Now you know I studied biology in college and still remember some of it. No, this post is not a lesson on classification of animals. I was looking for a “catchy” title for this post which wasn’t spooky or disgusting but reflected the mood of Halloween. I’m not sure I’ve succeeded with what I wanted title-wise, but I’m going to leave it this way for want of a better alternative!
We don’t celebrate Halloween in India, and this is another tradition that I learnt of from my story books as a child. Dressing up as spooky characters, carving pumpkins, tricking or treating, bobbing for apples all seemed a bit alien yet sort of exciting in my world then. I couldn’t understand though, why one would go out of the way to celebrate something so spooky and a bit scary.
Now I’m older, I do understand what Halloween is about and that it can be a lot of fun for everyone though still a bit too spooky for my tastes, but then I never grew up with it.
This is also the season when I enjoy seeing beautifully decorated cookies, cakes and pies that appear on many food blogs I visit. However, I’m at a loss when it comes to understanding why people also serve up food that looks like blood and gore! Well, I guess everyone has their preferences and this is what some people actually like.
Spiders are not on my list of favourite things but I have been fascinated by spider cupcakes for quite some time. Then this year I came upon these cute owl cookies, and on an impulse decided to make them some right away. With Halloween around the corner, it also seemed the perfect time to try my hand at making those spider cupcakes as well. My daughter was so happy at the thought of buttercream on her cupcakes that she decided to be a part of this project and made the cupcakes for me.
These cookies are slightly crisp and buttery, delicious and absolute attention grabbers. They’re really not difficult to make and since they’re refrigerator cookies, you can make the dough, wrap it and refrigerate a few days ahead till you’re ready to bake them.
Hoot Owl Cookies.
(Adapted from Natalie Neal Whitfield’s recipe)
This recipe gave me about 2 dozen owl cookies.
Eggless Spider Cupcakes
As I mentioned, I have been wanting to make these for sometime. I decided to divide my cupcakes into 2 batches and frost/ decorate each batch differently. So I covered one batch with orange butter cream and the other with chocolate ganache and white glazing to make the webbed pattern.
My cupcakes are adapted from a vegan cupcake recipe. This one, like the original, uses oil but you will get a better texture with butter. They’re very easy to make, using a muffin like method, and my daughter had them done in no time at all.
These chocolate cupcakes are light and not very sweet which makes them just nice once topped with buttercream or chocolate ganache/ glaze.
Eggless Spider Cupcakes
(Adapted from Chow)
1 cup milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup oil (I used soyabean oil)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup dark cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
Whisk together the milk and vinegar in a bowl and leave it for about 5 to 10 minutes to curdle to something like buttermilk. Add the sugar, oil, vanilla extract and whisk everything together till foamy.
In another bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Add this to the wet ingredients and fold in until well incorporated and no flour streaks remain.
Pour the batter into paper lined cupcake/ muffin moulds or tins, till 3/4 full, and bake at 180C (350F) for about 20 minutes till done and a toothpick inserted into the cupcake comes out clean.
Cool them completely on a rack and frost/ decorate as desired.
This recipe makes 12 cupcakes.
Cover the cupcakes with orange buttercream or chocolate ganache/ glaze and decorate with chocolate spiders.
To make my webbed cupcakes I used leftover chocolate glazing/ ganache from the DB doughnut challenge. I added a little more icing sugar and some melted chocolate to the glaze and topped half of my cupcakes with this.