Sunday, October 28, 2012

Halloween Hijinx

Sophie and I spent a couple days this week making treats for her friend's Halloween party on Saturday.  I think the sudden rain (after a summer of barely recordable rainfall) wreaked havoc on my body, brain and specifically my gluten free cupcakes.  It's often difficult to bake gluten free while it's raining, so I wasn't too surprised when the first dozen wouldn't set up properly.  I made some temperature and time adjustments and the second pan came out almost perfect.  The third dozen was a completely new batter, with a little tweak, and it was perfect!  After removing the muffin tin from the oven I set a cooling rack over the top of the cupcakes, and then, just like every cake or cupcake before it, I grabbed both the rack and tin and flipped the whole mess upside down.  Or at least I attempted to.... Apparently my hands were worse than I thought, because they didn't hold onto any piece of that puzzle, and everything clattered to the floor in a spray of fresh, hot pumpkin cake.

Interestingly enough, this post isn't about baking.  It's about the decorating of the cupcakes.  You know, the easy part.  Plus, after dropping a dozen perfect cupcakes on the floor, how much worse could it get?  Okay, don't answer that.  This post is more like a warning to those like me, who are always up for trying something new, even if you know that the best idea in a particular situation would be to do what you know.  If you're a Pinterest fan, this is about good pins going bad.

The original plan was to make two kinds of cupcakes.  A chocolate cupcake decorated with chocolate frosting, Oreo cookies and Reese's Pieces (I used M and M's due to nut allergies) to look like owls.  The second cupcake was going to be pumpkin cake with a neon green buttercream swirl and an adorable witch's hat made from decorative cupcake liners.

The owls were fun and adorable.  Sophie did all the decorating herself!  After making these though, I have concluded that the original photo pinned for this treat had to have been Photoshopped.   Not ONE Oreo cookie came apart without leaving cookie specks in the fluffy stuff.

Original Pin:

Our Finished Product:

Even though our owls look like they've had a long night, they were easy, fun and most important of all, Sophie is very proud of her work.

Hoo-Hoo!  Who rocks the cupcakes?!

After the owls turned out so cute we were excited to make the witch hats that we found in this pin:

The plan was to make another batch of buttercream frosting and tint it neon green, but at the last minute I remembered a pin for marshmallow buttercream, so I decided to make that instead.  Here's the original pin.  Note that the photo looks like a classic buttercream consistency.

Unfortunately, the recipe resulted in what I would consider a sugar cookie glaze; definitely not a decorator frosting.  I really wanted the swirled look with the witch hat set on top, but the marshmallow icing was just too soft.  Adding extra powdered sugar made it too sweet, so we opted to spread it on with a spatula and then add the hat.  However, without a tall swirl to support the toothpick inside the hat, the witch hat just sunk down into the icing.  That's when I remembered another pin that I thought I could take inspiration from.

An adorable marshmallow Frankenstein!

I removed the witch's hat from the cupcake.  I stuck a new toothpick into a marshmallow and dipped it into the neon green marshmallow glaze.  Then I dipped the top of the marshmallow into black sprinkles to make "hair", and placed the marshmallow Frankenstein on the cupcake.  I stuck two mini-chocolate chips on the marshmallow for eyes.  It was awesome!  For about 30 seconds.  By then the hair had slid down considerably, and his eyes were floating in a puddle of icing atop the cupcake.  It was disastrous, but I don't give up easy, so I quickly grabbed the witch's hat and plopped it down on top of Frankie's head.  We decided to call it a melting witch.

But, within a few moments the whole thing looked like the series of mistakes it was, and we knew we couldn't pass it off as anything we would be proud of.
So.... onto plan... oh, I don't know.... C or D?  I've lost count by now, and it's going on 10 o'clock, so we've just got to do something quick!

Going with the Frankenstein theme, I knew I'd seen several versions in krispy treat form.  So we whipped up a batch of Rice Krispy treats, cut them into rectangles, and then I spread them with the marshmallow icing while Sophie cut up sour gummy worms for neck bolts.  Then she sprinkled on hair, put M&M's on for eyes and noses and then used a tube of black icing to finish off the eyes and make crooked mouths.

All in all, they turned out really cute.  If I do them again though, I'll make a double batch so I can make each Frankie a little thicker.  This time I pressed them into a jelly roll pan so that I could get as many as I could, but it made them a little too thin to keep from folding over when room temperature.

The party was great and the treats were a hit!  Here's my Spider Girl and her BFF Little Kitty!


  1. I was looking for a great pork chop recipe on and found one where you posted a picture, the food looked delicious and I was wondering what the side item was, it looks like rice or risotto. Please let me know if you can remember, and if you have any good recipes for pork chops, please share, my husband isn't a huge fan of pork (because he thinks it's bland), so I need to WOW him. I'm getting tired of eating chicken and beef over and over!!!

  2. Hi Morgan! Thanks for stopping in here and thanks for the little trip down memory lane, as I scanned all the food photos I've taken since that pork chop recipe in 2008. My photo skills have definitely improved! LOL
    As for the side dish in that photo, I didn't note what it was and I didn't make a specific rice dish during that week of cooking (or I would have a photo and review for it around that same time), so I'm going to bet that it's just basic steamed white rice with some chives sprinkled on top for color. The rice was probably pretty mushy, as I was using an old crummy rice cooker at the time.
    I do have some favorite pork chop recipes you might like to try out though.
    This is one I've been making for about 25 years, learned it from my mom, but have never posted it. Luckily, someone else posted it to for us to share. :)

    This one went over well with my family, even though I don't normally like maple flavored meat. I freak out if the bacon and syrup are touching on my breakfast plate.

    And this recipe is for pork-chop-haters! It's a go-to recipe for us because it's super fast and easy, but has lots of flavor!

    I hope you find one of these will make a pork chop fan out of your hubby. I know what it's like to get stuck in a meat rut. If you try any of these, I'd love to hear what you thought. Feel free to pop back in here, or jump into one of my forums on (Either the Community Cafe or Kitchen Gadgets & Appliances forum)and give me a shout. :)


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TinksTreats by Lorilyn Tenney is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License