Happy Samhain, witches! It's been a spell since I've posted, but I've been a bit swamped with psychic faires and Maude Squad events--I'll make a separate post with info about all that goodness!
In the meantime, here's a little morsel to keep you satiated during the best time of the year. I'm offering a full feast of fall delights to feed your coven this Samhain.
There's five desserts here in total: Plum Torte, Cinnamon Sugar Palmier, Pumpkin Cakes, Apple Cider Donuts, and Mexican Hot Chocolate Cupcakes (for an honorable nod to Día de los Muertos).
So let's break it down into small bites, shall we?
Autumn Plum Torte
This recipe was one my mother actually sent me via The New York Times. It was simple to assemble and delicious as a finished project. The crust reminded me of a snickerdoodle--but it had all the moisture and sourness of the plums to give it a special kick.
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 2 eggs
- a dozen purple plums, halved and pitted
- sugar, lemon juice, and cinnamon for topping
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Start by creaming the sugar and butter, and then gradually add the other ingredients--dry first and then the eggs one at a time.
Then, spoon the batter into a springform pan (anywhere from 8-10 inches). Add the plums by placing them on top of the batter. Then sprinkle it with sugar, lemon juice, and cinnamon on top.
Bake for an hour (making sure to rotate it halfway through), and cool before eating.
Cinnamon Sugar Palmier
If you're trying to make a bunch of things at once, it's sometimes easiest to use pre-made ingredients where you can. Palmier is one of those recipes where sometimes you can get away with it. Though it's always best to make your own puff pastry, if you're strapped for time, but trying to make a sweet snack, palmier are my go to for pre-made pastry dough. You can find it in most grocery stores in the frozen food aisle by pie dough, etc.
- a batch of puff pastry dough OR one package of store-bought puff pastry dough
- 4 tbs cinnamon
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup coarse sugar like sanding sugar or clear sugar sprinkles
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. (Note: if you're using store-bought puff pastry, you'll have to make sure to thaw it before you begin.)
Get out your dough and roll out a rectangle. Combine the sugars and cinnamon and sprinkle it generously over the dough. Then, fold the right and left ends of the dough towards the center so that they meet. Repeat the act of sprinkling the sugar on top and then fold the dough in half like a book. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Once the dough is chilled, cut it into slices about a half an inch thick. Lay out the slices on parchment-paper-lined trays--they should look like little hearts. At this point, I'll even sprinkle a little more cinnamon sugar on top so they get really caramelized.
Then, bake for about 15 minutes, making sure to rotate the pans halfway through. Let cool before serving--be especially careful moving them while they're hot because of the burnt sugar!
Apple Cider Donuts
This is one of my favorite fall recipes to break out as soon as the mornings get colder. It's so quick, and easy, and always a crowdpleaser.
- 2 cups flour
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup apple cider
- 1/4 cup milk
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
Cinnamon Sugar Topping:
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and prepare your donut pan by lightly greasing it with butter or baking spray.
Mix together the dry ingredients first in one bowl and the wet ingredients in another. Gradually add the wet to the dry until they're fully incorporated.
Fill a piping bag with the batter and pipe it into the donut pans about 3/4 of the way full. Bake them 8-10 minutes until they spring back when touched. Let them cool a bit before coating with the topping.
For the topping, mix together the sugars and cinnamon in one bowl and leave the melted butter in another. Take each donut and dunk them into the melted butter and then put them into the cinnamon-sugar bowl. Make sure they're fully coated in the cinnamon-sugar before moving on to the next. Once they're all coated, they're ready to eat!
Piper's Pumpkin Cakes
This recipe comes from my new favorite cookbook--The Wizard's Dessert Cookbook. This book is written in such a cute, fantastical way and has recipes from every fantasy book, show, movie, or game you can think of! This recipe pays homage to Charmed and Piper Halliwell.
- 80 grams flour
- pinch of cinnamon
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- pinch of baking soda
- 400 grams pumpkin puree
- 100 grams granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 5 fl oz unsweetened condensed milk (to be honest I used sweetened and preferred that over unsweetened)
Preheat your oven to 360 degrees. Mix the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet in another, then gradually add the wet to the dry until incorporated.
The pour the batter into cupcake tins or a greased, shaped baking pan like my Nordic Ware pan. Fill the cavities 2/3 of the way full and bake for 40 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through. Allow to cool before eating.
Mexican Hot Chocolate Cupcakes
Día de los Muertos is a beautiful Mexican holiday that directly follows Samhain and gives us an opportunity to reach out to our loved ones that have passed. The veil is thin around Samhain, but Día de los Muertos isn't about fearing spirits--rather, reaching out to those we miss. A big part of celebrating includes food and marigolds (part of the Calendula family that I've mentioned before as a magical flower and herb). So I wanted to encapsulate those elements in this dessert.
Once again, if you're strapped for time to make a full feast, I don't think there's any shame in reaching for box mix--the real key is adding an extra egg to the batter and always making your own icing. You can even make the batter extra fluffy by adding chocolate pudding mix. I'd go for Devil's Food cake.
Spiced Chocolate Cake Batter:
- Devil's Food batter OR box mix (add an extra egg and/or pudding mix if using box mix)
- 1 tbsp cayenne (and more to taste depending on your desired spice level)
- 1 tbsp cinnamon (and more to taste depending on your desired spice level)
Cinnamon Chocolate Buttercream:
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
- 3 cups powdered sugar (add more if the consistency is too soft)
- 1/4 cup cold coffee
- 1/4 cup cocoa (add more to taste)
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 1 tbsp vanilla
+ dried or fresh marigolds for decoration
Mix in the cayenne and cinnamon to your batter--add more if you want a stronger, spicier flavor. Then bake them off as you normally would that batter.
While they cool, begin your buttercream by creaming the butter and sugar together with a mixer. Add in the various flavoring elements and feel free to add more to achieve your preferred flavor. If the wet ingredients are making it too soft, add more sugar and/or cocoa. It will have the right consistency when it's still soft enough to be pliable, but firm enough to hold some peaks.
Use a star tip to pipe the icing on top of the cooled cupcakes and then top with marigolds--feel free to sprinkle some cayenne on top as well for an extra pop of color and flavor.
And there you have it--a full, autumnal feast for the most magical night of the year! Plus all of this can be pulled together in just a couple hours if you time it just right and add a dash of magic!