Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Goodies

Today is Halloween. The day that kids all across the country get to go to people's houses and get free candy. As a parent of two young boys, I get to accompany them and um, get a cut of the take. When I was younger (but older than my boys are now), I used to go out on my own and could cover most of my entire neighborhood in just a few hours. I learned which houses to get to first because they had better candy (or candy apples, as one usually did) and which to avoid (the dentist always gave away toothbrushes and apples).

Here's a page from Epicurious, which offers their best Halloween recipes. I have chosen one of them and reprinted it below. It is not for the kids though - but for the adults at home handing out candy or load into a flask as you walk about the neighborhood. Enjoy and BOO!

Witches' Brew
Gourmet - October 2009
by Kemp Minifie

Punch is one of the easiest ways to set the Halloween mood—all you need is a cauldron, perhaps, or a pointy black hat and ice block "hands."Not every blend of fruit juices takes well to the with-or-without option of alcohol, but the combination of sparkling cider and cranberry juice cocktail, subtly enhanced with a spice syrup, both support an optional dose of dark rum.

Yield: Makes about 3 quarts
Active Time: 15 min
Total Time: 1 1/2 hr (includes steeping)

  • 2 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped peeled ginger
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 (25 1/4-ounce) bottle sparkling cider (about 3 1/4 cups), chilled
  • 4 cups cranberry juice cocktail, chilled
  • 1 (1-liter) bottle club soda or seltzer, chilled
  • 1 cup dark rum (optional)
  • Ice blocks in any shape (see cooks' note, below)
Bring cinnamon sticks, cloves, ginger, water, and sugar to a boil in a small heavy saucepan, stirring until sugar has dissolved, then simmer, covered, 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let steep, uncovered, 1 hour.

Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, discarding solids, then chill until cold.

Combine all remaining ingredients, except ice, with syrup in a punch bowl. Add ice before serving.

Cooks' notes:
  • To make hand-shaped ice, fill powder-free, latex-free rubber gloves with water and tie wrist end securely, then freeze.
  • Syrup can be made 1 week ahead and chilled with spices. Strain before using.

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