Relaxing the Writerhttp://tinyurl.com/relaxing-interview  And I’ll give you a hint – the recent pre- Halloween snow hasn’t helped with my outside gardening time!

Once I was a little more relaxed, it was time to put fingers to keyboard, and begin to write my YA Urban Fantasy. My report on Day 1’s results: I managed to get 2,000 words down in reasonably good shape. It’s a long way from my goal of 60,000 or more words – but it’s a start!

Secondly, and this has nothing to do with writing, but it sure was fun & relaxing – I baked a double batch of chocolate chip cookies in preparation for hosting a pre-Thanksgiving family gathering at Woods’ Edge.  Of course, some cookies were consumed, but a plastic container of the treats were popped into the freezer. Now, if only I can ignore them for 3 weeks!

And lastly, I submitted a poem to a “ship” themed issue of an online magazine. We’ll see if the editor likes Penelope well-enough to publish the poem.

So wish me luck – and I send good wishes out into the ether for all those other brave writers who’ve decided to write a novel this November.

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An interesting quote popped up on Facebook today from my good friend, Michelle:  “You Don’t Have to Be Pretty. You don’t owe prettiness to anyone. Not to your boyfriend/spouse/partner, not to your co-workers, especially not to random men on the street. You don’t owe it to your mother, you don’t owe it to your children, you don’t owe it to civilization in general. Prettiness is not the rent you pay for occupying a space marked ‘female.'” -Erin (dressaday.com)

I think those of us who are writers & illustrators need to remind ourselves that our female characters need not all be slender, with flowing blond locks, a perfect complexion, and beautiful blue eyes. Real women (and men) come in all sizes, colors, and ethnic groups. I believe we need to celebrate the differences in physical appearance in our charcters as we do their varied mental capabilities, personalities, and talents. Let’s set the tone for our readers, and value each of our characters for their uniqueness.

When I taught Poetry for the Maryland State Arts Council, I discouraged the use of the word, “pretty.” I told the students to be more specific. To give a sensory description that showed what they thought was special about the person, place, or thing they thought was “pretty.” And so, I’d get things like: “she had hair softer than my collie’s coat,” “she smelled better than cookies in the oven,” “her eyes were brighter than a flashlight,” or one of my favorites, “her voice sounded like raindrops in puddles.”

And what reader wouldn’t be more interested in reading about a woman whose hair was softer than a collie’s coat, had eyes brighter than a flashlight, smelled better than cookies in the oven, and had a voice that sounded like raindrops in puddles – than one that was “pretty?”

So writers, illustrators, and readers – Forget exterior “pretty,” and join me in celebrating those females who are beautiful in thoughts, words, and deeds.

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vwc-b-cvr[1] My ghostly holiday eShort, Bells incorporates some of the Christmas traditions of my extended family. Gatherings of friends and family to share in a holiday meal is a tradition that I’ll be celebrating several times again this year. There are always too many of us to sit around one table, so we spread out across the house sitting where ever we can locate a chair or stool or nook by the window. We share memories, the latest news, dreams for the future, love, laughter, and sometimes, tears.

 When I was young, my father, Nathan Winslow,  meticulously put up a HO gauge train garden. He even got my grandfather, an accomplished oil painter, to realistically paint plaster mountains. His was a train garden of exactness and beauty. My husband’s family also put up a train garden. The George Crist family Christmas train garden was so exciting for my husband and his brothers when they were boys, that they’d ignore the gifts and rush for the trains.

My husband, Ernie, and I continued the train garden tradition. On Christmas morning, our kids would run to see the trains. When they became older, they’d help their dad throughout December fix up the train garden for their younger cousins to see when they came to visit. Last Christmas, Ernie and I were lucky enough to have our grandson with us at Christmastime. And little Nathaniel was inspired to crawl his first few feet trying to grab a miniature train that circled around under the Christmas tree.

Sleigh bells on door knobs, watermelon pickles, patched-together trees, and carols playing in the background are other traditions mentioned in Bells we continue in my family. Another Christmas tradition is baking cookies. I baked them with Granny and Mom. My kids baked them with me, and maybe my grandson will sprinkle some colored sugar on my cut-out cookies. (For ”Granny’s Sugar Cookies” recipe, see end of blog).

 I encourage each of you to celebrate the holidays with those you care about. Make good memories and establish family traditions, remembering you’re born into a one kind of family — but you can also build a family of dear friends. And especially at this time of year, treat others with a little more kindness and love. For as Aesop so wisely wrote in his tale of “The Lion & The Mouse” — No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.  Update: Bells can now be read in Owl Light, one of my books from Cold Moon Press.

Granny’s Sugar Cookies:

1) In a large bowl, cream together: 1/2 cup margarine and 1 cup granulated sugar. 2) Blend in: 1 large egg. 3) In a separate bowl, sift together: 2 cups flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract. 4) Next, add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and blend well. 5) Chill for 1 to 2 hours.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Dust a pastry cloth with flour and roll dough out to 1/8″ thickness with a lightly floured rolling pin. Cut out holiday shapes with cookie cutters. Put cut-out shapes on a cookie sheet that’s been coated with a vegetable shortening spray (allowing room between cookies). Decorate with colored sugar. Bake in oven for 5 to 8 minutes. Remove cookies from oven when edges are lightly browned and using a spatula, scoop the cookies onto a rack to cool. Watch Granny’s Sugar Cookies carefully during baking, as they burn easily.

I usually double this recipe. Granny’s Sugar Cookies are a family favorite and disappear quickly! They also freeze well in sealed containers.

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