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Halloween half-term bakes

No tricks and all of the treats with these delicious and easy baking recipes from HLN’s Dotty Miles

Peanut Butter Trick or Treat Cookies

These little cookies have just five ingredients so are perfect for making with children. There’s a surprise in the centre of each sandwich too!

They are also completely gluten free. To make them dairy free too, use jam instead of nutella to sandwich them together and melt a little dark chocolate to drizzle over the cookies to give them the same chocolatey fix!

Ingredients

  • 200g peanut butter
  • 120g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 150g nutella
  • 2-3 tsp raspberry jam

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to gas4/ 180c/160c fan. Line two trays with baking paper.
  2. Place the peanut butter and caster sugar in a bowl and mix until combined using a wooden spoon.
  3. Add the egg and beat in thoroughly.
  4. Using your hands, take a piece of the dough and roll it into a ball about the size of a cherry. Pop it on the lined baking tray.
  5. Repeat until you have used up all of the dough. This should make about 26 cookies.
  6. Carefully flatten each ball slightly, taking care not to disrupt the round shape.
  7. Place them in the oven for 10-14 minutes. Check them after 8 minutes and rotate the tray to ensure that they colour evenly.
  8. They should be lightly golden brown, cracked all over and feel like they’re just set to the touch.
  9. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the tray for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to finish cooling.
  10. Once the cookies are completely cool, pair them up so that each half of the sandwich is roughly the same shape and size.
  11. Put the nutella in a pipping bag (if you have one) and dot the nutella around the edges of half of the cookies.
    If you don’t have a piping bag, use a teaspoon to spoon the nutella on then use the back of the spoon to create a dimple in the centre of each one.
  12. In the dimple in the centre of each biscuit, place either a small blob of jam, or a splodge of nutella. Once the biscuit is sandwiched, you won’t know if you have a chocolate or jam centre bringing the trick or treat element to these cookies!
  13. Place the other half of the cookie (the one without nutella on) on top and gently press to secure the sandwich.

Squashage Rolls

These insanely moorish savoury snacks won’t be around for long but if you need to store them, they will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. Or, you can freeze them uncooked and cook them from frozen whenever you like! Just increase the cooking time by 5-10 minutes.

If you’re making these with children, make sure an adult cuts up the squash as they require a large, sharp knife to cut.

Makes 24

Ingredients

  • 1 pack ready rolled puff pastry
  • 1 medium squash/ pumpkin (approx 1kg whole weight)
  • 100g feta cheese
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 egg
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Cumin seeds (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to gas 6/ 200c/ 180c fan. Half the squash and use a spoon to scrape out the seeds. Cut each half into 6-8 roughly even pieces and place on a roasting tray.
  2. Gently crush the cloves of garlic (leave their skins on) and add them to the tray. Drizzle over roughly 1 tbsp olive oil, a generous sprinkle of salt and freshly ground pepper. Place in the oven to roast for 30-40 minutes until the squash is tender.
  3. Once cooked, remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before using a spoon or table knife to scoop the flesh out of the skins and into a bowl.
  4. Discard the skins and squeeze the soft cloves of roasted garlic into the bowl with the squash. Crumble in the feta cheese and mash together using a fork or a potato masher until you have a delicious, lumpy filling. Taste to check the seasoning and add a little more salt if necessary.
  5. Unroll the block of puff pastry so that it is landscape and cut it in half, from left to right, so that you have two long thin rectangles of pastry.
  6. Spoon half the squash mixture on the pastry, shaping it into a sausage shape that runs along the bottom of the long edge of the pastry. Leave about 1 cm from the bottom and try to pile the mixture as evenly as possible so that it resembles the shape and size of a sausage.
  7. Crack the egg into a small dish and use a pastry brush (or your finger!) to wet the top edge of the pastry, above where you’ve spread your filling.
  8. Wrap the pastry tightly over the squash filling and secure using the egg wash to hold the edges together. Use the flat edge of your hand to press the pastry against the squash filling to create an even cylinder and a neat shape. Use a fork to crimp the edges together to ensure they don’t re-open during cooking.
  9. Using a sharp, serrated knife, cut the squashage roll into 12 evenly sized pieces and place them on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
  10. Repeat with the other half of the pastry.
  11. Brush the squashage rolls with egg wash and sprinkle with a few cumin seeds (optional).
  12. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 12-15 minutes until golden and crisp.
  13. Allow to cool on a wire wrack before eating.

Pumpkin Spiced Cupcakes

If you’re planning on carving out a pumpkin or two this year, save some of that flesh scooped out from the middle to go into these wonderfully soft, moist little cupcakes. The grated pumpkin could also be substituted for carrot in this recipe.

Makes 12

For the cupcakes:

  • 100g butter
  • 80g light brown sugar
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 225g grated pumpkin
  • 150g self raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp milk

For the icing:

  • 100g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 300g cream cheese
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to gas 4/ 180c/160c fan. Line a cupcake tray with cupcake cases.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together until you have a pale, fluffy mixture.
  3. Gradually beat in the eggs, one at a time. Beat thoroughly until well combined. Add a spoonful of flour if necessary to help stop the batter curdling.
  4. Sift in the flour, baking powder and spices and fold them into the wet mix. Once all the flour is incorporated, fold in the grated pumpkin and the milk.
  5. Use a dessert spoon to evenly fill the prepared cupcake cases then bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the cake and they spring back when gently pressed.
  6. Remove the cupcakes from their tin and allow them to cool on a wire rack.
  7. To make the icing, beat 100g softened butter until fluffy and completely soft, then carefully add the icing sugar and beat to create a fluffy buttercream. Finally, beat in the cream cheese. Pop in the fridge if you’re not using straight away!
  8. Spoon or pipe the icing on top of the cooled cupcakes. To decorate them, cut some halloween inspired shapes out of paper – bats, witches hats or ghosts are great – and place them on the cream cheese.
  9. Mix the cinnamon and cocoa powder in a small bowl then sprinkle it through a sieve over the top of the cupcake. Remove the paper stencil to leave the halloweeny shape!

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