On Halloween, do cupcakes taste better when they’re topped with candy corn? You better find out. Find the perfect Halloween recipes with a little help from Spencer’s Fresh Markets in Morro Bay and Santa Maria.
Pumpkin Cream Sandwiches
3 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
⅓ cup brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ cup canned pumpkin puree
½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. pumpkin pie spice (found in the spice aisle)
¼ tsp. kosher salt
⅔ cup cream cheese, at room temperature
¼ cup heavy cream
¼ cup confectioners’ sugar
• Heat oven to 375 degrees.
• Beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until smooth. Add the pumpkin, vanilla, and egg and beat until combined.
• Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, and salt in a medium bowl. Slowly add the flour mixture to the sugar and butter and beat on medium-low speed until fully incorporated.
• Spoon heaping tbsp. of the mixture 2 inches apart onto parchment- or foil-lined baking sheets. Bake until puffed and cooked through, about 10 min. Let cool for five minutes.
Pumpkin Cupcakes With Cream Cheese Frosting
One 18.5-ounce box yellow cake mix (plus the ingredients called for in the package directions)
½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
2 8-ounce bars cream cheese, at room temperature
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
24 pieces candy corn
• Heat oven to 350 degrees Line two 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners. Prepare the cake mix as directed but with the following change: Add the pumpkin pie spice and substitute the can of pumpkin puree for the water called for in the package directions.
• Divide the batter among the prepared muffin tins and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 18 to 22 minutes. Let cool.
• Meanwhile, using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar until creamy. Spread on the cupcakes and top each with a piece of candy corn.
Pumpkin Rice Pudding
2 cups short-grain or Arborio rice
6 cups milk
1 cup sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 cup dark brown sugar (optional)
• In a large saucepan, combine the rice, milk, sugar, vanilla bean, orange zest, orange juice, and salt. Heat to boiling over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the rice is tender and most (but not all) of the liquid is absorbed, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from heat.
• Discard the vanilla bean. Stir in the pumpkin. The recipe can be made ahead to this point.
• Cover and refrigerate up to two days ahead. To rewarm, stir in an additional 1 1/2 cups milk and stir gently over medium-low heat. Serve warm, sprinkled with the brown sugar if desired.
Peanut Butter Cup Brownies
2 sticks unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
4 large eggs
3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
8 large peanut butter cups, cut into pieces
• Heat oven to 400 degrees.
• Melt the butter and chocolate in a pan over low heat.
• Using a mixer, beat the eggs and sugar until pale yellow and fluffy. Lower speed and pour in the melted chocolate and vanilla. Mix in the flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Fold in the peanut butter cups.
• Scrape into a buttered 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Bake until the tip of a knife comes out clean, about 35 minutes.
Marshmallow Popcorn Balls
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, plus more for the dish
1/2 cup popcorn kernels or one 3.5-oz. package plain microwave popcorn
1 10-oz. bag marshmallows
Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Pop the popcorn according to the package directions.
Melt the butter and marshmallows in a large saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring until smooth, five to 7 minutes.
Fold in the popcorn until coated. Press into the prepared dish and let sit for 10 min. before cutting into 24 bars.