Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Don’t Get Tricked – Give Tasty Halloween Treats

Don’t Get Tricked – Give Tasty Halloween Treats

Christy Rost shows you how to make Halloween treats for parties and trick-or-treaters in her book "The Family Table."

Dulles, VA (PRWEB) September 29, 2004

Halloween is a favorite holiday for those with a sweet tooth. The holiday provides the perfect opportunity to try creating your own sweet treats to appease the nefarious tricks of neighborhood ghosts, goblins, and monsters. “Traditional foods, which vary from culture to culture and family to family, play an important role in celebrating holidays,” says chef Christy Rost, the author of "The Family Table: Where Great Food, Friends, and Family Gather Together" (Capital Books, 2003).

In "The Family Table," Christy offers recipes for treats good enough to turn any would-be trickster into your best friend.

Gourmet Caramel Apples

“These awesome caramel apples are drizzled with a heavy coating of white and dark chocolate, then sprinkled with chopped nuts. Placed on a small plate and wrapped in clear cellophane with a large bow, they are an impressive Halloween gift for friends.”

Ingredients:

6 large Red Delicious apples

6 wooden craft sticks

1 14-ounce bag caramels

2 tablespoons water

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup white chocolate chips

½ cup chopped nuts, such as almonds, walnuts, or pistachios

Bring apples to room temperature; was and dry them and remove the stems. Insert wooden craft sticks into the stem-end of the apples and set aside. Cover a tray with parchment or wax paper and spray it lightly with nonstick vegetable spray.

Combine caramels and water in a small nonstick saucepan. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the caramels melt and mixture is smooth. Remove the saucepan from the heat and place it on a heatproof surface.

Dip an apple into the caramel mixture, spooning the caramel over the sides until the apple is completely covered. Allow any excess caramel to drip into saucepan. Place the apple on the prepared tray and chill to set. Repeat with the remaining apples. Chill them 1 hour or until the caramel hardens.

Microwave semisweet and white chocolate in separate bowls at 50 percent power, or place the chips in separate double boilers over hot, not boiling, water; stir to melt. Drizzle dark chocolate over the apples. When that has set, drizzle white chocolate over the dark to form a lacy pattern. Dip the bottom of the apples in chopped nuts and return them to the refrigerator until the chocolate has set.

Recipe makes 6 apples.

Caramel Peanut Butter Popcorn Balls

“A basket of these caramel popcorn balls is an ideal treat for Halloween parties in school or church halls. Peanut butter adds a tasty, unexpected surprise to these popcorn balls, and they stay fresh several days, so you can make them ahead. Wrapped in orange or yellow cellophane and tied with narrow orange, yellow, or black ribbon, there is not a ghost of a chance you will have any left after Halloween.”

Ingredients:

12 cups popped popcorn

1 14-ounce package caramels

3 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons peanut butter

 Nonstick vegetable spray

½ teaspoon butter

1 to 2 small rolls orange or yellow cellophane

12 twist ties, to secure cellophane

15 lengths narrow orange, yellow, or black ribbon

Pop popcorn according to package directions. Pour into a large, lightly greased bowl.

Place unwrapped caramels in a medium saucepan; add water. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until caramels are almost melted. Stir in peanut butter until smooth.

Pour mixture over popcorn. Spray a large wooden spoon with nonstick vegetable spray and stir well to coat popcorn with caramel sauce. Allow popcorn to cool a bit until easy to handle.

With buttered hands, shape popcorn into balls. Place each caramel ball into a square of yellow or orange cellophane, gather up edges, and secure with a twist tie. Tie with ribbon.

Recipe makes fifteen 3-inch popcorn balls, or twelve 4-inch popcorn balls.

Meringue Ghosts

“When you need to scare up a clever treat for neighborhood trick-or-treaters or a Halloween party, these precious Meringue Ghosts are just the trick. Made with the aid of a pastry bag filled with sweetened meringue, these ghosts are fun and easy to make, and they stay fresh several days.

For parties, package ghosts in small paper sacks decorated with Halloween themes. Because ghosts may be a bit too large for the sacks, tuck them in part way and allow ghosts to peek out the top. Look for these sacks in the Halloween section of most supermarkets and party stores. Beware of making meringue ghosts on humid days, though, as the sticky results can be frightful!”

Ingredients:

3 egg whites, at room temperature

½ teaspoon cream of tartar

¾ teaspoon vanilla

1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 225 degrees.

In large bowl of an electric mixer, whip egg whites until foamy; add cream of tartar and vanilla. Whip until whites form soft peaks. Add sugar, a little at a time, and whip until whites are glossy and form stiff peaks.

Transfer meringue to a piping bag fitted with a large plain tip (Ateco #4). Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper, adding a dab of meringue to each corner of the cookie sheet to secure parchment.

Pipe 4-inch ghosts starting at the head, then arms, and body. Pipe two additional layers until ghosts are ¾-inch thick. Use mini chocolate chips to form eyes and mouths.

Bake in preheated oven 1 hour. Turn oven off and allow ghosts to dry 2 to 3 hours with oven door closed. Peel off parchment paper, cool ghosts completely on a wire rack, and store between layers of parchment paper in airtight containers.

Recipe makes 12 to 14 ghosts.

Gathering together around the table provides us with the opportunity to celebrate the most important things in life—love, family, good health, and good friends. Christy Rost is passionate about family meals. Besides flexibility, the key to successfully preserving the family meal is an arsenal of family-friendly recipes that emphasize the beauty of simple foods, fresh, wholesome ingredients, and reasonably priced wine selections. In this first cookbook by best-selling chef for Sur La Table, Christy Rost offers 250 mouth-watering recipes, well-balanced and do-able in a reasonable amount of time, and invites readers to gather everyone around the family table on a regular basis. Recipe selections range from all-American favorites to Caribbean, Chinese, French, Italian, Japanese, and Mexican cuisine. "The Family Table" is divided into four sections: Everyday Meals, Weekends, Entertaining at Home, and Holidays. Within each section, recipes are grouped by type (salads, entrees, side dishes, etc.) Also included are wine suggestions with many of the entrée recipes. “Eric’s Wine Notes,” written by a wine expert, contain three wine suggestions in order of least to most expensive.

Christy Rost’s culinary career began in early 1992 when she was asked to serve as the food editor for The Park Cities News in Dallas, Texas, a position she still holds. What followed was an outpouring of support and requests. Since then she has hosted cooking seminars with Macy’s, held cooking classes for Sur La Table, hosted her own television cooking show, “Just Like Home,” appeared on several other television cooking shows, including “At Home Live,” and launched a successful culinary career. Christy is a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals and a registered nurse. Christy takes classical voice lessons and often sings during her cooking classes. She lives with her husband and two sons in Dallas, Texas.

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