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I made this yummy Halloween bark for our daughter's Halloween class party this year and I'm sure that the kiddos will think it's a pretty great treat-what's not to like? Chocolate dressed up with cute little ghosts and pumpkins and some pretty scrumptious witch accessories all packaged up in a charming little bag and tag-it's Spooktacular!


While this bark is not super quick (it takes a bit of time to create all of the little details on the bark, let it set/harden and then package up individually), it is super simple. And you know what, it can be made even quicker and easier by adding less additions to the bark itself. You definitely could just opt to do pumpkins or ghosts, or just witch brooms and hats, or how how about just spooky ghosts and eyes?....Any combination would be equally adorable, have fun with it and come up with what works for you, adding more or less details! I chose to do chocolate pumpkins, ghosts and witch hats (hard to see in the photo), pretzel and chcolate brooms, sea salt and candy eyes. Here is how I went about making the bark.


Ingredients:

6-8 +/- cups of semisweet milk chocolate chips (depending on how much bark you want to make-I used around 6 and it made 23 individual packages afterwards)

2-3 +/- cups of white chocolate chips (depending on your designs)

Pretzel sticks

Ziploc bags or piping bags (for piping designs)

Sea salt for sprinkling

Eyeball candies

Clear treat bags

Ribbon or string for tying

Gift tags


Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Melt the semisweet milk chocolate chips in a pot over low heat, stirring occasionally to make sure it doesn't burn. Once completely melted and smooth (it should still have a shiny sheen to it-don't over heat it), quickly pour the chocolate over the sheet pan lined with parchment and smooth and spread with a spatula. Immediately sprinkle the top with a bit of sea salt as well as gather a few pretzels and place them randomly in different directions all over the chocolate (these will be your broom stick handles). Then place the eye candies in random patterns as well.


Next melt the white chocolate chips (only using as much as you need for each different design-you will add food colouring to make the different design colours you need). I used about a 1/4 cup for smaller items like the witch hats and pumpkin stems etc. I used about 1/2-1 cup for the larger items like the pumpkins and ghosts etc. Once the chocolate is melted and easily stirred into a smooth paste (I used the microwave in 20 second intervals), add any food colouring you may need to make your first design element. Add the coloured white chocolate to a Ziploc bag (or piping bag) and snip a tiny tip off at one corner-be sure it keep it small so you can do detailed work. Working quickly pipe your designs on and use a tooth pick immediately after to smooth out/blend together any lines as needed. Keep repeating the melting of chocolate, adding food colouring and piping etc. until all of your desired designs are complete.


As a side note-if you find that your chocolate stiffens upon adding food colouring, you can add a super small amount of milk to loosen it back up by combining it and also re-heating a bit if needed.



Once your chocolate bark is decorated fully, place it in a cool place to harden (I put ours in the fridge for about an hour and then removed it, I then let it sit at room temperature for about another hour before cutting it into pieces for individual packaging). After the chocolate bark is set, you can cut it up or just smash it a bit into large or smaller serving sizes and package. Be sure to store it in a cool location. Happy Halloween!!





This is another recipe from the cookbook I shared not too long ago My Family Table. I couldn't resist sharing it as it was another keeper recipe that was perfect for dessert but also something I thought would make for a wonderful breakfast too. It's a healthier recipe so you can feel like, although it's sweet, it's giving you a nutritious start or end to the day!


Ingredients


1 cup unsalted butter or coconut oil

1 cup almond meal

1/2 cup brown rice flour (or buckwheat, spelt flour or almond if you prefer)

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp ground nutmeg

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

2 free-range eggs

1/2 cup honey or maple syrup or brown rice syrup

1/4 cup mil of your choice

1 apple thinly sliced into wedges

*Cinnamon for sprinkling (my addition to the recipe)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees, grease eight muffin tin holes or line with paper cups (I used small ramekins instead and greased them).


Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, then let simmer until it has browned and has a nutty fragrance. Watch the butter carefully as it can burn quickly! I may have done this and then decided to use coconut oil....:). If using coconut oil, just gently melt in the pan (I used the microwave). Set aside and let cool.


In a bowl, whisk together almond meal, rice flour, baking soda and nutmeg.



In a small bowl whisk together the vinegar, eggs, honey and milk. Add wet ingredients to dry and whisk to combine. Fold in the cooled butter or coconut oil.


Divide batter among the muffin holes (or ramekins), filling them about three-quarters full, then top each one with the sliced apple wedges (about 2-3 per cake). I also chose to sprinkle some cinnamon on top of each cake once the apples were in place.




Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown on top. Remove from the oven and let cool (on a wire rack if baking in muffin tins).


The cakes will keep for 3-4 days in an airtight container and can be frozen for up to 2 months.








I can't even count how many times I've made this cookie recipe of Ina's, it's a favourite in our home as we're big fans of the salty and sweet combo they pack. This time, however, we decided to do things just a little bit different and add a spooky twist for Halloween-chocolate spiders! It's the same great cookies (minus the cranberries and salt on top) but one small additional step at the end to get them all dressed up for the haunting occasion!


Ingredients:


1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature

1¾ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1¼ cups old-fashioned oats, such as Quaker

3/4 pound bittersweet chocolate, such as Lindt, chopped in chunks

3/4 cup dried cranberries

Fleur de sel



Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

In bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar on medium-high speed for 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula. On low speed, add the vanilla and then the eggs one at a time. Scrape down the bowl again.


Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Mix in the oats. With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour mixture to the butter-sugar mixture. Be sure not to overbeat it. With a rubber spatula, stir in the chocolate (we often use chocolate chips if it's what we have on hand-which is what we did this time) and cranberries (we left the cranberries out) until the dough is well mixed. With a 1¾-inch ice cream scoop (or two spoons), scoop round balls of dough onto the prepared sheet pan. Sprinkle lightly with fleur de sel (though we love this touch, we opted to leave it out this time in order to let the spiders be centre stage). Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until nicely browned. Serve warm or at room temperature.


To add chocolate spiders


Using a handful of chocolate chips place them upside down one by one into the hot cookies right out of the oven (put as many as you would like in each cookie keeping in mind you need space to add the legs). They will soften and melt slightly-this is ok. Melt about a 1/4 cup of chocolate chips in a microwavable bowl in 30 second intervals until able to stir into a smooth mixture. Scoop the melted chocolate into a small piping bag or Ziploc bag right away and snip off the end (only snip at the far end of the tip so that there is a tiny opening). Pipe on 8 legs for each chocolate chip spider and let cool for 1-2 hours until the spiders have hardened.





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