4. Easy Marbled Candy Corn Bark
1 pound couverture or regular milk chocolate, finely chopped
12 ounces couverture or regular white chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/4 cups candy corn
1. Line a jelly-roll pan with aluminum foil, smoothing out any wrinkles.
2. Melt milk and white chocolates separately in a double boiler or in medium-size bowls in the microwave. Fold half of the candy corn into the milk chocolate and spread this mixture onto the prepared pan in an even layer using an offset spatula. It doesn't have to be perfectly rectangular like the pan, as the candy will be broken up into random pieces.
3. While milk chocolate mixture is wet, dollop tablespoonfuls of white chocolate here and there over surface. Use the tip of a butter knife to swirl chocolates together. Do not overswirl or you will lose the definition of the milk and white chocolates.
4. While mixture is still wet, sprinkle remaining candy corn over the top and press in gently with fingers to help it adhere. Place bark in refrigerator until completely firm, about 30 minutes.
5. Peel off the aluminum foil. Break the bark into irregular pieces and enjoy!
From A Baker's Field Guide to Holiday Candy & Confections Recipe © 2013 by Dede Wilson and used by permission of The Harvard Common Press
5. Mummy Cupcakes
1 batch Brownie Cupcakes (see below) in white paper liners
1 batch Classic Confectioners' Sugar Frosting (see below)
Pastry bag and coupler
Ateco tip #47
Yellow paste or gel food coloring
Ateco or Wilton tip #12
36 semisweet chocolate morsels
1. Place cupcakes on clean work surface. Place frosting in a large mixing bowl. Place in pastry bag and, using smooth side of tip #47, form mummy's wraps on top of cupcakes, leaving some brownie showing through for eyes. Think about what it looks like to make a head wrap around an injured person! There should be angled wraps on the top of the mummy’s head, with some angled and some horizontal ones beneath its eyes. Each wrap should overlap the previous one to give a realistic look. This is one cupcake where the photo example really is worth a thousand words!
2. Tint remaining frosting a nice yellow for glowing eyes! Use pastry bag fitted with tip #12 to pipe rounds for eyes. Insert chocolate morsels, tip side down, in center of eyes to make irises. Make sure you can see some yellow around the morsel. Cupcakes are now ready to serve.
Brownie Cupcakes (For Mummy Cupcakes):
18 paper liners
8 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
3⁄4 cup pecan halves (optional), toasted and finely chopped
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Place paper liners in all wells of one 12-cup and one 6-cup cupcake tin.
2. Melt chocolate and butter together in top of large double boiler or in large bowl in microwave; stir until smooth and combined, then cool to lukewarm.
3. Whisk in brown sugar until well blended. Then whisk in eggs one at a time, allowing each one to become absorbed before adding next one. Whisk in vanilla extract and salt. Add fl our and nuts, if using, at the same time and fold in until no streaks of flour remain.
4. Divide batter evenly among cupcake wells. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center shows many moist crumbs. The tops will be dry and crackled in appearance and slightly puffed.
5. Cool pans on racks for 5 minutes, then remove cupcakes to cooling racks to cool completely.
Classic Confectioners' Sugar Frosting (For Mummy Cupcakes):
Yield: about 3 cups
1⁄2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into small pieces
4 cups confectioners' sugar, plus an additional 1⁄2 cup if necessary, whisked before measuring
1⁄4 cup milk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. In a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter until creamy, about 2 minutes.
Add 1 cup confectioners’ sugar gradually, beating until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl once or twice. Add 1 more cup of sugar and about half of the milk and beat until smooth and creamy. Add 1 more cup of sugar and remaining milk, and beat well, scraping down sides of the bowl. Add remaining 1 cup of sugar and vanilla extract and beat on high speed until very light and creamy, about 5 minutes. Assess texture. If it is too soft, add a portion or all of the remaining 1⁄2 cup of sugar.
2. At this point you can continue beating the frosting, if you like, which will make it lighter, creamier, and a little airier. You want it to be as smooth as possible. Frosting is ready to use. (Bring to room temperature and rebeat after storing.)
From A Baker's Field Guide to Cupcakes Recipe © 2013 by Dede Wilson and used by permission of The Harvard Common Press
6. Swamp Creature Toes
1/2 cup whole skinless salted almonds
green liquid coloring1 (12-ounce) package semisweet chocolate chips (2 cups)
1 (6-ounce) bag 8-inch pretzel rods (about 12)
1. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment or wax paper. Blend the almonds with about
10 drops of coloring in a small stainless steel, ceramic, or glass bowl (plastic might stain). Stir well until all the nuts are coated. Spread the green almonds on a plate to dry.
2. Put the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl and melt the chocolate in the microwave: Heat on high for 60 seconds, and then stir well. If it's not quite smooth, heat in two or three 10-second bursts, stirring well after each burst. (Alternatively, you can melt the chocolate, stirring frequently, in a double boiler, over just-simmering water. Avoid overheating, which can cause chocolate to seize up into a stiff mass.)
3. Break each pretzel rod into 3 pieces. Dip a broken piece about three-quarters of the way into the melted chocolate, leaving a broken end visible. (If it's an end piece of the pretzel, dip the finished end, leaving the broken end showing.)
4. Lay the dipped pretzel on a prepared baking sheet and lay a green almond on the top of the dipped end. If the almond won't stick, dip the underside in a bit more chocolate. When all the toes are decorated, place the baking sheets in the refrigerator or freezer to firm the chocolate. Serve cool.