If you are sensible enough to prefer treats to tricks when it comes to Halloween, then GBBO 2014 semi-finalist Chetna Makan is your go-to girl. Cobweb aprons and blood-dripping tastebuds at the ready if you please.
When someone mentions Halloween, the first thing that comes to my mind is kids. To me, Halloween is a fun time for kids who like to dress up, trick or treat and party. I really didn’t do anything at Halloween before my kids came along.
Now, every year I try to organise a little party at home for them and their friends. I find that what they are really looking for is treats which are fun to look at and tasty to eat.
And the best way for them to enjoy it the most is to help me make the party treats, because it is after all their party.
Being Halloween, the messier the treats, the better they look, which is always an attractive prospect for young, sticky fingers.
I wanted to keep it simple so decided to stick to cake and biscuits. First I made a batch of cake mix:
200g caster sugar
200g unsalted butter
200g self-raising flour
4 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Combine all the ingredients together in a bowl and whisk for two minutes until light and fluffy. Fill the mixture into a piping bag and pipe it into six individual mini pudding dishes (use the cupcake tray if you don’t have these). Bake for 15–20 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
Pipe the rest of the mix into a mini doughnut cake tin. In case you don’t have this tray just use the cupcake tray and make sure you only fill less than a quarter in each portion so that they are not very high cakes. Bake these for 10–15 minutes and leave them aside to cool. If you have used a cupcake tray, then just scoop out a bit from the centre of the cakes after baking.
125g unsalted butter
60g soft brown sugar
70g golden syrup
1 large egg, beaten
1 tbsp of ground ginger
300g plain flour
40g self-raising flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line two or three trays with baking paper. In a bowl whisk the butter, sugar and golden syrup until light and creamy.
To this add the egg and whisk again until mixed well. Sift the flour, ginger and soda into the egg mix and bring it all together with a spoon.
Turn the dough on a clean surface and knead it for a few seconds. Cover it in cling film and chill it for 10 minutes in the fridge.
Roll it out on a lightly floured surface to 5mm thin and cut out gingerbread man shapes with a cutter. You could use big or small cutters and any shape you like.
You can also let your child cut the shape freehand; they can make all sorts of scary faces and objects.
Bake this for 10–12 minutes and once out of the oven leave them to cool on a wire rack. I also made a few small cups with this dough by just rolling some dough out and placing it on the back of something round, like the back of a cupcake tin.
Now make some royal icing
1 egg white
225g icing sugar, sifted
1 tsp lemon juice
In a bowl whisk the egg white until it forms soft peaks. To this add the icing sugar one tablespoon at a time and mix it all well. Add the lemon juice and give it another mix. Divide it into three or four portions and add different colours of your choice. I added orange, black, grey and left some of it white.
Also make some chocolate butter cream
50g unsalted softened butter
100g icing sugar, sifted
1 tbsp milk
50g chocolate, 70% cocoa, melted
In a bowl beat the butter until creamy, add the icing sugar and milk and beat it well for up to two minutes. Slowly add the melted chocolate to this and mix it all well.
Now for the ghost cakes
You will need some white fondant for this and the six mini cakes you made earlier. To assemble these take some white fondant icing and roll it into a big circle. Place this fondant circle on top of the cake and then with black icing draw the dots for eyes. Repeat the same with all the mini cakes.
To assemble these fill the centre of the doughnut cakes with some chocolate butter cream and place a blueberry in the middle for the eye. Then let the kids go wild with the other colour icing to make it as scary as they like. They really enjoyed making these.
Witches’ hat biscuits next
For these you will need some digestive biscuits and some ice cream cones. First melt some chocolate in a bowl and with a spoon cover the ice cream cones with the chocolate.
Place these on a tray and leave these in the fridge to set. Once cooled, put some royal icing on the biscuit and place the chocolate-covered cone on top. Then decorate with some chocolate chips. These are such a fun treat and kids loved eating them.
To assemble these fill the cookie cups with chocolate buttercream and then make a web on top of it with white royal icing, and finish by making spiders with dark icing. These disappeared quicker than anything else.
So I hope all these tips will give you ideas for some amazingly simple yet fun treats to make with your kids. Even if they don’t turn out perfect, kids will enjoy them as they’ll take pride in the fact they made them with their very own sticky hands.
So have fun baking and happy Halloween!
To find more of Chetna’s recipes – and to see her making them – visit her YouTube channel here.3595 Views
I am a fashion designer, who after becoming a mum discovered the world of baking. Also seen in the Great British Bake Off 2014. @chetnamakan