Halloween Party

While the kids gather goodies or watch spooky movies, bring the grown-ups together for a devilishly decadent buffet. Treat your guests to an array of clever desserts on a table decked out for Halloween by serving up these frighteningly fabulous recipes to celebrate the season.

Chocolate Tiramisu Cups

  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream, divided
  • 3 tablespoons coffee liqueur, divided, Kahlúa®*
  • 3/4 cup espresso or strong-brewed coffee, cooled to room temperature
  • 1 (3-ounce) package soft ladyfingers
  • 3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
  • Garnish: cocoa powder
  1. In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, and cocoa powder. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Add 1/2 cup heavy cream and 2 tablespoons coffee liqueur, beating until blended and smooth.
  2. In a small bowl, combine espresso and remaining 1 tablespoon coffee liqueur.
  3. Fill bottom of 12 (3-ounce) espresso cups with 1/4 teaspoon espresso mixture. Line the bottom of each cup with ladyfingers, tearing them to fit the cups; drizzle with 1 teaspoon espresso mixture. Spoon about 11/2 tablespoons cream cheese mixture over ladyfingers. Repeat layers with ladyfingers, 2 teaspoons espresso mixture, and about 11/2 tablespoons cream cheese mixture in each cup.
  4. In a small bowl, combine remaining 1/2 cup heavy cream and 3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar. Beat at high speed with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Carefully spoon whipped cream evenly over cream cheese mixture in cups. Garnish with additional cocoa powder, if desired. Store, covered, in refrigerator until ready to serve.
*Note: For a nonalcoholic version, substitute espresso or strong-brewed coffee for coffee liqueur.
  • Yields: 12 (3-ounce) servings

Spooky Whoopie Pies

  • 1 (19.9-ounce) dark chocolate cake mix, Betty Crocker®
  • 11/3 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 11/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Marshmallow Filling (recipe follows)
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine cake mix, milk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Beat at low speed with an electric mixer for 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium, and beat for 2 minutes, or until well blended. Drop batter in 1/4-cup measures onto prepared baking sheets.
  3. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes. Let cool on pans for 5 minutes. Carefully remove cakes from pan (cakes are fragile), and cool completely on wire racks.
  4. Spread Marshmallow Filling evenly on the flat side of half of the cakes, and top with remaining cake halves, flat sides down.
  • Yields: About 14 servings

Marshmallow Filling

  • 2 cups all-vegetable shortening
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 4 cups marshmallow crème
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. In a large bowl, beat shortening and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Add marshmallow crème, beating until thickened. Beat in vanilla until smooth.
  • Yields: About 5 cups

Black and White Loaf Cake

  • 1 (18.25-ounce) box devil’s food cake mix, Pillsbury®
  • 11/4 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Peppermint Buttercream (recipe follows)
  • 1 (16-ounce) container creamy home-style chocolate frosting, Duncan Hines®
  • Garnish: chocolate-covered peppermint patties, York ®, chocolate baking pieces, York®
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Spray 2 (9-inch) square cake pans with nonstick baking spray with flour.
  2. In a large bowl, combine cake mix, milk, oil, eggs, cocoa powder, and vanilla. Beat at low speed with an electric mixer for 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium, and beat for 2 minutes, or until smooth. Pour batter evenly into prepared pans.
  3. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.
  4. Cut each cake in half, forming 4 (9x41/2-inch) rectangles. Place 1 cake layer on a cake plate. Spread about 2/3 cup Peppermint Buttercream evenly over top. Top with 1 cake layer, and repeat with remaining Peppermint Buttercream and cake layers. Spread chocolate frosting evenly over top and sides of cake. Garnish with chocolate-covered peppermint patties and chocolate baking pieces, if desired.
  • Yields: 1 - 9-inch cake

Peppermint Buttercream

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 41/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 teaspoons peppermint extract
  1. In a medium bowl, beat butter and confectioners’ sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add peppermint extract, beating until smooth.
  • Yields: About 2 cups

White Cheddar Popcorn Crunch

  • 1 (16-ounce) package vanilla-flavored candy coating
  • 1 (6-ounce) package nuts, seeds, and raisins trail mix, Planters®
  • 1 cup dry-roasted almonds
  • 1 cup dry-roasted peanuts
  • 1 cup shelled sunflower seeds
  • 1 (5-ounce) bag white Cheddar popcorn, SmartFood®
  • 1 cup bittersweet chocolate morsels
  1. Line a jelly-roll pan with wax paper.
  2. In a medium, microwave-safe bowl, melt candy coating in microwave according to package directions.
  3. Spray a large bowl with nonstick cooking spray; add trail mix, almonds, peanuts, and sunflower seeds. Drizzle one-third of melted candy coating over trail mix mixture, tossing to coat. Add popcorn; drizzle with one-third of candy coating, tossing to coat. Stir in chocolate morsels.
  4. Spread popcorn mixture in a single layer in prepared pan. Drizzle with remaining one-third of candy coating. Let stand at room temperature until candy coating is set. Store in an airtight container.
  • Yields: About 10 cups
Reprinted with permission by Hoffman Media, LLC. www.semihomemademag.com

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