Killer Klowns Kotton Kandy Ice Cream

Sometime during my childhood, probably sometime around the peak of Joe Bob Brigg’s Monstervision, I remember catching a movie late one night featuring cartoonish yet malicious clowns that turned people into cotton candy and sucked the insides up through crazy straws.  I would later discover this film, in its entirety, to be Killer Klowns From Outer Space.  It’s one of those drive-in B movies that’s so bad it’s amazing.  Deaths by shadow puppets, popcorn kernels that morph into monstrosities, tracker balloon animal dogs, and any other twisted clown trope you could imagine in bright candy colors.  Right up the alley of something that would grace the space of Monstervision on TNT.  While I’d long forgotten most of the antics, the imagery of the cotton candy corpses never left me and I revisited the film recently, sparked by reading the news of International Clown Week.

killer klowns

killer klowns ice cream

Also last week began a seven day streak of high temperatures reaching over 100F, and this in conjunction with Houston’s notorious humidity has marked an uncomfortable summer.  Ridiculous heat and coulrophobia spoke to my muse, I suppose, because I was inspired to recreate those cotton candy pods..just in a cooler format.

I don’t have an ice creamer maker, and frankly don’t want to purchase one.  So instead I concocted a super fast no churn recipe that uses only four ingredients.

Killer Klowns Kotton Kandy No Churn Ice Cream

-1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk

-1 Tablespoon cotton candy flavoring (I used Lorann’s, which can be found online or at Michael’s)

-2 cups cold heavy whipping cream

-Fluorescent pink food coloring (I used Betty Crocker’s Neon Gel)

Steps:

1) Line a loaf pan with parchment paper and set aside.

2) In a medium bowl, mix sweetened condensed milk and cotton candy flavoring.  Stir in food coloring.  For this part, you will add a LOT.  It needs to be dark to get it to that bright pink from the film, and this will lighten considerable in the next step.

3) In separate, large bowl, beat the two cups of heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks form.  Then fold in cotton candy mixture until combined.  Be gentle in this step.

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4) Pour mixture into loaf pan, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the freezer.  Freeze for 6-8 hours and enjoy!

Notes: No churn ice cream is a lot more fragile than regular ice cream.  It will melt very quickly and is a bit more fragile.  Also, feel free to add more or less cotton candy flavoring.  Personally, this stuff is strong and anymore than a tablespoon starts to give it more of a bubblegum flavor.  Don’t like cotton candy at all?  Sub in vanilla extract instead.

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This stuff is so creamy you’ll hardly notice it’s made differently.

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Friday the 13th Mini Pies

Guess what the date is this Friday?  Friday the 13th!  If you haven’t checked your calendar yet, next month also boasts a Friday the 13th.  Two in a row! Growing up, this was a day guaranteed to air marathons of the films on cable.  Some years, you could find marathons of the television series.  Those marathons seemed to have waned over the years; I’ve checked my cable guide and can’t find a single showing on basic cable this Friday.  Instead, I’ll force my boxed set upon my poor friends.  To compensate, I’ll bring along personal sized cherry pie.

Jason Voorhees pie

Things you’ll need:
2 (2 count) packages of refrigerated pie crusts
4 cups of red pie filling (cherry, strawberry rhubarb, etc)
1 egg, whisked

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Grease 12 muffin cups.

2. Flour your work space. Roll out a single pie crust (keep rest of pie crust in fridge until ready to use).  Use a four-inch, round cookie cutter to cut out circle of dough.  Don’t have this? Neither do I. I used a lid of a yogurt container.  Press each circle of dough into the bottom of each muffin cup so that a little rim of dough sticks out of the top.  Repeat until all 12 cups are filled.

3. Fill each cup with pie filling, approx 1/4 cup, until nearly filled.

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4. Here’s the creative part.  Topping the pie. Roll out the remaining dough.  To make the Jason Voorhees hockey mask: I don’t have a miniature oval or circle cookie cutter, so I took a small spoon and traced the shape with a knife.  Then used the knife to cut out the eye holes.  For smaller holes I just pressed down with the knife and gave a small twist, following the shape in the mask as much as possible with the small dough canvas.  A cookie cutter I’m sure would have given a much cleaner appearance, as would using something like a straw for the eyes.  But, you make do with what you have, right? Place pieces on top of filling.  You can cut out any shape you wish or even make a small lattice.  I attempted a machete, but it never quite worked out how I wished.

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5. Use a pastry brush to brush the tops of each pie with the whisked egg.  Then bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the filling begins to bubble and the crust is lightly golden.

6.  Remove from oven and let cool in pan for at least 15 minutes.  Then gently lift out each pie from muffin tin.  If it doesn’t give as easily, carefully run a knife around the edges of each pie to loosen before removing from tin.  Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate.

Cooling pie

Happy Friday the 13th!

Cannibal Dinner Party

So last night was the season five premiere of AMC’s The Walking Dead.  Did you watch?  Between last season’s finale with heavy hints of cannibalism, the Hannibal tv series, and the very excellent film We Are What We Are (2013) I’d been imspired to create a cannibal themed meal of my own.

I admit, I took a lot of shortcuts and the end result was a hybrid of classy Hannibal and southern Texas Chain Saw Massacre.

Cannibal dinner

 

The meal itself consisted of a bbq spread complete with chopped beef stuffed into a custom made rib cage, broccoli cheese casserole, cole slaw, loaded mashed potatoes and beans.  Very southern, right?  But then I decided to amuse myself putting the potatoes in a martini glass and topping with the beef, riffing off of the loaded baked potatoes commonly found in bbq joints.  My favorite piece of the entire meal may have been the cheese tray, however.

Flayed skin skull

Take a plastic store bought skull (make sure you wash this well prior to using), smear your favorite spread evenly over the service, and layer on prosciutto.  For this one I used a cream cheese chive spread.  My particular skull wasn’t thrilled to participate so he refused to stand up, but putting a little blob of the spread on the tray and directly setting the skull on it worked well to keep him in place.  This particular “Flayed Skin” appetizer is versatile, and has the added bonus of amusing and grossing out guests.

Cannibal dinner

Of course dinner couldn’t be completed without dessert, so a fruit tray was served alongside severed finger cupcakes.  You can find the royal icing fingers on amazon here, or find them at your local Michael’s.  If I hadn’t been short on time, I might have attempted to serve intestines  for dessert.

severed finger cupcakes

 

I’m very lucky to have friends willing to entertain my strange ideas, and I enjoyed every minute of this dinner.  Not onto planning an even more creative Halloween menu.

True Blood Inspired Cookies

The final season of True Blood is upon us, and to be frank I’m not that excited about it.  The story has been on a steady decline over the past few seasons and it’s time for the show to be put out of its misery.  But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a perfect excuse to bake!  So I present you with vampire bitten cookies.

Vampire bitten cookies

 

Vampire Cookies

3/4 cups butter, softened

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon almond extract

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

red preserves or jam (strawberry or raspberry), approx. 1/2 cup

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in the egg and extracts.  Mix flour and salt in separate bowl and slowly mix them into larger bowl with butter sugar mixture at low speed until just incorporated.  Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Preheat over to 325F.

Divide dough in half and keep the portion you’re not using in the refrigerator.  Roll dough out on a floured surface until it is 1/8-inch thick.  Use a cookie cutter to cut out 2-inch rounds.  Place rounds on a baking sheet, put a teaspoon of jam or preserves on each round and cover with another dough round.  Press down around edges, pinching the edges to the cookie sheet.  Use a toothpick and poke two small holes in top of each cookie- like vampire fang marks.

Jam filling cookie fangs

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until cookies are set.  Cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet before moving to wire rack to cool completely.  Dip toothpick into jam or preserves and re-insert into “bite” holes, drizzling more jam away from hole to make a “blood trickle.”

Enjoy!

A couple of helpful tips, make sure dough is cold and use plenty of flour.  The dough warms quickly, becoming sticky and difficult to work with.  Also, this cookie dough is not very sweet as it’s meant to balance the sweetness of the jam filling.  One of my taste testers compared this cookie to a pop-tart.  So, if that doesn’t sound appealing, then swap out this cookie dough for a sweeter roll out cookie recipe.

Do you watch True Blood?  Were you excited about its return?

The Walking Dead finale cupcakes

The finale is tonight!  Have you been watching? Are you a fan?  I’m attending a viewing party, so I’m bringing cupcakes:

Edible zombies?

Edible zombies?

This was done with food coloring and edible paper. I’m sure fondant would’ve looked much nicer, but I keep hearing how it tastes terrible and frankly the edible paper was much cheaper.  Definitely know to make bigger cupcakes next time. I also found this recipe for intestines using puff pastry and whatever filling you desire.  Doesn’t it scream zombie?  I think I’m a sucker for macabre food.  So if I don’t end up making this for tonight, this recipe will be tested in the near future.

Who do you think will survive the finale?  I don’t have much in the way of predictions, but I strongly suspect we’re about to see some cannibals.  I sure hope so.  And did any horror fans recognize Denise Crosby in the last ep?  Loved Pet Sematary growing up (both book and the movie), and Zelda was the stuff of nightmares.

Xenomorph Truffles (and how to)

I found an Alien “Big Chap” ice cube tray on Amazon and determined that I needed to have such a thing in my possession.  Of course, my freezer already has an ice maker and the Alien ice cube tray consisted only of two normal sized cubed xenomorphs and four small ones so this item really was a novelty purchase.  Struck with a moment of genius (ha!), I thought how cool it would be to come up with a dark outer chocolate shell and neon green cream filling.  Best truffle ever, right?  My kitchen experiment turned out well, so I thought I’d share in case anyone else wanted to make these.  Valentine’s day is coming up right??

This would work with any chocolate or silicone mold, so it doesn’t have to be Alien related (though it should be horror related, otherwise it’d be far less amusing).  First step is making sure your mold is clean and dry.  Next, melt your chocolate using your preferred method, this page explains each method.  For simplicity, I used the disposable bag method.  Be careful when choosing this method that you don’t use a thin ziploc bag that could melt in the microwave.

Next, squeeze/pour chocolate into molds evenly.  For the smaller xenomorphs I just filled to the top, but for the larger ones fill only the bottom and use a clean brush to dip into the bottom and brush along the sides of the mold, covering all surfaces.  Like so:

Mold

I would use less chocolate on bottom next round.  The more you have on the bottom of the mold, the thicker your shell is.  Once the mold is filled and coated to your liking, tap the bottom on the counter to release air bubbles and just smooth out the chocolate in the mold.  Pop this in the fridge to set while you focus on your filling.

I went with a simple ganache recipe for this initial experiment:  1/3 cup heavy cream to 12 oz chocolate or candy melt ratio.  Bring the heavy cream to just before boiling and add the chopped chocolate bits, stirring until shiny and melted.

double double, toil and trouble??

double double, toil and trouble??

To get the aesthetic I wanted, I went with the lime green Wilton candy melts.  What an..erm…appetizing color?  Once ready, I poured into a bowl and put in the fridge to set.  When the ganache cooled, I pulled it out of the fridge along with the mold and spooned the filling into the half filled wells.  Keep the filling in the center, away from the walls of the mold, and don’t fill all the way to the top.  If your leftover chocolate has hardened, reheat at this point and fill the rest of the way.  Tap out the air bubbles and put back in the fridge to set.

Finally?  Enjoy.

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Next attempt I’d like to play more with the flavors, like a raspberry filling to pair with the chocolate. Really, this is just a basic idea to expand upon (and boy did this inspire a lot of ideas for me).  I used the smaller ones to top cookies and cream cupcakes.  I’ve got ideas how to spruce those up as well…next time…

Cupcaketopper

Cookies and cream..and xenomorphs, oh my.

Cannot wait to try more ideas out.  I’d love to see what you come up with!

 

Severed hands and jack o’ lanterns

Since Halloween falls on a weeknight this year, this weekend was surely the busiest for Halloween celebrations.  I gathered with friends last night for pumpkin carving, horror movie watching, and food.  Best friend and I went with a Trick r Treat theme this year:

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For dinner I tried my hand (ha!) at a grotesque meatloaf.  Meatloaf doesn’t appeal to you?  Maybe this one will:

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I used the core of an onion for the bone protruding from the “hands” and would have used thin pieces of onion for nails, but as it was some guests aren’t so fond of onions.  You could also melt cheese on top in the last few minutes of baking for a skin type effect.  This turned out to be a hit, and I definitely want to experiment with more disgusting Halloween themed meal ideas.

Lastly, I’m not going to do a full review, but I recommend you don’t bother with the ABCs of Death.  It’s terrible.  But if you must, it’ll probably go down easier in a group viewing.  There were laughs, but mostly there was just mass confusion and mortification.  Of all 26 shorts, only a handful were enjoyable.  

How did you spend this past weekend?  What are your Halloween traditions?