As an Australian, I have only recently hopped on the Halloween band wagon as my parents were so dead set against it. I only started to experience the holiday when I left the country and now am a well and truly converted pumpkin carver. This year is the first time we have ever hosted a Halloween party and I have been trialing a few little things – and failing miserably. Frankfurts are so handy for spooky food, they make great fingers by cutting out a finger nail shape in one end and some finger wrinkles, tomato sauce adding to the effect too. I thought I would try something a bit different and make mummies instead. Seemed simple enough, so I chose to use a short crust pastry over puff (my freezer selection) thinking that the rising puff may have been too much – I don’t really think it matters what you use though. Cut the pastry into fine strips and wrap around franks. Super easy, my 6 year old did a bunch of them too. Overcooked them a little though as the pastry wasn’t browning very well. So you can see in the picture some of the little guys burst, sending their Egyptian wrappings flying all over the place.
Also gave making ‘bones’ a go. I never claim to be any kind of incredible chef and sweets are not my forte, but I’m generally not too bad at replicating things… but my first go at these was not pretty. My very clever friend Penny was keen on my story of the impossible bones and accepted the challenge of giving it a whirl, producing these babies to me on a silver platter in the afternoon (true story). She used pretzel sticks and vanilla (only) flavoured marshmallows. Cut the marshmallows in half or quarters depending on how big they are, you don’t want massive sized ‘knuckles’ on the end of the bone. Then they need to be dipped in white chocolate, double dipped if you have enough.
TIPS FOR COATING: When buying the chocolate, make sure it is actually chocolate. Many are labelled ‘baking melts’ or something like that, read the packet and if it doesn’t say the word chocolate then don’t use it for this. Chocolate can overheat easily, it needs to be treated very gently. Penny used a mini-slow cooker to melt the chocolate which worked out perfectly. If you are using the stove like me, then you heat the chocolate in a bowl above a pot of bubbling water. The trick is when the chocolate has started to melt then it will be at just the right temperature so take it off the heat before it gets too hot. Stir out the lumps and give a little more heat if need but be sure not to continue to heat when it is runny. Start dipping your bones gently using a small pair of tongs or tweezers, and if the chocolate is starting to lump then pop it back on the heat, but not for long. Another good method for the chocolate is to use a fondue set.
UPDATE ON COATING: I tried using the microwave and it was brilliant. Using a normal ceramic bowl (thicker bowls hold heat for longer) put in the microwave on medium heat for 1-2 minutes, stopping to stir. As above, as soon as it starts to get runny stir all the lumps out and avoid overheating. You can also reheat the chocolate but just 10 seconds at a time.
Good luck and Happy Halloween!
Emma Eastman 2015