Spooky Halloween Cupcake Toppers

Spooky Halloween Cupcake Toppers || @runwaychef #halloween #dessert While I often craft ridiculous schemes to festively celebrate a holiday, the sad reality is that I never have time to properly execute any of my plans. Staying festive is a must for me so I like to come up with ways to celebrate holidays that don’t require much effort or time. This year, Halloween snuck up on me like a ghost in the night (pun intended) so I haven’t even had time to do my last-minute Halloween decorations. However, haunted dirt cake and spooky cupcake toppers are something I can definitely squeeze into my schedule (because who doesn’t have time to eat dessert?!). The only requirements- cupcakes, candy and a huge sweet tooth. Feel free to use any type of cupcake (homemade, mix, pre-made) you wish. For my cupcakes I made my Never Fail Chocolate Cake, but baked it in cupcake shapes, obviously, (bake for 20 minutes at 350; makes 12 cupcakes), and then I made a salted caramel buttercream to frost them with. Keep scrolling to see how I created the spooky halloween cupcake toppers.

Spooky Halloween Cupcake Toppers || @runwaychef #halloween #dessert Spooky Halloween Cupcake Toppers || @runwaychef #halloween #dessert Ghost // Meringue ghost (read how to make them here) + cotton candy (found in the Halloween section of Target)

Spooky Halloween Cupcake Toppers || @runwaychef #halloween #dessert Spider // Black raspberry gummy + thin black licorice cut into pieces

Spooky Halloween Cupcake Toppers || @runwaychef #halloween #dessert Bloody Mummy // Cherry candy ribbon (use a little extra frosting to help the pieces stick in place) + black sixlets

Spooky Halloween Cupcake Toppers || @runwaychef #halloween #dessert Tombstone // Meringue tombstone (read how to make them here) + cotton candy

Spooky Halloween Cupcake Toppers || @runwaychef #halloween #dessert Spooky Eyes // Half of an Oreo cookie + sixlets

Spooky Halloween Cupcake Toppers || @runwaychef #halloween #dessert Tombstone II // Same as the first tombstone, except I cut this cupcake in half, attached some gummy worms with frosting, then placed the top back on to make the worms appear as if they were crawling from the dirt

 

Haunted Halloween Dirt Cake

Haunted Halloween Dirt Cake || @runwaychef #halloween #desserts The theme of this week’s kitchen adventures has revolved entirely around easy and fun Halloween treats (secondary theme- becoming the Michelin Man for next Friday’s costume….because after eating all these sweets that is exactly what I will look like). The first “spooky” treats are these haunted dirt cakes. Wait, don’t run away. They’re only haunted with dreams of 6-pack abs, vegetables left untouched, and forgotten workout clothes. They aren’t actually haunted. I never know if you guys know not to take me seriously like ever so I thought it best to clarify. Moving right along….So dirt cakes. Everyone loves them because it’s basically cookies, cream and chocolate and who doesn’t love those things?! And if everyone doesn’t love them, well, more for you (or me)! This recipe is a bit different than the one I used for the edible flower dirt cakes, but it’s still just as tasty. Also, this recipe doubles or triples really well in case you’re having a Halloween party (or just a party of one, either is fine by me).

Hope you all have a great weekend! If you need me, I’ll be hiding out on a beach drinking away the fact that I’m in a swimsuit after a week of dessert recipe testing…oy vey!

Haunted Halloween Dirt Cake || @runwaychef #halloween #desserts Haunted Halloween Dirt Cake || @runwaychef #halloween #desserts Haunted Halloween Dirt Cake || @runwaychef #halloween #desserts

Haunted Halloween Dirt Cakes

2/3s of a package of Oreos
1/2 package of cream cheese (4 ounces)
1 cup of heavy cream

Gummy worms
Cotton candy (I found some in the Target Halloween section)
Meringue ghosts and tombstones (see recipe below)

For the “dirt”- In a cuisinart, pulse the Oreos for about 10 seconds. Add in the cream cheese and continue pulsing until the ingredients have combined. Make sure not to pulse too long or the mixture will form together and become pasty. Also, the cookie pieces should be somewhat chunky and not too fine. In a separate bowl, whip the cream until it forms soft peaks. This should equal about 2 cups of whipped cream. Gently fold the cookie mixture into the cream mixture until combined.

To serve- Scoop the dirt into serving dishes. I really like using martini glasses as it allows the “worms” to hang over the edge. Bury a few gummy worms into each dish, draping them over the edge. Top with cotton candy and a meringue or tombstone ghost. Serve right away. The meringue will soften slightly and the cotton candy will start to “melt” after it sits for a little while.

To make the meringue- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Beat together 3 egg whites in a stand mixer (or in a large bowl with a mixer) on medium-high speed until frothy. Add in 1/2 cup of white sugar and increase the speed to high. Beat until stiff peaks form, about 5 to 6 minutes.

Transfer the egg whites to a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip. Pipe large swirls and tombstone shapes onto the baking sheet. Bake until dry, about 1 hour. Turn the oven off and let the meringue cool, in the oven, completely (you can even leave them in there overnight).

To make the eyes and RIP lettering, melt a few chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl. I did a little less than 1/4 cup of chips, which was more than enough. Microwave the chips until they are melted. Using a toothpick, gently dot eyes onto the ghosts and spell out RIP.  FYI, it looks better if it’s a little messy. 

 

Gouda, Bacon & Beer Cheese Dip

Gouda, Bacon & Beer Cheese Dip @runwaychef #appetizers I’m literally at a loss for words. Not because I don’t have anything to say (believe me….I have plenty to say). Instead, it’s because of this dip. This gouda, bacon and beer cheese dip is so good it has literally put my tongue and my tastebuds into one ridiculous food coma and I can’t even formulate a proper sentence. So I’m breaking it down for you and giving you only the most important of details. 1) Cheeeeese. Gouda. Smoked. Get on it. 2) Bacon. We’ve gone over this a million times. Everything is better with bacon. 3) Beer. Because….because…just because?! It’s like so many bad-for-you ingredients combined into one deliciously good dip that I can’t even deal.

P.S. Stay tuned for a fun beer post coming up that will be perfect paired with this cheese dip.

P.S.S. If you want to make homemade pretzels to go with your dip, I recommend these.

Gouda, Bacon & Beer Cheese Dip @runwaychef #appetizers Gouda, Bacon & Beer Cheese Dip @runwaychef #appetizers Gouda, Bacon & Beer Cheese Dip @runwaychef #appetizers Gouda, Bacon & Beer Cheese Dip @runwaychef #appetizers

Gouda, Bacon & Beer Cheese Dip
A warm fall treat to serve with pretzels or crackers as a snack or appetizer
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 slices of bacon (I used a smoked, thick-cut bacon)
  2. 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  3. 1/2 cup milk (I used 2%)
  4. 3/4 cup ale (or other type of dark beer)
  5. 1 heaping teaspoon of Dijon mustard
  6. 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  7. 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  8. 1 1/2 cups smoked Gouda cheese, grated
  9. Salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Begin by chopping the bacon into bite size pieces. Then toss it into a large saucepan set over medium heat. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until it gets brown and crispy, stirring every few minutes. Once the bacon is done cooking, remove the pieces to a paper towel and set them aside.
  2. To the bacon fat add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the milk and beer. Next add the mustard, Worcestershire and hot sauce. Turn the heat up to medium-high and continue whisking until the mixture thickens, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Begin adding the cheese about a 1/4 cup at a time, making sure each batch of cheese has melted before adding the next one. Continue whisking until the cheese is all melted. If there are any lumps remaining, you can always use an immersion blender to smooth the dip out. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.
Notes
  1. Serve with pretzels or crackers. While I typically prefer homemade soft pretzels, you can also use store bought ones if you're short on time. They sell them in large or nugget size in the freezer section and take just a few minutes to heat up. If I do use the store bought pretzels, I like to jazz them up by brushing them with melted butter, then sprinkling them with salt flakes, minced dried garlic and/or herbs like chives or parsley before heating them in the oven.
  2. Store leftover cheese dip in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the fridge. Reheat in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly.
Adapted from Williams & Sonoma
Adapted from Williams & Sonoma
Runway Chef http://www.runwaychef.com/
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1-Minute Coffee Cake In A Mug

1-Minute Coffee Cake In A Mug @runwaychef #breakfast #easyrecipes You know those crisp, cool mornings where you’re like “Oh man, this smoothie is just killing it this morning.” Yeah, me either. I mean let’s be real. No one wakes up on a 30 degree day and happily chugs down their ice-cold smoothie and thinks to themselves “Who needs a soft, buttery, warm, delicious baked good when you’ve got a smoothie?”. Don’t get me wrong, I love my smoothies, but living in a place where Fall and Winter exists, drinking a cold drink first thing in the morning isn’t always easy to do. Sometimes I just want all of the muffin/scone/biscuit/cinnamon roll/coffee cake treats I can possibly have as soon as the seasons change. By sometimes, I of course mean all the time, so to prevent over-indulging, I try not to keep baked goods around the house during the week. But when you need a baked good, you NEED a baked good (I know you know what I’m talking about). This little coffee cake was born in one such time of need. It was an early morning, I had lots of work to do and no time to bake, but I just had to have something to go with my cup of coffee. Hello coffee cake in a mug! But wait, there’s more. As in crunchy topping more (you know there couldn’t be coffee cake without some buttery topping on there). Annnnnd, there’s also a pumpkin version (because obviously everything needs pumpkin for fall). I don’t know whether it’s totally genius that I discovered this (Because, hello! Coffee cake whenever I want it!) or totally bad that I figured this recipe out (because coffee cake whenever I want it isn’t so good for my waistline). Either way, I know you’re going to thank me for making your weekdays taste a little better….

1-Minute Coffee Cake In A Mug @runwaychef #breakfast #easyrecipes 1-Minute Coffee Cake In A Mug @runwaychef #breakfast #easyrecipes 1-Minute Coffee Cake In A Mug @runwaychef #breakfast #easyrecipes 1-Minute Coffee Cake In A Mug @runwaychef #breakfast #easyrecipes

1-Minute Coffee Cake In A Mug
Serves 1
A warm, buttery coffee cake that can be made in 1 minute using your microwave; perfect for a quick weekday treat
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Prep Time
1 min
Cook Time
1 min
Prep Time
1 min
Cook Time
1 min
Cake
  1. 2 tablespoons of sugar (I like to use brown, I have also tried it with Truvia, which works well)
  2. 1 tablespoon of butter
  3. 2 tablespoons of Greek yogurt
  4. Dash of vanilla
  5. 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
  6. Dash of nutmeg
  7. 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  8. 1/8 teaspoon of baking powder
  9. Pinch of salt
Topping
  1. 1 tablespoon of butter (use cold butter straight from the fridge for the crumbliest topping)
  2. 2 tablespoons of flour
  3. 1 tablespoons of brown sugar
  4. 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
  5. Dash of nutmeg
Instructions
  1. Place the butter in a mug. Microwave for 10-15 seconds to soften the butter. Remove from the microwave and stir in all ingredients, except for the flour. Mix until well-combined. Fold the flour in, making sure to not over-mix. Using your spoon gently push the batter together into the bottom of the mug. Set aside.
  2. To make the topping, use your fingers to mix the butter, flour, sugar and spices together to form a crumbly mixture. Add to the top of the cake.
  3. Microwave the cake for 60 seconds (the time may vary depending on your microwave, but it should take anywhere from 50-90 seconds). Serve immediately with milk or coffee.
Notes
  1. If you don't eat the whole thing at once, a) what is wrong with you?! and b) you can reheat it for 30 seconds in the microwave.
  2. To make a pumpkin version of this cake, simply reduce the Greek yogurt to 1 tablespoon and add in 2 tablespoons of pure pumpkin puree. Everything else stays the same.
  3. If you decide to use a sweetener other than sugar just be conscious of the substitution amounts (i.e. for the Truvia, I used 3 teaspoons in place of the 2 tablespoons of sugar).
Runway Chef http://www.runwaychef.com/
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5-Ingredient Butternut Squash Soup

5-Ingredient Butternut Squash Soup || Runway Chef It’s a tough competition but this butternut squash soup might possibly be my favorite soup ever, and that’s saying a lot, because boy, do I love soup. Like a lot of my recipes, I stumbled upon this one quite by mistake. If I remember correctly, I think it went a little something like “What am I going to make for dinner when the only things in the fridge are ketchup, chocolate chips, and…. a butternut squash??!”. I decided to concoct a butternut squash soup (because obviously going to the grocery store to get ingredients for anything else wouldn’t have been more logical). Luckily, when God closes the door to an empty refrigerator, somewhere He opens a cabinet full of garlic and bouillon cubes. In other words, this saved our dinner from being some kind of weird chocolate-ketchup-squash mishmash (thank you, no!) and helped us discover possibly the easiest soup recipe known to man. It’s decadent, creamy and delicious, but totally healthy at the same time. We now make this soup at least once a week, and you better believe that my fridge is always stocked with butternut squash.

5-Ingredient Butternut Squash Soup || Runway Chef 5-Ingredient Butternut Squash Soup || Runway Chef 5-Ingredient Butternut Squash Soup || Runway Chef

5-Ingredient Butternut Squash Soup
Serves 4
A delicious and comforting soup that requires just 5 ingredients and a few minutes to make and is perfect for a chilly fall day
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 large butternut squash, cooked and peeled (see notes for directions)
  2. 1 bouillon cube (I use chicken but feel free to use vegetable or beef)
  3. 3 cloves of garlic (I've also done 1/3 c. leeks or shallots)
  4. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  5. 1 1/2 cups milk (I use 2%, but any type should work)
  6. Salt & pepper, to taste
  7. Toppings (optional): Toasted pumpkin seeds, crumbled bleu cheese or goat cheese, apple or pear cubes, dried cranberries, crispy shallots, crunchy bacon pieces, sage, Greek yogurt
Instructions
  1. In a large soup pot, add the oil. Heat for a few minutes over medium heat then add the garlic. Cook for a few minutes, or until it is light brown and crispy.
  2. Add in the remaining ingredients, along with 1/2 a cup of water. Use an immersion blender to puree the mixture into soup. Alternatively, you can also puree the mixture in a blender. If you would like the soup to be thinner add in more milk (or water) until you reach your desired consistency.
  3. Once pureed, heat the soup for a few minutes before serving.
Notes
  1. Serve with a big salad and some crunchy bread.
  2. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  3. This soup is vegetarian and gluten-free. To make it vegan, substitute the milk for coconut milk (for a more tropical flavor) or almond milk, and use a vegetable bullion cube. You could also eliminate the milk completely and instead use an additional bouillon cube and more water.
  4. To cook the butternut squash, simply cut it in half, place the halves flesh side down in a large baking dish, add in about 1/2 an inch of water, and cook at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes, or until a knife can easily be inserted into the squash. Remove from the heat, scoop out the seeds, and then proceed to either scoop out the squash or peel off the skin.
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