Since Bill teaches both Spanish and Latin, he decided to postpone Halloween festivities to combine them with Day of the Dead, so they celebrated today! My original (lofty) idea was to make these awesome Ossi di Morti (or Bones of the Dead) that I saw on the King Arthur Flour blog, but they were a little temperamental and needed some supplementation. After much brainstorming, the All Saints Day Dessert Feast was planned and produced. I wound up making 2 types of cookies, 2 types of brownies and 2 types of covered popcorn for the kiddos and teachers to enjoy.
First, let’s look at cookies!
Ossi di Morti (recipe here). These cookies have to be prepared a day ahead of time so they can dry out before baking, so I started on them Tuesday night. I’m not sure if it’s because I doubled the recipe, because I used home-ground almonds instead of almond flour or because I had to use some cake flour when I ran out of AP flour, but these were very sticky and hard to work with. When they went into the oven last night I was fully prepared to dump them afterward if they didn’t turn out. To my surprise (and joy), they were pretty tasty! They taste very much like Marzipan with a crunchy outside and chewy interior. I’ll try to make these again, following the instructions more carefully, to see if I can make these more successfully.
My back-up cookies were Mexican Wedding Cookies that I tried to shape into little skulls for Day of the Dead. I based the recipe on this one from Curvy Girl Guide and they turned out pretty yummy! Rather than pecans, I used almonds since they were what we had in the house.
Makes 60 cookies
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 cup butter, softened
- 4 tsp. almond extract
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 4 cups flour
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 cup finely chopped almonds
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- additional powdered sugar for dusting
- Preheat oven to 325°F.
- In large bowl, beat sugar, butter, and extracts until they’re light and fluffy.
- Add flour, salt and almond to mixer and mix until dough comes together.
- Shape into 1 1/2″ balls, then pinch into a skull shape. Add chocolate chips for eyes, nose and mouth and place on ungreased cookie sheet.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes. You want them to be set in consistency, but not brown.
- Remove cookies from sheet, allow to cool for 10-15 minutes, and roll in more powdered sugar.
With these, I didn’t allow them to cool quite long enough, so they wound up being a little crumbly when I shook them with powdered sugar. Make sure yours are well-set and cool before shaking!
On to the Brownies!
I made Peanut-Butter-Cup-Stuffed and M&M-topped Mini-Brownies for the more Americanized Halloween treat. This is a really simple treat; the recipe for the brownies is from the basic red Betty Crocker book, just with added candies.
- 2/3 cup butter
- 5 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 3/4 cups sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 24 miniature peanut-butter cups
- 72 M&Ms
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray 2 mini-muffin tins with baking spray and set aside.
- Mix butter and chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 1-minute increments to melt and combine the ingredients, stirring between each heating. Set aside to cool.
- Beat sugar, vanilla and eggs with electric mixer on high speed 5 minutes. The mixture will become light yellow and fluffy.
- Add chocolate mixture on low speed. Beat in flour just until blended.
- Distribute batter into the mini-muffin tins. Add 1 mini PB cup to the middle of each cup in one tin. Leave the other tin plain.
- Bake 15-25 minutes or just until brownies begin to pull away from sides of pan.
- After you remove the brownies from the oven, add 3 M&Ms to the top of each plain brownie. Stick this tin back in the oven for 2 minutes, then remove and allow to cool.
As for the Popcorn, I popped two bags of popcorn, made one into Ellen’s Cake Batter Popcorn and made the other batch chocolate-y by coating it with 1 bag chocolate chips + 1/4 cup shortening, melted. Both batches got a good dusting of Halloween sprinkles as well.
I hope the boys liked their Day-of-the-Dead Celebration! Happy November : )