What is it about the changing of the seasons that brings out the child in all of us?! I am blessed to have two boys that are full of life and beyond excited about all that Fall brings, but there is something about the word ‘Halloween’ that stops a four year old in his tracks and brings the biggest grin of excitement to his face! With the falling of the leaves brings so many fun activities and we are so excited to have Melody Pierce, one of our very own market vendors and owner of Dough Re Mi Designs Bakery, share her favorite spooky holiday recipes. Read on to find out how to make a fun, easy and delicious treat that will be sure to get you and your family in the Halloween spirit!
I am very excited to be guest-blogging for Shop Small Fort Worth this month! Any day I get to talk or write about sugar is definitely a good day, but writing a blog in October is especially exciting because in all honesty, it’s my favorite month, in my favorite season, and holds what is, in my opinion, the best holiday of the year: Halloween!
At this point, it might be appropriate for me to confess that I am a bit, how should I say, Halloween obsessed. It’s not the scary, gory kind of Halloween I like so much. I’ve never even seen a horror movie. I’m a huge wimp, so…
But it’s the cute “baby sitting inside a hand-carved pumpkin wearing cat ears” kind of Halloween that makes my heart flutter. I mean, let’s just say, that if I was going to be stranded on a desert island and had to choose between bringing Santa Clause or The Great Pumpkin, I’d likely grab The Great Pumpkin and be happily on my way.
Sorry Santa. I probably won’t get any presents this year. I completely understand.
It’s impossible to ignore the general awesomeness of the Fall season. There’s the subtle change in the weather (even if it IS barely noticeable here in Texas), the colors, the excitement of the kids when they pick out their costumes, the lively festivities, the tricks, and of course, all of the treats!
Which brings me to the reason I’m here in the first place. This month, I have a fun and easy recipe that is perfect for festive get-togethers. Commonly called “Buckeye Balls” in my house, this recipe is a favorite of my family’s and is easily dressed up for the Fall and Halloween season. The best part about this project is that you have one easy recipe that will yield two different, but equally cute confections. You can make both the spiders and pumpkins, or just make a bunch of one or the other. The choice is up to you!
Either way, throw on an apron, roll up your sleeves, prepare to get messy and to have some fun!
Making the Peanut Butter Mixture
Melt the butter completely in a small saucepan over low heat.
Combine the melted butter and 2 cups of the powdered sugar in a medium mixing bowl and beat until smooth. I used my Kitchen Aid stand mixer for this but if you don’t have one, a hand-held mixer will work just fine.
Add the peanut butter, beating until combined. Stir in milk and vanilla. At this point, your mixture will be pretty thin and fluid. That’s just want you want. Now, let’s thicken it up.
Add the remaining 1 ½ - 1 ¾ cup of powdered sugar a little at a time. Continue mixing and adding sugar until the mixture has thickened to a play dough consistency. You should be able to press the mixture with your finger so that it leaves an indent, but does not stick to your finger.
So, your mixture is made and now it’s time to get rolling…literally. If you have decided to make both spiders and pumpkins, divide your peanut butter mixture and set half of it aside for the pumpkins.
Rolling Your Spiders
For the spiders, you are going to roll two balls of the peanut butter mixture. One ball will be larger and about the size of a silver dollar. This will be the spider’s body. The other will be a bit smaller, about the size of a nickel, and will be the spider’s head.
Place your peanut butter balls on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Next, grab your bag of pretzels and break off 1 inch sections. Try to get straight sections if you can. Place one piece of pretzel into the center of the larger ball leaving about ½ inch of the pretzel stick exposed. Attach the head by taking the smaller peanut butter ball and placing it on the exposed portion of the pretzel stick.
Oh, these are looking cute already!
This next step takes a little time. Honestly, it’s a bit tedious. But it’s worth it so KEEP GOING!
Use a knife and cut off the 2 rounded sections of one pretzel to make 2 legs. You will need 8 legs (or 4 pretzels) for each spider.
NOTE: I initially began making the legs by cutting off the sections with a nice sharp knife, but alas, I got impatient. Guess what? You can snap off these sections of the pretzels and it works just as well and goes a WHOLE lot faster. I recommend snapping instead of cutting. Just so you know.
With the most curved portion of the “pretzel legs” going into the body, press 4 pretzels into each side of the spider. You may need to snap off small pieces of pretzel from the bottom of some of the legs so that they are flush with the tray. Set your assembled spiders aside. In the end, they should look something like this…
Begin by rolling your mixture into balls the size of a quarter. But remember, pumpkins come in all shapes and sizes. So, if you want to up the cute factor, roll them into various shapes and sizes- some large and small, some short and thick, and some tall and thin. Use your pinky finger to make an indentation on the top of each pumpkin. This is where your “stem” will go after you’ve dipped them in chocolate.
Next, take a wooden skewer and hold it vertically next to your formed pumpkins. Firmly press the skewer into the sides of your pumpkins four or five times, moving around the pumpkin with each new impression. Don’t be shy. Make your impressions deep so that they can be seen through the chocolate after dipping.
Place your pumpkins on the baking sheet along with your spiders and place them in the FREEZER for 20-30 minutes.