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A Party Host’s Guide To Halloween

Inventing new and exciting recipes for food is the first hurdle every party host has to address before planning out their event. Besides super bowl parties, Halloween is the only time you can truly play with your food without it seeming out of place. The key, however, for most inexperienced party throwers is to not go overboard; after all, the food should in the end taste good and be enjoyable to all the attendees. Here are my favorites for a great Halloween party, but you can spice  them up your own unique way!

 

Purple Sweet Potato Fries

Ingredients

  • 2 large purple potatoes, peeled
  • Olive oil (2 tbsps)
  • Pepper, salt
  • Truffle oil

Recipe

Preheat oven to 450º. Line baking sheet with foil for easy clean up if desired. Set aside. Cut sweet potatoes into french fry sized sticks. Toss with olive oil and spread on prepared baking sheet, being careful to leave room between each fry. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake 15 minutes, then carefully flip and continue baking 15-20 more minutes. Generously season with truffle oil and serve while hot. For the more adventurous, try adding red chili flake, and for a dip, serve with classic yellow mustard.  Serves 2-3.

This is a great appetizer for a wild crowd who does not want to wait to eat with a knife and fork; let the party get rocking with a bunch of deep purple sweet potato fries. Sweet and crispy, with an optional fiery kick (for those adventurous party goers who want to spook their guests), these fries will be a great entry to a Halloween party filled with weird and unexpected goodies. I mean, who has even heard of purple potatoes these days, unless you are a food fanatic. Unconventional yet very closely related to the regular sweet potatoes, purple potatoes are an excellent substitute for this type of party. And they are healthy to top it all off!

Source: Food Network

Source: Food Network

Spicy Spider Devil’s Eggs

Ingredients

  • 12 hard-boiled eggs
  • 4 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 2 tsps mustard
  • Cumin
  • Pickled jalapenos (amount varies)
  • Paprika
  • Black olives

Recipe

Remove shells from eggs and slice in half lengthwise. Separate egg yolks and place into a bowl. Place whites on a separate plate. Add mayo, mustard, jalapenos, salt and pepper, to taste, to yolks and mash together with a fork until creamy and smooth. Sprinkle some cumin to finish. Using a large star tip and resealable plastic bag, pipe the yolk mixture back into each egg, enough to fill yolk holes completely. Dust tops with paprika. Cut pitted black olives into small eights and top the eggs with halves to make them look like spiders’ legs and body. Refrigerate. Serve cold.

Who doesn’t love a bite of the devil on Halloween? Deviled eggs, especially with some heat, are another great way to reshape a classic dish for a spooky party such as this. Black olives on top as decoration will add not only flavor but flare to this relatively simple dish to make from scratch. Every attendee will jump all over these half-devils, and there will be a surprise waiting inside for their mouths. I am sure these eggs will leave the plate like hotcakes. Just make sure to include some water to serve with that, in case someone does not appreciate the devilish goodness

Source: Yummly

Source: Yummly

Spiced Brownies

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups (155 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon (5 grams) table salt
  • 2 tablespoons (10 grams) dark unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons chipotle powder (I didn’t have this and used smoky spicy paprika, with a very similar flavor profile, instead) for the spicy version
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon for the spicy version
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom for the spicy version
  • 11 ounces (310 grams) dark chocolate (60 to 72% cacao), coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup (2 sticks, 8 ounces or 225 grams) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • 1 1/2 cups (300 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (105 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 5 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) pure vanilla extract

Recipe

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter the sides and bottom of a 9 x 13 glass or light-colored metal baking pan. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, salt, cocoa powder and spices (chipotle, cinnamon and cardamom), if you’re using them, together. Put the chocolate, butter, and instant espresso powder in a large bowl and set it over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and smooth. Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water and add the sugars. Whisk until completely combined, then remove the bowl from the pan. The mixture should be room temperature. Add 3 eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Add the remaining eggs and whisk until combined. Add the vanilla and stir until combined. Do not overbeat the batter at this stage or your brownies will be cakey. Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate mixture. Using a spatula (not a whisk), fold the flour mixture into the chocolate until just a bit of the flour mixture is visible. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake in the center of the oven for 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs sticking to it. Let the brownies cool completely, then cut them into squares and serve.

What a perfect way to end the holiday meal with some spiced up, dense, and rich brownie squares. The key here is that you get to add cardamom and the oh so forbidden cinnamon to a recipe that already features sinfully delicious chocolate. You might even attempt to put some white chocolate ghost decorations on top, or pipe some vanilla frosting and draw spooky or freakish designs that will surely intrigue the crowd. After a festive night of partying, eating, and booing around, there is no better way to end a party than with a surprise treat… or is it a trick after all?

And remember, party hosts, these are only 3 suggestions on how to liven up a party and make Halloween come to your own table. Happy Halloween!

-David Kheyman

Cover photo source.

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