Sunday, November 11, 2012

Halloween Dinner

Chocolate Wasted Cake

Halloween is, hands down, my favorite holiday.  I had a few larger parties for a couple of years, but Michael and I (mostly Michael) are too uptight about cleanliness and there was just too much glitter left everywhere.  So I switched to a small dinner party.  We like this much better - I can create a more focused menu and we can really catch up with our friends.

I like to try to create “dark” menus, but not too kitchy - just a little kitchy.  This year the menu was:
- blue cheese spread with rosemary crackers
- guacamole with black beans (and chips)
- grapes with cheddar cheese and garlic and olive oil crackers (all bought)
- french onion soup with rye bread and humbolt fog blue cheese
Main dishes:
- caramelized brussels sprouts with croutons and bacon
- balsamic roasted chicken
- chocolate wasted cake
- autumn sangria

I was pretty happy with most of it.  The appetizers especially - the rosemary and parm crackers were super yummy.  And I used my halloween cookie cutters to cut them into pumpkins and bats.  The blue cheese spread was good, but strong and would’ve been better for a larger party.

Rosemary and Parmesan Crackers in Halloween shapes
Blue Cheese Spread
The guacamole was incredibly good!  I think I may use this as my go to guacamole recipe.  It’s a bit soupy because it was supposed to be “swamp like”, but the extra lime and black beans added such a depth of flavor.  Plus, it never turned brown!

Guacamole with Black Beans
I liked the soup, but I didn’t find it all that special.  It was a basic french onion soup.  I did like it with the rye bread.  The cheese I got was a goat blue and I felt the flavors went really well together.

French Onion soup with rye bread and goat cheese
For the main dishes I made caramelized brussels sprouts (see my previous post regarding my love of fall veggies) and Balsamic Roasted Chicken.  The brussels sprouts dish had promise, but it just didn’t quite deliver what I wanted.  I think I should’ve roasted the sprouts longer as they just weren’t caramelized enough for me.  Or maybe added some maple syrup.  And I would definitely use less bread next time.  I was in love with the bread idea and added WAY more than the recipe called for.  Next time - just stick to the recipe.

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts
The chicken was pretty tasty.  I used drumsticks and wings so that people could choose white or dark meat.  It was just slightly too dry I think - I still don’t have the cooking chicken thing down yet.  I always overcook it.  But the sauce was yummy and served on the side, made for a great sauce - all dark, thick and oozy.  The best part was the next day I shredded all the chicken off the bones and we ate it on sandwiches with the sauce.  That was super yummy!

For a drink I made an autumn sangria and I have to say, this was one of my favorites of the night.  I wasn’t sure if I would like it cause I’ve never been a huge sangria fan, but this was tasty.  We used all the fruits listed in the recipe and Marc Cellars Pinot Noir and Central Market’s sparkling pear and apple juice.  It was sweet and refreshing and tasted very fall.

Autumn Sangria
And finally.. the cake.  This was the first recipe I decided on.  It was going to be my halloween party cake since I first pinned it in way back in like February.  And let me just say, it did not disappoint!  I wasn’t sure about the actual cake part since when I read the recipe there were no eggs - which I thought odd, but it was really, really good!  Almost like a brownie, but not overly sweet, which was good considering the rest of the stuff on the cake.  I forgot to drizzle it with liquor, which I can only imagine would have made it even better.  But like I said, it was fantastic and moist on it’s own.  And I added a layer of caramel to the middle since I knew I would be using Twix and I wanted to connect everything.  For the top I added Butterfingers, KitKat, Twix, Hershey’s miniatures, Reese’s Pieces, and Ghirardelli 60% dark chocolate chips.  And thanks to Patti at PattiCakes for the most delicious chocolate frosting ever.  Her frosting is so good, I thought ‘why try to make it myself, just get some of Patti’s!’  The cake is hard to cut, but it doesn’t really matter.  Everything tastes better all piled together anyway.  But it is a sugar rush!  I had SO much energy after my piece I made everyone play Just Dance for a few minutes.  :)  The energy was helpful though when I needed to clean up after everyone left.  If you’re a candy fan, I would highly recommend trying this cake, just once.  It’s just so decadent and fun!

Chocolate Wasted Cake

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