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Eight Great Halloween Recipes

09.15.09
You know, the difference between “host” and “ghost” is only one letter, and these Halloween-themed recipes give you an excellent excuse to throw a party. Short ribs, witches’ brew, and devil’s food cake? Oh my. So go ahead: Embrace your spooky side.
potato ghosts

1. Black and Orange Halloween Pasta

Cooking by color might not be the surest way to devise holiday-appropriate recipes, but who can resist the lure of black linguine on Halloween? Tossing it with pumpkin-hued vegetables lusty with garlic and hot pepper might seem like hobgoblin overkill, except that the flavors work well together. Really well. So much so that you’ll be making this pasta combination again and again, long after the jack-o-lanterns have disappeared.

2. Devil’s Food Cake with Chocolate Spiderweb

In name alone, a devil’s food cake is an obvious choice for a Halloween dessert. This one will far exceed your expectations of deep chocolaty naughtiness hidden under a fluff of espresso-tinged frosting.

3. Maple Pecan Popcorn

What could be more American than candy corn? Try maple pecan popcorn treats, for starters. They’re made with three ingredients—maple syrup, pecans, and popcorn—that originated in the New World.

4. Poppy Cheddar Moon Crackers

Too often crackers get short shrift as merely vehicles for a slice or smear of cheese. Not here. By incorporating cheese into the dough, along with the tiny crunch of poppy seeds, these crackers become crisp snacks that keep your fingers reaching for another and then another and, well, you know how it goes. In no time, they’re history.

5. Potato Ghosts

You and your guests will be utterly charmed when you see how easily mashed potatoes can be transformed into a gaggle of ghosts. Simply form them into pointy mounds and then personify—no, make that “ghostify”—them with seed “eyes.” Don’t be surprised if these become a new family must-have for Halloweens to come.

6. Red Wine Caramel Apples

Red wine reduction is a simple yet sultry addition to the caramel that enrobes these apples. Its rounded, fruity acidity balances the sweetness, making a fall favorite feel particularly special.

7. Short Ribs Braised in Coffee Ancho Chile Sauce

Bones are what you want on Halloween night, and your best bet for plenty of them—along with generous amounts of succulent meat—is beef short ribs. Slowly braised to tenderness with a mixture of fruity anchos and fiery chipotles tempered with coffee (a flavor combination we learned from chef Robert Del Grande of RDG + Bar Annie in Houston), the resulting pan sauce is as dark and haunting as the night.

8. Witches’ Brew

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.”

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