Monday 26 October 2009

Creepy Halloween Food!

Severed Fingers

Halloween Food
Shrunken Head Punch

Eyeball Pasta

Oh I do love Halloween!! I also love freaking my kid out and certainly succeeded with these! I've been wanting to do something fun with food for Halloween for awhile now, I know I'm a little early but wanted to give you all some ideas before hand. The severed finger cookies are very common, I think I first saw them in a Canadian Living magazine about 25 years ago! However, this was the first time I made them and loved the way they turned out. In fact they were so effective we've all slightly gone off almonds now :)

My favourite is the shrunken head punch - apples are carved, slightly preserved then baked until they shrink -they turned out so well and look great in the "blood". For the photo I just used wine, obviously for children you'll want to use red grape juice or blackcurrant - whatever looks 'bloody'. Original recipe used cloudy apple juice which I had them in first but as they are the same colour as the apples it just didn't look as good.

The eyeball pasta was fun to make, but, a major waste!! I got the idea from BBC Good Food where they used mozzarella balls for the eyes and a bit of basil for the pupil. I decided to replace that with silken tofu but due to the size of my 'scoop' only ended up with 2 eyes out of 1 block of tofu! Obviously I'll use the rest for something else but I was hoping to get lots of little eyes out of it. As it's plain tofu it's not too yummy as is but the idea is to mash it up with the tomato sauce before eating - if you dare!!

Severed Fingers:

112g vegan margarine
14g vegetable fat/shortening (1 Tbsp)
90g icing sugar
20g egg replacer
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
200g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
whole blanched almonds
red decorator gel*

In a bowl beat together the marg, sugar and extracts. Beat in the flour, baking powder, salt and egg replacer. Form together into a ball, slightly flatten wrap in cling film and chill for at least 30 minutes. Working with half the dough take about 1 tsp of dough and form in to a finger shape. Make sure to start off small here, I made my first ones too big - remember they spread out in the oven. Press an almond in for the nail and slice 3 lines for the knuckle. In some I put some dots for hair but don't think those look as good. Place on a baking paper lined baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes or until pale golden. Let cool on sheet for 3 minutes then transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Lift the almond off and squeeze some gel around then place the almond back on. Also squeeze some gel at the end of the biscuit.

Despite the way these look they are very good - a crisp almond infused biscuit, and the best part is actually the nail! The almond gets nice and roasted in the oven - lovely :)

*for the gel, I found mine in Hobbycraft, it was full of E numbers so was sure it wouldn't be veggie but bought it anyway. When I checked them all out online at home it appears to be fine! It's even set with carageenan instead of gelatine. Now, I'm not happy about all the E numbers but not much is used here. If you can't find this or are worried about it, just use seedless raspberry jam - wouldn't look as effective but at least it would taste nice!*

Source: Canadian Living Magazine

Shrunken Head Punch:

8 firm apples
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 Tbsp salt (yes, that's not a typo!)

OK, no recipe for an actual 'punch' here as you can use whatever beverage you like - mulled wine for adults, juice based for the kids. Note that the shrunken heads are too salty too eat but just too much fun not to make! For the shrunken heads - In a large bowl combine the salt and lemon juice with 1 cup (250ml) water until the salt dissolves. Peel the apples, cut in half lengthwise and spoon out the seeds and core. Turn into the mixture to stop them browning. Using whatever tools you have carve out the eye sockets, nose and mouth - I have a pumpkin carving kit that was perfect for this. Return them to the mixture turning to coat. Leave them in there for 20 minutes to 1 hour.

Pat them dry and place on a wire rack over a roasting tin or rimmed baking sheet. Bake in a 120C (250F) oven for 2 - 3 hours, until they begin to shrink and edges are lightly browned. I think I pulled mine out after 1.5 hours though. Let cool on rack. You can make them ahead and refrigerate now in paper towel lined airtight container for up to 24 hours.

Source: Canadian Living Magazine .

Eyeball Pasta:

No real recipe here, I just cooked up some spinach pasta, spooned over some fresh ready made tomato and basil sauce then added the 'eyes'. For them I used a scoop and carefully scooped out some firm silken tofu. Place them on paper towels and gently pat dry. For the pupils, slice some green pimento stuffed olives and place a black peppercorn in the centre. Carefully (the silken tofu will crumble VERY easily!) scoop out a hole for the olive and place it in. To make them look bloodshot I added saffron threads but you'll need to remove these before eating so it's a bit fiddly - they still look good without them. I also brushed on some glycerin to make the eyes look 'wet' but again that's not essential.

Recipe inspired by: BBC Good Food .


  1. They're fantastic!! Truly creepy!!x

  2. those fingers are super creepy!!!!! you're amazing. your son is very lucky :)

  3. Really, really impressive and Absolutely terrific.

    One little boy is going to hav a fantastic Vegan Hallowe'en.

  4. OMG so creepy! Especially those fingers with the knife eeeek :)


  5. Those fingers are so gross! Haha, amazing job but they freak me out. They look so realistic! I love the shrunken head punch... great photo!

  6. Those fingers creep the hell out of me! Great job.

  7. Thanks so much for all the nice comments! The fingers in particular turned out a bit too well - husband and child couldn't even eat them! lol - oh well, more for me :)

  8. The cousin to FSM: Flying Fettucini Monster!

  9. hahaha!!! I had to look that up - brilliant!!! :-)

  10. Just curious - did the salt from the shrunken head apples make your punch salty? I'd love to try them! Any idea of what would happen if I eliminate the salt?


  11. Hi Jenn! Yeah, the salt was something I was worried about too, tbh, I can't quite remember, I think while a tiny amount of salt flavour seeped out it wasn't very noticable. Making a sweet punch might be better for that reason. I do remember the apples not being edible though! :-) As for not adding the salt, I'm afraid the original recipe didn't really state what the salt was for except to preserve the apples. I would think the lemon juice alone would be enough to stop them browning etc so perhaps the salt plays a part in them shrinking while baking.... Sorry I can't be of more help there, I might next year try it without the salt myself just to see what happens. Let me know if you try it and how it fares! Good luck though, they did look really good in the end, better than the photo shows :-)

  12. Hi! So I wanted to come back and report my experience making the shrunken heads. I actually tried doing half in lemon w/ salt and half in just lemon to see if there really was a difference -- and I have to tell you that they came out exactly the same! They were a huge hit at my party, I put them in a red wine sangria! Awesome.

    Happy Halloween!!

  13. Yay!! So glad the salt is optional, thanks so much for trying that out and getting back to me :-) Happy Halloween too!!

  14. These are all so amazingly scary! And I just adore the fact that it's all vegan. I have some nice ideas for Halloween now.

  15. Thank You! Hope you have fun with them all :-)

  16. Oh no! Now that I have seen those terrrrrrific Witch's fingers, the new goal of my life is to be as soon as possible on the 31th October 2013.
    ...Hey, wait, wouldn't they be even scarier on a non-Halloween day? HAAAAAAAAAAAAA

  17. haha! Yes, definitely scarier on a non Halloween day!!

  18. Related, but not related. My boyfriend was attacked by the lady who showed these on Martha Stewart's show a couple of years ago. Just had to laugh when I saw this article in my feed today.

    1. Wait....what?!?!

      Now there's a story most people won't get to tell! (hope he was ok!)


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