We don’t traditionally celebrate Halloween in India. When the US is all busy with fall decorations and preparations, we’re looking forward to celebrating Diwali. However, Halloween seems to have arrived in certain quarters in India with a vengeance, and throwing a themed party apparently is the thing to do in certain circles. Many restaurants, pubs and clubs too, especially in the bigger/ metro cities of India have jumped onto the wagon throwing open their doors with “Halloween specials” with food and drinks menu to cater to the mood.
It was only when I started blogging that I realized just how big an occasion Halloween was in the US. A few weeks to Halloween and every other American food blog and food site is all about the colours of fall and themed food and decor. for the season. There’s no way to escape it all, and while I cannot understand the rationale behind gory, bloody and almost nausea inducing visuals that some people seem to embrace with food for Halloween or how that could be enjoyable or fun.
A lot of fun and cute Halloween themed food is almost irresistible. When my daughter was still in school and home, I used to get into the spirit of things with her and bake Halloween themed food on demand for her to share with her friends at school, or if they came home for tea.
I never realized just how much I had thrown myself into baking for Halloween until I went through my blog archives and came across these Spider Web Cookies, Mummy Cupcakes, Owl Cupcakes Tombstone/Graveyard Cupcakes, Blood/ Red Spattered Almond-Vanilla Sugar Cookies, Hoot OwlCookies And Eggless Spider Cupcakes and a Ganache Covered Chocolate Cake WithMeringue Ghosts! Yep, that’s a lot of Halloween baking over the years for someone who doesn’t celebrate Halloween.
Now that the daughter is away at college, the amount of baking I do has come down. The fact that she’s not around also means the excitement of baking with her just isn’t there. So I wasn’t planning on baking anything remotely Halloween like.
That was until I came across these ghostly little “Boo” breads or bread ghosts on Pinterest. I’m generally game to bake bread, and something as attractive as these were just asking to be baked to my mind. While the pictures did not lead to recipes in particular, one mentioned making them out of Pizza dough. I thought plain Pizza dough would be too bland, so I decided to make them more interesting by adding some herbs and red chilli flakes to it.
You can find one of the Pizza dough recipes I use often in the recipe below, but feel free to go with your favourite recipe. Knead the dough, roll it out thin, make three holes for the eyes and the mouth and then stretch it a little to create a “ghostly” figure.
Herbed “Boo/ Ghost” Breads For Halloween
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp instant yeast
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp red chilli flakes
- 1 tsp Italian Seasoning/ Herbs de Provence (or herbs of your choice)
- You can knead the dough by hand or by machine. Put all the ingredients in a bowl/ processor bowl and add enough water to knead to a soft and elastic dough.
- Shape the dough into a round and put the dough in an oiled bowl, turning it over to coat with the oil. Cover loosely and let the dough rise till double in volume.
- Gently deflate the dough and pinch off into small balls. Roll out each ball into really thin rounds about 4" diameter. Using a sharp knife make three small slits in the dough (for two eyes and a mouth). Now gently stretch the slits open and also stretch the round a little so tit looks like a "ghostly" face.
- Place the "ghost" on a lightly greased or parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough. I would suggest making as many as will fit on your baking sheet for one batch at a time as you don't need the dough to rise again before baking it. Dock (prick well with a fork) the breads so they don't puff up in the oven.
- Bake the "ghosts" at 200C (400F) for about 10 to 15 minutes until they're golden brown and crisp. Let them cool and then store in an airtight container if not using them immediately. Serve with soup.