I'm hoping I won't have to Trick or Treat with my children for at least another 5 years - dragging four children around the streets at bedtime is not a tempting thought - but it was a lot of of fun when I was little. One memorable year I joined a band of children for our annual Trick or Treat fest. For some reason all parental control was relaxed and we were allowed to roam the dark streets with no adult chaperone, just a few thrilling older boys taking charge. I’m not sure my Mum had vetted those thrilling older boys, (T.O.B’s) they wore Harringtons and boots and were rather fanciable.
I joined the band with pride, for I had a pumpkin suspended from a cane, complete with lit candle inside; health and safety be damned. So off we set, a motley assortment of witches, ghosts and thrilling older boys, did I mention those?
Around the houses we went, our ‘Trick or Treat’ chorus growing louder and louder with each suburban doorbell. The pockets of the thrilling older boys were filling with our loot, it was all going very well.
At one house, Martin (T.O.B.) seized my pumpkin on a cane and danced up to the door waving it as we yelled, ‘Trick or Treat! Money or Sweet!’ Rather unfortunately, my pumpkin-with-candle design was a bit flawed, and he succeeded in setting one of the ghosts on fire. When the bemused homeowner finally opened her door she was confronted with a screaming ghost, crying witches and T.O.B’S desperately trying to extinguish the flames.
Alas, we promptly lost the ghost and her sister; they were ushered into the goodly folk’s home so that parents could be called. The poor ghost was sobbing desperately; for a minute there I suppose she thought she was going to be joining the dead souls that were swirling around our heads eyeing up our bodies for inhabitation. Fear not dear reader, the ghost was not injured, just very shocked.
We decided we’d probably had enough Trick or Treating for one year, and we headed back to someone’s garage to count out the cash. I somehow ended up in the garage with a couple of the T.O.B’S as they started a pile of money for each trick or treater present.
I was horrified. No matter that he wore a Harrington and daring, lace-up boots! He was nothing but a common swindler! My convent training came to the fore and I roundly condemned what he was doing. The T.O.B smirked, re-adjusted the piles and no more was said.
A clear blow for truth and righteousness.
- You will need your oven at 180 degrees Celsius / Gas 4, but it takes a while to carve out your halloween shapes, so you won't need to light it until after you've started cutting out the shapes
- Mix the heaped tsp of no egg powder with 2 tbsps of orange juice (if using a real egg, ignore this bit your turn with the orange zest will come in a bit), add the zest of the orange and set aside
- Put the rice flour into a large mixing bowl and seive in the gram flour. If using wheat flour, place the flour into the mixing bowl
- Add the xanthan gum (for GF version), bicarbonate of soda and spices and stir well to combine
- Rub the dairy free spread into the flour using the tips of your fingers, until the mix resembles fine breadcrumbs
- Stir in the sugar
- Mix the golden syrup with the no egg and orange zest mix and add to the mixing bowl. If using a real egg, beat the egg and the golden syrup together, add the orange zest, and put it all into the mixing bowl
- Using a wooden spoon, mix it all together, then use your hands to squidge everything together to form a dough. If you are using GF flour, you may find that the dough really sticks to your hands. Moisten your hands with a little rice milk and carry on squidging, it will sort itself out when it comes to rolling out
- If need be, you could now wrap the dough in cling film and chill in the fridge for an hour or so, or you could crack on, only a few days until halloween
- Flour your work surface with rice flour and roll out the dough until about 2-3mm thick. Use a bamboo skewer or a very sharp craft knife to carve out a pumpkin shape, or a ghost shape with scary eyes, or a witch's hat with a crescent moon, or whatever you like. You might need to 'dot' out your design with the skewer end and then do a 'dot to dot' with the knife to cut out the dough(Make sure your design has some holes in it so that the chocolate mix will show through). When you've carved your shape, lift it up gently and place it onto an uncut piece of dough, cut around the shape so that you have a matching shape
- Put your shapes onto a baking tray lined with baking parchment
- You could now light your oven, by the time you've finished cutting out shapes, it'll be warmed up
- Carry on cutting out the ghoulish shapes until all the dough is used up
- Bake in the oven for about 10 mins, but watch it, they cook really quickly and you don't want them too brown
- Leave them to cool on the tray, then transfer to a wire rack and let them get completely cold. If you wanted to take a break now I would fully understand. Pop the biscuits into an airtight container, pour yourself a glass of wine and when you're ready....
- For the filling: Cut the orange into small pieces and remove any pips. Blend the orange in a blender until smooth, you may have to add a splash of orange juice to achieve a smooth mix. Set aside.
- Melt the dark chocolate in a bain marie. When it has melted, remove from the heat and add the dairy free spread. Mix until the spread has melted and it's looking smooth and glossy
- Add 7 tbsps of the blended orange and mix
- Add the 4 tbsps icing sugar. If it's not sweet enough for you, add some more
- Put some cold water into your sink - it should reach about halfway up the bowl of your chocolate mix.
- Put the chocolate mix bowl into the sink of cold water and start stirring. In fact, I reckon you could wander off for about ten minutes whilst it cools and then start the stirring. You are waiting for the chocolate mix to cool so that it thickens
- When the mix has thickened enough for you to spread it, but so that it doesn't ooze out of your biscuits, you are ready to start
- Have your scary biscuit pairs to the ready and spread the one without holes with some chocolate mix. Put the biscuit with the pumpkin face / ghost face / whatever/ on the top and press gently. The chocolate mix should spread to the edges and the biscuit should come to life as per the picture.
- Continue until you have stuck your pairs together
- Any left over inner mix can be made into truffles....that recipe is coming soooooon!
- If it all gets too much, see the picture below for another idea
- Enjoy halloween, and don't answer the door to trick or treaters, they're such a pain in the arse, aren't they?
Pssst, may I add another picture?
When it's nearly midnight, and you're really fed up of crafting halloween shapes, but still have tons of dough left....rummage in the cupboard, find a round cutter and stamp out lots of little circles. Sandwich them together with chocolate filling to make cute little 'burgers'. Great for the school run and very impressive served after your fabulous champagne lunch on Monday. Oh, doesn't everyone have a champagne lunch on a Monday?
© Pig in the Kitchen 2007