Halloween is becoming more popular every year as a celebration. But it is no longer just for kids, adults love it too! Whether you are hosting children or adults, these treats will please everyone at the party.
Reese’s Pieces Shortbread
Although children are not permitted to come to school with peanut butter products, I have noticed that those who are not allergic to peanuts love Reese’s pieces. This version of shortbread is “Reese’s Pieces” in disguise.
3/4 cup (175 mL) butter, softened
3/4 cup (175 mL) peanut butter
1 cup (250 mL) packed brown sugar
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla
2 cups (500 mL) all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups (375 mL) semi-sweet chocolate chips (make sure you use pure chocolate)
Preheat oven to 350˚F (180˚C). Line the bottom of a nine-inch (23 cm) square pan with parchment paper. In a mixing bowl using electric mixer beat butter, peanut butter and brown sugar together until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually beat in flour and salt until well blended. Spoon into prepared pan and bake about 25 to 30 minutes, or just until set. Remove to cooling rack and immediately sprinkle surface evenly with chocolate chips. The heat from the square will melt the chips. Once the chocolate chips are melted, smooth decoratively into swirls with a knife. Cool. Cut into 25 squares.
Witch’s Favourite Apple Pie Squares
Similar in taste to apple pie, these easy to make apple bars will be popular with any witch in the crowd, young or old.
2 large Cortland, empire or golden delicious apples, peeled, quartered, thinly sliced
1/3 cup (80 mL) soft butter (leave out overnight if possible)
1 cup (250 mL) brown sugar
3/4 cup (175 mL) all-purpose flour
1 tsp (5 mL) ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp (2 mL) baking powder
1/4 tsp (1 mL) each, baking soda and salt
Preheat oven to 350˚F (180˚C). Line nine-inch (23 cm) square pan with parchment paper. Peel, quarter and thinly slice apples. Set aside. In separate bowl beat butter and brown sugar until light and creamy. Gradually beat in eggs until smooth. Beat in flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Fold in prepared apples. Spread batter into prepared baking pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Cool on cooling rack. Once cool, sprinkle lightly with sifted icing sugar. Cut into 25 squares.
Pumpkin Pie Squares
If you like pumpkin pie, you will love these spicy mouthfuls! Rich and delicious, these are a cross between pumpkin pie and cheesecake – two favourites in one, but easier to pick up and devour.
1 ½ cups (375 mL) graham wafer crumbs
1/4 cup (60 mL) melted butter
1 tsp (5 mL) ground cinnamon
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Filling:
1 ½ cups (375 mL) pure pumpkin purée (not to be confused with pumpkin pie filling) or one 14-oz (156 mL) can
8 oz (250 g) light cream cheese
1/4 cup (60 mL) all-purpose flour
1 cup (250 mL) lightly packed brown sugar
2 tbsp (30 mL) pure maple syrup or liquid honey
1 tbsp (15 mL) whisky (optional)
1 tsp (5 mL) each, ground cinnamon and ginger
1/2 tsp (2 mL) each, ground nutmeg and cloves
1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
Preheat oven to 350˚F (180˚C). Line nine-inch (23 cm) square baking pan with parchment paper. In mixing bowl, stir together graham wafer crumbs, melted butter and cinnamon until well combined. Pack evenly into bottom of prepared pan. Bake 10 minutes. Cool.
Meanwhile using electric mixer or food processor, beat together pumpkin, cream cheese, flour, brown sugar, eggs, maple syrup, whisky (if using), cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and salt until smooth. Pour pumpkin mixture evenly over prepared base. Bake in preheated oven 40 to 45 minutes. Cool on cooling rack before cutting into 25 squares.
Jan Main is an author, cooking instructor and caterer ~ email@example.com