Yesterday was Halloween. Since we’re Americans, we had to eat a ridiculous amount of candy and wear silly costumes—even though we live in Switzerland, where the holiday only has a subtle influence. For example, my 6-year old made a bat at school filled with a small bundle of chocolate candies. At the same time, none of the students went to class in a costume.
I tried to convince my son to dress up as Clark Kent with his Superman t-shirt peeking out of a button-down shirt. It seemed like an easy way to celebrate Halloween at school, without drawing too much attention to himself. He still wasn’t buying it. So, like last year, we donned costumes during a festive Halloween dinner at home. We ate by carved-pumpkin candlelight.
For dinner, I made “Spooky Shepherd’s Pie” with savory little mashed potato monsters. I was inspired by Isa Chandra’s vegan version. Instead, I used Joy of Cooking’s Shepherd’s Pie recipe with ground beef. Since they were out of cilantro at the store, I pureed some spinach to color the mashed potatoes. Finally, I made the arms (or horns, depending on your point of view) with pretzels instead of fresh thyme because it was a little easier/faster, and I thought the boys would like it too.
After dinner, we trick-or-treated in our apartment, if you can imagine that. My husband handed out candy from behind our bedroom doors. He played a different character each time he opened to door to our boys, who enthusiastically yelled “Trick-or-Treat!” Our 2-year old got a few Enjoy Life chocolate bars, and our 6-year old got some mini-candy bars.
For dessert, I made Chocolate-Cinnamon Spiderweb Cookies. It’s a recipe I ripped out of Cooking Light years ago for my son when he was going through a Spiderman phase. This time, I added cinnamon and made them dairy and egg-free. The recipe makes a small batch, so it’s quick to prepare.
Chocolate-Cinnamon Spiderweb Cookies
Adapted from Cooking Light’s August 2003 recipe.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup dairy-free margarine, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla sugar
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons soy or rice milk
Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F.
1. Combine flour, cocoa, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt, stirring well with a whisk. Place softened margarine and sugar in a separate mixing bowl and beat together until fluffy. Add vanilla and canola oil, beat well. Add flour mixture; beat until well blended.
2. Turn dough out onto wax paper or aluminum foil; shape into a 6-inch/15-cm log. Wrap log in wax paper or aluminum foil. Freeze 2 hours or until very firm.
3. Cut log into about 15-20 slices, and place slices on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10 minutes or until set. Remove from pans; cool completely on wire racks.
4. For the icing, combine powdered sugar and milk substitute in a medium bowl; stir well with a whisk until smooth. Spoon into a small plastic bag; seal. Snip a tiny hole in 1 corner of the bag. Working with 1 cookie at a time, circles onto each cookie. Starting at center circle, pull a wooden pick through other circles at regular intervals to create a “web.”
I hope you all had a happy and safe Halloween. Bon week-end!