Sunday, 27 October 2013

Scarily prepared for Halloween

We've gone Halloween-tastic at Martini Towers! 

There is no doubt that having children lends itself to embracing all sorts of things that simply wouldn't be appropriate without them. Cue ridiculous Halloween decorations galore. (Obviously, I have manipulated the image above, but rest assured our house is covered in cobwebs, spiders and even the occasional rat. Beautiful.) The kids, and I, love it. 

Thank you American relatives - even I have to admit that the Yanks have got this 'holiday' nailed in a way we can only dream of. 

And, of course, we had to make something tasty and completely unhealthy:

We all had great fun decorating these biscuits - which are very good (if I say so myself). The recipe was taken from Caroline MiLi Artiss - although we obviously went to town in a very different way in the decorations. But, I'd highly recommend giving this a go during half term - it kept my clan entertained for ages!

You'll need these ingredients to make and decorate around 25 biscuits:
For the biscuits
- 250g plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder 
- 2 1/2 tsp ground mixed spice
- 100g brown sugar
- 75g cold unsalted butter, cubed
- 4 tbsp golden syrup
- 1 large egg

For the icing
- a few tsps of apricot jam
- 1 packet ready to roll fondant icing
- food colouring and paintbrushes to decorate the biscuits
- tubes of coloured icing (we used black and red!)

And here's how we did it:

- Sieve the flour, baking powder and mixed spice into a bowl
- Stir in the sugar and then rub in the butter to make fine breadcrumbs
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the golden syrup and egg
- Pour the syrup/egg mixture into the dry ingredients and combine until it forms a ball of dough
- Wrap in cling film and chill - we chilled it overnight, but you'll need to leave it for at least an hour so it rolls properly

Once the dough has chilled:
- Preheat the oven to 180 c (or equivalent)
- Roll out the dough, using plain flour on the work surface and rolling pin to stop it from sticking
- Cut out your biscuits in suitably Halloween-y shapes
- Cook in the oven until just golden (about 8-10 minutes) and then leave to cool on a wire rack

For the icing:
- Brush the cooled biscuits with apricot jam, so the fondant icing will stick to the biscuits
- Roll out the fondant icing and use the same cutters to cut out the shapes and then stick the corresponding biscuit shapes
- Now for the fun! Get creative with the food colouring and icing. If you're allowing young children to decorate, prepare for carnage. Our kitchen looked like there had been some kind of explosion - but they had a great time. Perhaps make them wear some old clothes -because they'll be covered in everything. 

Caroline is far more television friendly than I am, so check out her video here to see how it's done. And Happy Halloween!

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