New for 2010 is the DVD Eerie Elegance: 13 Fabulous Frights - the perfect accompaniment to the Halloween party book Eerie Elegance! Watch over two hours of full quality video to learn these projects and recipes demonstrated by your Halloween Hostess, Britta, Webmistress of the Dark. Ideas range from the simple and budget-conscious to elaborate environments and everything in between, so there is a project for everyone inside Eerie Elegance!
Mad Scientist Body Parts
My repertoire of recipes has acquired more and more body parts over the years, and since my Mad Scientist display has also grown recently, I have begun to arrange all the edible body parts together as a mad scientist experiment in process, complete with microscopes, notebooks, periodic tables, and lab coat hanging on the wall waiting for the doctor to return. Not only does this enhance the mad scientist theme nicely, but it also frees space other tables for even more food, especially when guests bring their own revolting recipes! :)
The Eerie Eyeballs, Bizarre Brain, and Haunted Human Heart are featured separately in this list. The bleeding hands are made in the same way as the Haunted Human Heart, just using peach gelatin with evaporated milk as the flesh, with the same raspberry blood syrup in a baggie bladder inside. The green substance in the large jar is an assortment of Gummy Body Parts purchased candies suspended in green "ectoplasm" soft-set lime gelatin. Deliciously disgusting!
Yields approximately 9 dozen bite-sized eyeballs
3 oz (small box) lemon gelatin (can be sugar-free)
1 cup hot water
1/2 cup miniature marshmallows
1 cup pineapple juice
8 oz cream cheese (can be lowfat/Neufchatel)
Dissolve lemon gelatin in 1 cup water in double boiler, add marshmallows and stir to melt. Remove from heat. Add pineapple juice and cream cheese. Beat until well blended. Cool slightly. If you have a truffle candy mold or round ice cube trays, spary them with non-stick cooking spray first, then pour the mixture in the molds and leave to set in the fridge. Otherwise pour into a deep ceramic dish and chill until thickened or firm enough for scooping into eyeballs. Using a melonballer, scoop full balls of the mixture and set aside for decoration. To decorate, use liquid food coloring and an old detail paintbrush and get creative. You will need black food coloring for the pupils. Also, if you are in a hurry, instead of painting the colored irises, you can carefully dip the ball in a small pool of food coloring to approximate the iris, but still paint on the pupils. Note: if you are using the melonballer method, you might need to add one package of plain gelatin to your mixture. The molds work fine with just the lemon gelatin to make gently squishy eyeballs.
For 1999, I found rubber ice cube trays that worked beautifully with much less waste than the melonballer technique. I sprayed the rubber trays with non-stick cooking spray beforehand like you would any gelatin mold, let the gelatin mixture sit in the refrigerator to set, then I was able to carefully pop the eyeballs out to paint them. Some of the eyeballs did break, and they do have one flat side, but that actually works, since then they don't roll around while you are trying to paint them. Since 2001 I have found that Wilton truffle candy molds are even better, since the swirl design on the top is the right size for the cornea shape on the eyeball. When using the truffle molds, one recipe makes about 9 dozen eyeballs - plenty for a party crowd!
Brittle Meringue Bones
3 large egg whites
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1/8 tsp. salt
2/3 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
Preheat oven to 200F. Line cookie sheet with brown paper bag or parchment. In a medium sized bowl at high speed, beat egg whites, cream of tartar and salt till fluffy. Gradually beat in sugar. Add vanilla. Place in pastry bag fitted with a medium plain piping tip. Pipe 3" bone shapes onto parchment or brown paper bag. Bake 1 hour until set. Turn off oven, dry in oven 1 hour. Be sure to store in airtight containers or they will become soggy. Makes 4 to 5 dozen small finger-sized bones.
Bizarre Brain Pate
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
8 ounces Philadelphia cream cheese, softened
1 (.25-ounce) envelope unflavored gelatin, softened in 1/4 cup water
1 bunch green onions, chopped
3 pounds cooked shrimp, coarsely chopped
(or 1 pound crab meat)
1 cup mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
Tabasco or creole seasoning to taste
Heat soup, undiluted, and mix in the cream cheese. Stir in softened gelatin and blend well. Fold in remaining ingredients and pour into a lightly-oiled mold. Chill until firm and serve with your favorite crackers.
I originally found this recipe for MardiGras 2000, which was quite yummy. When I got a brain mold for my birthday - can you tell my friends know I love Halloween? - I started thinking of what I could use for making a brain. Since the brain mold is only about 3 cups, I halved this recipe except for the amount of gelatin, left out the green onions, and finely chopped the shrimp in a food processor into more of a paste for the sake of making it look more smooth-textured like a real brain.
Freshly Flayed Flesh on Ectoplasm Crusts
Makes about 3 dozen bite-sized appetizers.
1 package oil-packed sliced smoked salmon
1 package cream cheese (can be Neufchatel)
1 package crackers, melba toasts, bagel chips, or be creative!
Cut the smoked salmon into small thin strips. Spread a dollop of cream cheese on each cracker, then place a strip of smoked salmon curled on top of the cream cheese. This is another standard tasty appetizer just renamed to be gory for the season!
1 small party favor plastic skull candy container
1 package cream cheese
1 jar chili sauce or salsa
crackers for spreading
Set the cream cheese out to thaw to room temperature. Line the inside of the plastic skull dish with plastic wrap leaving enough edges to wrap around later. Spoon the softened cream cheese into the plastic-lined skull dish, mashing in as much cream cheese as possible to pick up the most detail in the mold. Scrape any extra cream cheese off the top so it is flat. Close the plastic wrap over the flat cream cheese top and place in the freezer to set. Once set, remove the plastic wrap from the skull dish, and carefully wrap in foil to cushion the face shape. Line the skull dish with fresh plastic wrap to make more cream cheese skulls. Store in the freezer until night before the party, then thaw in the refrigerator. To serve, place the skull in a shallow dish, garnish with your preferred bloody salsa or chili mixture, including inside the eye sockets, and stab with your favorite spreader. You can extend the time before needing to refill by placing the skull on half a block of cream cheese, but cover the plain cream cheese with enough sauce so you can only see the skull above the "blood."
Inspired by the traditional Cambodian delicacy, in 2003 I tried making my own Fried Spiders out of pre-made ingredients. They are quite fragile, but tasty!
For each fried spider:
1 frozen ready-to-bake breaded cream-cheese-filled jalapeno popper
4 frozen ready-to-bake breaded onion rings
wooden toothpicks soaked in water
Thaw the jalapeno poppers and onion rings enough to be able to use toothpicks and knives on them. Cut the onion rings in half to make the curved legs. Attach the 8 legs to the jalapeno pepper body with egg wash and hold in place with the wet toothpicks. Bake in the oven according to the jalapeno popper package instructions, taking care not to burn the legs. Carefully arrange on a serving platter, since the legs might fall off, just like real fried spiders!
Spooky Sugar Cookies
2 cups margarine or butter
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
6 cups flour
3/4 tsp salt
4 Tbsp milk (can use water)
Divide dough in half (or sixths). Only add milk or water if the dough is too dry. Chill 1 hour. Roll out half of dough 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 375F/190C for 12 minutes. These can be frosted. Makes about 5-6 dozen standard-sized cookie cutter shapes.
Creepy Cheese and Crackers
your choice of cracker (Ritz is pictured)
orange cheese, preferably already sliced
a contrasting layer (I used white cheese slices)
For the version shown with the white background, cut the slices of cheese into cracker-sized squares. Cut the orange cheese into jack-o-lantern shapes by hand, or use a miniature cookie cutter if you're lucky (I wasn't lucky, so I cut all of these by hand). Lay the contrasting layer on the cracker, then top with the jack-o-lantern slice.
For 1999, I used a cookie stamp on melted American cheese while it was cooling in a flat cookie sheet. After it cooled thoroughly, I trimmed away the edges and had what you see above with the purple background.
For 2006 I finally had time to use my mini Halloween cookie cutters to cut the cheese shapes into white ghosts, orange pumpkins and white skulls.
2 eggs, slightly beaten
3/4 cup sugar
1 1 lb. can pumpkin(2 cups)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. cloves
1 2/3 cups evap. milk(1 can)
1/2 tsp. allspice
One 9 inch pie crust, slightly cooked. (or 10 1/2 inch). Bake in hot oven (425F) for 15 minutes. Keep oven door closed and reduce temp to moderate (350F/180C) and continue baking for 45 minutes or until table knife inserted in center of pie comes out clean. Cool on wire rack. May be eaten cold or at room temperature and can serve with whipped cream.
miniature sweet pickles
Cut the miniature pickles into fourths lengthwise, so that the pickle slices are still roughly the same length as the salami slices. Spread a thin layer of cream cheese on a slice of salami, wrap around a pickle slice and close with a toothpick.
Creepy Crispy Crunchies
3 Tbsp margarine
4 cups miniature marshmallows
(or 10 oz large marshmallows, about 40)
6 cups rice crispy cereal
orange and brown Halloween M&Ms (about 6oz)
Melt margarine in a large saucepan over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat. Add cereal and stir until well coated. Add the candy and mix until candy is evenly mixed. Spray a pan with non-stick cooking spray or line with waxed paper. Using a buttered spatula or waxed paper, press the mixture evenly into a 9x13" pan. Cut into squares when cool.
For 2000, since I got a jack-o-lantern lollipop pan for my birthday, I made the KrispyPops pictured above instead...
Bleeding Human Heart
(inspired by Penn & Teller's Bleeding Heart)
First of all, find your mold. I found mine about 10 years ago at Spencer's Gifts around Halloween season. It came with a very similar recipe, but not any instructions to make it bleed. You can find human heart molds online as well as at local Halloween stores, too. Second, thoroughly wash your mold, especially all the detail where the veins are. When completely dry, spray the mold with non-stick cooking spray. You'll see below that Penn & Teller used a Valentine's Day-style heart-shaped cake pan. I think using the human heart mold improves on their concept one-hundred percent!
My human heart mold isn't large enough to handle the whole Penn & Teller recipe, so I halved the following recipe. I also altered the blood by using raspberry syrup and Chambord raspberry liqueur instead of the grenadine, since I was using raspberry gelatin. After the mold is set, I turn out the heart and set it on a crystal pedestal plate and use food coloring and a small brush to accent the veins. I even use red food coloring to shade the contours (it really does make a difference). I use my large Psycho-style butcher knive to sever and serve, as they suggest below.
Otherwise, I have left the original Penn & Teller recipe intact below...it's rather long, but VERY descriptive and detailed...
Penn & Teller's Bleeding Heart
Penn & Teller's How to Play With Your Food© 1992 by Buggs & Rudy Discount Corp.
The title says it all. It's the perfect coup de grace for your
intimate dinner at home. As your guests sip their coffee, you unveil a
glistening pink gelatin heart on a pedestal cake stand. Then you whip
out a carving knife and stab it. Dark, gooey blood issues majestically
from the wound. You cut dainty slices off the lobes of the heart and
flip them onto dessert plates. You hold each portion under the oozing
gash until it is nicely sauced with gore, add a dollop of whipped cream,
4 cups of water
four 3-oz. boxes or two 6-oz boxes of peach (pink; think of lung tissue)
or strawberry (redder; think of livers and hearts) gelatin dessert mix.
4 envelopes unflavored gelatin
one 12-ounce can unsweetened evaporated milk
1/2 cup grenadine syrup
1 cup light corn syrup
one small bottle (0.3 fl. oz.) red food coloring
3 drops blue food coloring
one 1-gallon food-storage bag (the plain kind without the zip closure)
6 1/2 cup heart-shaped gelatin mold or cake pan
Boil the water. Put the packaged gelatin dessert and unflavored
gelatin in a bowl and pour the boiling water over it, stirring
constantly. Cool to room temperature (very important or the next
step may present problems). Stir in the condensed milk. (They mean the evaporated milk listed in the ingredients. This is an error in the original book. - Britta) Note how it
already is acquiring the color of freshly skinned flesh.
Pour the mixture into the gelatin mold. Cover the bottom of the
mold (this will be the top when you serve it) with a layer about half
an inch think. Refrigerate until it gels firmly.
Meanwhile, prepare a nice bladder of blood. Stir together
the corn syrup, grenadine, and food colorings (we do it right in the
measuring cup to save dish washing--every erg saved in preparation is
an erg one can use to enjoy the Payoff). For the bladder (the bag
that keeps the blood together inside the mass of gelatin) take the
gallon-size food-storage bag and turn it inside out. Pour the
blood mixture into one corner of the bag and twist it closed so that no
air bubble is caught between the sauce and the twist. Tie a knot in
the twisted plastic. Adjust the position of the knot so that when the
bag lies on the counter, it's about 1 1/2 to 2
inches high, and tighten the knot. With a pair of scissors, snip off
the frilly extra plastic outside the knot.
When the gelatin on the bottom of the mold is stiff and firm,
position the bladder of blood in the mold, with the point of the
bag just inside the point of the heart. Make sure there is at
least 3/4" of space between all sides of the bag and the walls of the
mold (this will ensure that your guests don't see clues ahead of
time). Pour in the remaining gelatin until the mold is as full as
you can handle. Don't worry if you see a little of the blood-bladder
grazing the surface of the gelatin, as longs as it doesn't project too
much; the side you are looking at now will be the bottom when you serve
Refrigerate until gelled firmly to the texture of fine, lean organ meat. It takes about 4 hours.
To unmold, put about 2 1/2 inches of hot,
but not boiling water in your sink. Set your mold in the water so that
the water comes just below the edge of the mold for 15 to 20 seconds;
the time depends on the thickness of the mold pan. Remove the mold
from the water, and run the blade of a knife around the edge of the
gelatin. Invert your serving platter, ideally a white pedestal cake
plate, on top and hold it firmly in place. Then use both hands to turn
over the mold and the plate. Remove the mold; you may need to tap or
shake the mold slightly to free the gelatin.
The blood looks prettiest when it flows over white plates, doilies,
and table linen, which it may stain permanently--but what the hell,
it's the effect that matters. To serve, use a nice, big
Psycho-style chef's knife and stab the side of the gelatin about
one third of the way up from the pointed end of the heart. Twist the
knife slightly, and blood will start to ooze out. Bare your teeth like
a Marine jabbing with bayonet, and widen the wound. When the blood is
coming at a good slip, grab a dessert plate, and cut a slice from one
of the lobes of the heart. Flip it onto the plate, and drizzle it with
blood by holding it under the edge of the pedestal. Add whipped cream
This dish delights all five senses:
A NOTE ABOUT SAFETY: Be careful not to serve pieces of the food-storage bag to your friends. They could choke to death. We want to help you become a more exciting host, not a criminally negligent klutz. If, on the other hand, you're deliberately trying to murder your guests, please think up your own modus operandi. Don't try anything that might implicate a couple of innocent fun-book writers.
Enjoy & Happy Haunting!