Sunday, April 28, 2013

Very Cool Nightmare Before Christmas Setup!

Another fan of the Nightmare Before Christmas wrote me an email several months ago and she sent me this link to her own village set and train and how she incorporated it right into her Halloween decorations! Take a peek!

I have been wanting to share it with everyone here for a while now but it's been crazy nuts here with the holidays and trips lately. But as I am getting back to this blog and getting into the Halloween spirit again, here it is! :)

With her video, you can really see how different things look from light of day to the dark of the night, and with black light! How eerie and creepy and yet to us Halloween fanatics, how utterly dark and delightful!

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! It was really great and Val, you did an amazing job with this! Thank you for letting me share it here on my Halloween blog! :)

I have been able to finally get some more pieces in for the Nightmare Before Christmas Black Light village set for my daughter and I hope to take some pics tonight! Some of them were on backorder and I'll be talking about that in the blog post to come.

Also, I have already been ordering some new jack o'lanterns and assorted Halloween decorations! Look for those reviews soon!

Scarefest, Lexington, Kentucky--Sept 2012

As a huge Halloween enthusiast, I could not pass up a trip to Scarefest last September!

My daughter Madalyn and her bf Trey went with me, flying up to Louisville and then renting a car to drive over to Lexington, to the convention center.

We had signed up late and so got a hotel down the street from the convention center at the Holiday Inn for free with frequent stay points.

I had purchased T-shirts for each of us that we picked up at registration. The line to get in was so long, it went through the mall all the way down to the bathrooms! Yikes!

I had wanted to go so I could meet a few celebrities like Josh Gates and Kane Hodder and the great actor Malcolm McDowell but Kane and Malcolm both had to cancel.

There were quite a few people there that I knew from the paranormal events like Aaron Goodwin, Nick Groff, Chris Fleming, Dave Schrader, Patrick Burns and Marley and several others.

I got to meet some of the crew from Ghost Hunters International as well!

A highlight for my daughter was meeting Tyler Mane and for Trey it was Derek Mears.

We got autographs and Madz got herself fitted for vampire fangs at The Pumpkin Teeth booth. If you haven't checked out the Pumpkin Teeth, you really should as they are awesome to place in your jack o'lanterns!

I saw some friends there too that I knew from the paranormal events, Michele and Stacey! Great to see you both and got to chat and catch up as I haven't gone to a paranormal event for a while.

One of the great vendors there was Potters Field Creations! Check out their booth in this pic! Their tombstones were amazing!! 
There were alot of really great vendors at Scarefest! Some very creepy costumes and props! This was my first Horror/Paranormal type of event that combined both of my loves! It was fantastic!
 As you can see, there were many people who were dressed in some of our favorite characters from the movies and we just had to get a snapshot of some of them!

Many wild and crazy fans were there at Scarefest like this fellow in the pic below all decked out in Scarefest theme! He was kind enough to pose for a pic for me as he was passing by!
One of the sad things tho' at Scarefest was that you were not allowed to take pics of the celebrities when you walked by. :( I didn't know that and had gotten a few shots taken before they began to fuss. Most were wanting you to buy their autographed pics for like $10 and then you could get a pic taken with them. :( I can understand to a point but still found it a bit off-putting and sad. But we got over it.

I still have to say tho', that Aaron Goodwin from Ghost Adventures is one of the most down-to-earth and genuinely nice guys you ever wanna meet! He thinks nothing of stopping to take a pic with his fans and it was great to see him again and to introduce my daughter and Trey to him! Isn't his latest T-shirt cool!? I had to get that one along with a skeleton big-steppin one that you can see the skeleton there in the background amongst Aaron's artwork. His one artist friend was there too! Just amazing work!


I have to say tho', Scarefest was a blast! Madz and Trey want to return this year if they are able to!

Best S'mores Cupcakes

While volunteering at Moxley Manor Haunted House, I often would bring some goodies for all the actors. Usually it was cupcakes with something creepy on them or unique or unusual food like eyeball lollipops on sporks or something bizarre like that.

Last year, I was challenged by Don to make s'mores cupcakes. I never had but of course being a huge dessert maker and cake decorator, I accepted and went looking for a good s'more's cupcake receipe. I found one as he wanted it to be more chocolate and that one, had the graham crackers on the bottom and a chocolate cake base. Well they didn't turn out so well, came out a bit hard and just didn't have the taste or texture I think I was looking for. I am not a huge s'mores fan either but he and everyone else really liked them.

So this past Wed night as I was volunteering at Moxley for the HAuNTcon folks who came out on the tour (more on HAuNTcon later! ;) ), I decided to try another recipe for the s'more's cupcakes.

That's the premise of this and why I thought to put it here on this blog as it is a good recipe for those wanting something wickedly delicious and there are all sorts of ways you could decorate this for Halloween!

S'mores Cupcakes:


1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 15 whole crackers ground in processor---I just crushed them with a thick glass in a metal bowl until I got enough crumbs)
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter (at room temperature)
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup whole milk
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (do not exceed 61% cacao--I used Ghiradelli), chopped
1/2 cup (scant) heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup plus one 7 ounce jar marshmallow crème
Nonstick vegetable oil spray (I used Pam Olive Oil)
12 1-inch pieces broken graham crackers (for garnish)

Special Equipment: Apple corer (I used a little juicer gadget)

Now before I type the preparation, a few hints here:
Take your butter out ahead of time to let it get to room temp.
I crushed the graham crackers in a metal bowl with a small juice glass that is thick and heavy as it works really well!
The salt I used was the Himalayan pink salt that is tons better for you than regular salt as the regular old salt is a toxin.
I tried the broiling of the dollops of marshmallow crème but it didn't work well enough to my liking so next time I am going to try to use mini marshmallows as a garnish right on the cupcake first and then heat them with a candle lighter to get that toasted look for the garnish, then insert the graham cracker. I also added another piece of Ghiradelli chocolate as you can see in the pic, cause well, can't have too much of that!
I also doubled this recipe to make 24 and I had overfilled the muffin cups so I probably could have made  26 - 28 cupcakes instead that wouldn't have overflowed and stuck a bit to the pan when I went to take them out. I wasn't sure how they would do if they would go higher up or splooge over. They splooged. But the resulting 'crusties' from the pan were great little crunchies to munch on!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 12 standard muffin cups with paper liners. Whisk graham crackers, flour, baking powder, and pinch of salt in medium bowl. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating to blend between additions. Beat in vanilla. Add graham cracker mixture in 3 additions alternately with milk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with graham cracker mixture. Divide batter among muffin cups.

Bake cupcakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 22 minutes. Transfer cupackes to rack; cool completely.

Place the chopped chocolate in medium bowl. Bring cream just to boil in small saucepan; pour over chocolate. Let stand 1 minute; stir until smooth. Cool ganache until lukewarm.

Push apple corer about 1 inch into top of each cupcake; remove cake, forming a hole. Spoon 3/4 cup marshmallow crème into resealable plastic bag (I used a pastry decorator bag with no tip, but making a saran wrap bullet of marshmallow crème first), pushing into 1 bottom corner. Cut 1/2 inch off corner.  Pipe into holes in cupcakes. Spread 2 teaspoons ganache over each cupcake. DO AHEAD can be made 8 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.

Preheat broiler. Coat rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. Spoon dollops of marshmallow crème on sheet (don't make these too large as they will spread). Broil until slightly charred, 1 - 2 minutes. Spoon dollop of charred crème over each cupcake; garnish with piece of graham cracker.

Makes 12


Like I said, I had a harder time with the broiling part, my oven doesn't have that setting and the marshmallow crème was VERY SUPER sticky and hardened as it cooled and I found it kinda chewy for what I was going for. So  I will eventually make these again but using the mini marshmallows and use my candle lighter to get the charred or  more so toasted look and texture.

For Halloween, I'd probably pipe lil marshmallow crème ghosts much like my icing ghosts I use for the pumpkin muffins and then toast them slightly with the lighter. I'll probably give it a whirl again and if so, will take pics and post an update!

For now, I wanted to get this recipe out there to you! :)

More on HAuNTcon and the incredible vendors and classes soon! Be looking for more updates to the link lists too!

Bugs n Hisses,