(Lack of) Halloween Treats

If you look at some of the awesome food blogs out there, like this and this, you will see plenty of Halloween-themed treats. Some that are cute and fun, like this. Some that are icky and that I personally don’t understand why anyone would want to make and eat. But in case you were waiting for a Halloween-treats post here, sorry to say it isn’t going to happen. 1) I don’t have the time, patience, or skill to make cool-looking things, and 2) there is apparently an unwritten rule that Halloween treats need to feature candy corn, and I HATE candy corn.

It seems like Halloween is a bigger and bigger deal every year and I just don’t really understand why. When I was a kid, Halloween meant dressing up in a costume my mom made and going trick-or-treating.  My brother and I would carve pumpkins with my dad. That’s it. And Halloween was fun, but really just the “filler” holiday on the way to Thanksgiving and Christmas. But now, there are Halloween cards (to whom do you give a Halloween card?). There are multiple aisles in Target dedicated to candy, decorations, and costumes. And really, don’t get me started on how there are too many gross kids’ costumes. Baby bumblebee? Cute. Gory toddler zombie? Not cute. Disturbing.

And then there is the whole “adult” Halloween thing. As if there aren’t already enough people dressing slutty and getting drunk, now we have Halloween parties that encourage it. Guys, the only ones who find your “Breathalizer” costume funny are you and your drunk guy friends. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, don’t Google it. Ignorance is bliss. Seriously.) Ladies, dressing up as a “Sexy <insert any noun>” isn’t the way to get the right kind of attention. Let’s have some class, people.

The whole Halloween craze just doesn’t happen in our house. I mean, Little Man and Little Lady have costumes (a pumpkin and a lamb). Little Man is still too young for trick-or-treating so Big Man and I will probably just dress the kids up and take pictures, then wait for them to go to bed so we can eat the “leftover” candy we bought to “give out.” (And believe me, none of it will be candy corn.) That’s it. And I’m OK with that.

So if you want to make some Halloween treats, go for it, but make something yummy, not gross. If you must buy someone a Halloween card, well, I am sure Hallmark will be pleased. And please dress your kids in appropriate costumes. Let’s rescue gross, scary, slutty Halloween and return to fun, cute, candy-eating Halloween. Thank you

Project Pastry Queen: Bourbon Pumpkin Tarts w/ Streusel Topping

This week’s PPQ Challenge was hosted by Tara over at Smells Like Home and she picked Bourbon Pumpkin Tart with Streusel Topping. For the full recipe (and pretty photography), see her post here. Also, you can see how other members made the recipe here.

I was excited to make this recipe since I really love baking and anything with streusel topping.  Actually, I am not a big fan of pumpkin pie normally. But since this one had a tart crust, lots of spices, and streusel I thought I might like it. And I was right! I prefer this recipe by far to any pumpkin pie recipes I have previously made. The spices and liquor made it warm and comforting and I really loved the crispy streusel topping. Big Man is a huge pumpkin pie fan and he loved this recipe too. He said it was one of the best pumpkin recipes I have made. So this week’s PPQ challenge was a big Win here, and I’m already planning to make this Tart instead of pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I did make a couple changes to the original recipe. I used allspice in place of cloves since I usually find cloves to be too strong for my taste. I also didn’t have Bourbon and didn’t want to buy it for this recipe so I used Jack Daniels instead. Since I don’t drink whiskey I couldn’t tell a difference. Finally, I made six 4-inch mini tarts instead of one 10-inch one because I will take any chance I get to use mini baking pans.

So if you are looking for an alternate pumpkin recipe to replace the traditional pie or just want an excuse to eat streusel topping, make this recipe! You won’t regret it.

Lessons Learned

There are some things I’ve learned the hard way. I thought I would pass my experiences on to you and maybe save you some heartache (or at least a lot of cleaning time).

When making a coffee cake, double check the pan size twice. A 9×3 loaf pan is not equivalent to a 9×13 pan. You will have to clean a lot of batter overflow off your oven floor.

When you live at high altitude, use extreme caution removing the foil liner on the top of the cocoa powder tin. It takes a long time to clean a cocoa powder explosion off your face, hair, clothes, kitchen floor, counter, and yes, ceiling.

Always, always set a timer. Boiling baby bottle parts in water for ten minutes sterilizes them. Boiling them for 45 minutes melts them permanently onto your saucepan.

If you leave the flour entirely out of a brownie recipe on accident, you can bake them for over an hour and they will not set. You will end up with burnt goo that is not at all tasty.

Choose soft, fluffy baby toys over hard plastic ones if at all possible. The squishy ones are much less painful when you inevitably step on them barefoot in the middle of the night.

Frosting and sprinkles cover a multitude of layer cake sins.

When buying baby clothes, always check the care tags. If the garment is not machine washable and dry-able, DO NOT BUY, no matter how cute it is.

If your toddler is tall enough to pull things off the counters, know that anything you leave out is not safe. You may end up with kitchen utensils lined up in a row in your hallway or balanced on your windowsill.

A spotlessly clean house is far less important than cuddle time with your family.

A very high tolerance for Disney movies and kids’ songs is a highly valuable skill.

And finally, you can never have too much chocolate on hand.