October 28, 2010

Tis' Near Halloween......

It's almost time....for little witches, ghosts and goblins to be out n' about on Halloween night....the excitement of dressing in their chosen little costume for the evening and strolling the neighborhood, taking in all the decorations & lights ... seeing how full their pumpkins will be at the end of the night with all of those delectable chocolate bars and packages of candy corn. Halloween was magical when I was a small child. My neighborhood was Briarwood which consisted of three streets...long streets with towering pine trees and ranch homes built in the 1950's.

We actually went to each house believe it or not. Perhaps things were a bit tamer during that era. We were bunny rabbits, ballerinas, gypsies, cowboys and cowgirls....specifically Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, black cats dressed in our black dance leotards and tights with little black masks. Miss Helen made her famous popcorn balls every year, along with her spiced tea. The nurse who lived at the end of our street, Hartsdale, made autumn punch and always invited her little trick or treaters in to sit and have a cup of punch as we told her about our costumes. Then off we continued to fill our pumpkins and wave to each other as we walked from house to house. The jack o' lanterns were glowing from windows and was a kinder, gentler way of life and I would love to think it least it does as The Maine House! I am a lucky girl to have these as my Halloween memories!

The colonists cultivated the first white pumpkins, and christened them with descriptive names to include Green Ghost and Big Moon. 

Apple Caramel Cupcakes
1 package spice or carrot cake mix
2 cups chopped, peeled tart apples
20 caramels
3 tablespoons of milk
1 cup finely chopped pecans, toasted
12 Popsicle sticks

Prepare cake batter according to package directions; fold in apples.
Fill cupcake pan 3/4 full with batter. Bake at 350 degree oven for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing to wire rack to cool completely.
In a saucepan, cook the caramels and milk over low heat until smooth. Spread over cupcakes. Sprinkle with toasted pecans. Insert Popsicle sticks in the center of each cupcake to resemble caramel apples.

Banana Nut Cupcakes
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup vegetable oil
4 large ripe bananas               
  1 cup chopped pecans
          1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add the eggs and oil and stir just until the dry ingredients are moistened; do not beat. Stir in the banana, pecans, and vanilla. Divide the batter among the cupcake holders and bake for 23 to 28 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cake layers in the pans for 10 minutes, and then place them out onto a rack to cool completely. While the cake cools, make the frosting.

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup butter (1 stick),  room temperature
1 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped pecans

In a bowl, blend together the cream cheese and butter. Gradually add the confectioners' sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla. Stir in the pecans, or reserve them to sprinkle over the cupcakes. Fill and frost the cupcakes when they are completely cooled.

When witches go riding, and black cats are seen...the moon laughs and whispers, 'tis near Halloween. -19th century Halloween postcard

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