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halloween desserts

Every year my mother-in-law (and father-in-law) host an over the top, super fun and scary Halloween party.  She loves Halloween like I love bacon, which is to say, A LOT.  I volunteered to make the desserts for the party and she was happy to oblige.  I didn’t want to make any of my previous Halloween treats (like these, these, or these), and I couldn’t decide on just one Halloween themed treat (who can?) so I decided to make mini versions of a few different desserts.  It was a lot of work, but I was really proud of the desserts and the final display.  The individual recipes with original source links are below, as well as pictures of the entire dessert table display.

broken glass cupcakes

Broken Glass Cupcakes

Makes 2 dozen cupcakes

1 box devil’s food cake mix
2 tbsp. Red Velvet bakery emulsion

Cream Cheese Frosting
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, room temperature
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup water, or more as needed
15 drops red food coloring
3 drops blue food coloring

Broken Sugar Glass
2 cups water
1 cup light corn syrup
3 1/2 cups white sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Prepare cake mix according to box and add 2 tbsp red velvet bakery emulsion, line cupcake tins with paper cupcake liners.

Divide cake batter between lined cupcake tins.

Bake according to box instructions. Let cool and frost cupcakes with white frosting.

Make the sugar glass. Mix 2 cups water, 1 cup corn syrup, white sugar, and cream of tartar in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Stop stirring and use a candy thermometer and boil sugar syrup until temperature reaches 300 degrees (hard ball). The mixture will thicken as water evaporates. When sugar reaches 300 degrees, quickly pour onto a metal baking pan. Cool until completely hardened. Break into “shards” using a meat mallet.

Make the edible blood. Mix together 1/2 cup corn syrup and cornstarch in a large bowl. Slowly stir in the 1/4 cup of water, adding more if necessary, until the corn syrup mixture has thickened to the consistency of blood. Stir in the red and blue food coloring.

Stab each frosted cupcake with a few shards of broken sugar glass. Drizzle on drops of “blood” to complete the effect.

knife attack brownies

Knife Attack Brownies

Makes 16 individual brownies  

Browned Butter Brownies
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder (spooned into cup to measure, then leveled)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, chilled
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon unbleached all purpose flour

Buttercream Frosting
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks or ½ pound), softened (but not melted!) Ideal texture should be like ice cream.
3-4 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar, SIFTED
¼ teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Up to 4 tablespoons milk or heavy cream
Green food coloring

Beige edible molding clay found at your local craft store

Gumpaste decorations also found at your local craft store

Position rack in bottom third of oven; preheat to 325°F. Line 8x8x2-inch metal baking pan with foil, pressing foil firmly against pan sides and leaving 2-inch overhang. Coat foil with nonstick spray. Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Continue cooking until butter stops foaming and browned bits form at bottom of pan, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; immediately add sugar, cocoa, 2 teaspoons water, vanilla, and 1/4 teaspoon (generous) salt. Stir to blend. Let cool 5 minutes (mixture will still be hot). Add eggs to hot mixture 1 at a time, beating vigorously to blend after each addition. When mixture looks thick and shiny, add flour and stir until blended. Beat vigorously 60 strokes. Transfer batter to prepared pan.

Bake brownies until toothpick inserted into center comes out almost clean (with a few moist crumbs attached), about 25 minutes. Cool in pan on rack. Using foil overhang, lift brownies from pan. Cut into 4 strips. Cut each strip crosswise into 4 brownies. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

Make butter cream: Beat butter for a few minutes with a mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed. Add 3 cups of powdered sugar and turn your mixer on the lowest speed (so the sugar doesn’t blow everywhere) until the sugar has been incorporated with the butter. Increase mixer speed to medium and add vanilla extract, salt, food coloring and 2 tablespoons of milk/cream and beat for 3 minutes. If your frosting needs a more stiff consistency, add remaining sugar. If your frosting needs to be thinned out, add remaining milk 1 tablespoons at a time.

Using a Wilton #234 tip pipe buttercream onto brownies to look like grass. Using edible molding clay mold arms with hands and insert a toothpick into the end of each arm with a little bit sticking out at the end to poke into the top of the brownie. Wrap a knife in the hand of each arm and place in the center of decorated brownie.

pumpkin mousse parfaits

Pumpkin Mousse Parfaits

Makes 20 individual servings per the photo

Caramel Sauce
Torani caramel syrup

Pumpkin Mousse
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 (15-oz) can pure pumpkin, (not pie filling)
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tsp ground cinnamon
⅛ tsp ground ginger
⅛ tsp ground nutmeg

Brown Sugar Whipped Cream
2 cups heavy cream
¼ cup brown sugar, packed

Cookie Layer
6 graham cracker sheets
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 Tbsp brown sugar

Prepare Mousse: Combine ingredients in a medium bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on medium until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Place in refrigerator while you prepare the remaining ingredients.

Prepare Whipped Cream: In a tall bowl whip cream with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Add brown sugar and whip until stiff peaks form (when you lift mixer out of bowl, cream stands up on the end of the beater). Place in refrigerator while you prepare the next layer.

Prepare Cookie Layer: In a small bowl combine ingredients, smash graham crackers with a fork. Continue mashing until you have one cohesive mixture.

Assemble: Add a heaping tablespoon of cookie mixture to trifle dish. Add a heaping tablespoon of mousse. Add a heaping tablespoon of whipped cream. Pour 2 tablespoons of caramel sauce into dish. Repeat layers. Sprinkle top with a little leftover graham cracker topping.

dirt cups

Graveyard Dirt Cups

Makes 20 Small Cups (see photo for relative size)

Dirt Cups
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 (3.5 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
1-3/4 cups milk
1/2 (12 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
1/2 package chocolate sandwich cookies with creme filling

Black candy melts
White candy melts

Buttercream frosting recipe (see above in Knife Attack Brownies)

Mummies with Pumpkins
Gumpaste decorations found at your local craft store


Chop cookies very fine in food processor. The white cream will disappear.
Mix butter, cream cheese, and sugar in bowl.
In a large bowl mix milk, pudding and whipped topping together.
Combine pudding mixture and cream mixture together.
Using a disposable pastry bag with round tip, or just a spoon, pipe filling into cups. Sprinkle the tops with a heaping tablespoon of the crushed OREO.

On a sheet of parchment paper using a #2 or #3 tip, pipe various tombstones using black candy melts. Once hardened peel from parchment paper, flip over and pipe decorations using #1 or #2 tip with white candy melts. Once hardened place in dirt cups against one side.

Using the Wilton grass tip, pipe small sections of green buttercream in the corner and next to the tombstones. Place gumpaste mummies. Chill until ready to serve.

mummy oreos

Mummy OREOs

Wilton Mummy Cookie Mold
Yellow candy melts
Bright white candy melts
Black candy melts
2 Small paintbrushes
OREO cookies

Using a small brush, paint melted black candy melts into the pupils and eye backgrounds of each mold. Then fill eye cavities with melted yellow candy melts. Refrigerate for 20 minutes to harden.

Once hardened, fill cavities about half full with melted white candy melts and press an OREO cookie into each cavity, pushing down until the white melts are even with the top of the mold. Tap GENTLY to even out the candy melts and refrigerate for 20 minutes to harden.

To remove Mummies turn mold over onto a cookie sheet. Mummies should fall out, or tap gently to release. If you have to continue to tap then they are not ready and should be refrigerated a little while longer.

Dessert Table

Display items purchased at Micheals Craft Store

halloween dessert tablebroken glass cupcakes

halloween knife brownies

pumpkin mousse parfaits

dirt cups