11 spooky, fun recipes for fall

October 29, 2015

On Halloween, do cookies taste better when they’re topped with eyeballs or worms? You better find out. The following recipes were provided by Spencer’s Fresh Markets in Morro Bay and Santa Maria.

Eyeball Cookies

Eyeball Cookies

5 oz. white baking chocolate, chopped, divided

20-25 vanilla wafers

Paste food coloring

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Red liquid food coloring


In a microwave, melt 4 ounces of white chocolate; stir until smooth. Dip vanilla wafers in melted chocolate; allow excess to drip off. Place on a waxed paper-lined baking sheet. Chill until set. Melt remaining white chocolate; stir until smooth. Tint as desired. Spread a small amount onto the center of each cookie; place a chocolate chip in the center. For bloodshot eyes, use a toothpick dipped in red food coloring to draw lines from circles to outer edges of wafers. Chill until set. Store in an airtight container. Yield: 20-25 servings.

Roasted Pumpkin with Shallots

We roasted wedges of pumpkin in the skin for a quick side dish. Eat the pumpkin just as you would a wedge of melon, scooping out the cooked flesh with a spoon or fork. If you prefer, peel the skin before roasting.

1 pumpkin

6 large shallots 6 clove garlic

1⁄3 c. extra-virgin olive oil

2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp. fresh oregano

1 tbsp. sliced fresh sage leaves 2 tsp.

Kosher salt

1 tsp. coarse-ground pepper


1. Roast the pumpkin and shallots: Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Combine the pumpkin, shallots, and garlic in a roasting pan and set aside. Combine the remaining ingredients in a small bowl, pour the mixture over the pumpkin, and toss to coat. Roast, turning the pumpkin and shallots twice during cooking, until browned and tender, about 60 minutes. Serve immediately.

Wormy Orange Punch

1 gallon orange sherbet, softened

1 quart pineapple juice, chilled

1 liter lemon-lime soda, chilled

gummy worms


Combine sherbet and pineapple juice in a punch bowl; stir well. Add soda; stir until sherbet is almost dissolved. Decorate bowl with gummy worms. Serve immediately. Yield: 20 (1 cup) servings.

Cinderella Pumpkin Cake

Cinderella Pumpkin Bundt

2 c. sugar

4 eggs

1 c. vegetable oil

2 c. flour

2 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. salt

1-15 oz. can pumpkin puree 1 tsp. vanilla


Beat sugar and eggs til well blended and light in color. Add oil, continuing to beat. Combine dry ingredients to egg mixture. Add pumpkin, mix well. Pour into greased 9” Bundt pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes. Let stand in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto baking rack or platter and allow to cool completely. Frost with coachman’s icing.

Coachman’s Icing

4 oz. cream cheese, softened

1 stick unsalted butter, softened

1/2 box powdered sugar, sifted

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 c. nuts, chopped (optional)


In a medium bowl, blend softened cream cheese and butter til smooth and creamy. Add vanilla. Then add powdered sugar until desired consistency is achieved. Frost and top with chopped walnuts or pecans (optional) before icing sets.

Caramel Apple Cider

Starbucks Copycat

Caramel Apple Cider

12 oz. apple juice (or apple cider)

1 tbsp. homemade cinnamon syrup

(recipes below)

Fresh whipped cream

(see Tips below)

1 tbsp. 5-Minute, 5-Ingredient

homemade caramel sauce


1. Bring apple juice to a low simmer in a small pot set over medium heat (or warm it in the microwave). Transfer to a large mug and stir in 1 tablespoon homemade cinnamon syrup (or more, to taste). Top with a generous dollop of fresh whipped cream and drizzle with 1 tablespoon homemade caramel sauce. Serve warm.

2. To make a large batch of apple cider in the crock pot, multiply this single recipe by your number of desired servings, keeping in mind the maximum capacity of your slow cooker. Pour the apple juice in the slow cooker and flavor it with the cinnamon syrup. Set out a chilled bowl of whipped cream, a jar of caramel sauce, and a bunch of mugs for people to dress up their drinks.

Tips: To make approximately 2 cups of fresh whipped cream, start with 1 cup chilled heavy cream. Use an electric mixer to beat at medium speed until soft peaks just begin to appear. Sprinkle 1/4 cup (sifted) powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract over the whipped cream and beat at medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Do not over beat! Whipped cream may be tightly covered and stored in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. This amount of whipped cream is enough to top four to six servings of Caramel Apple Cider, so reduce or multiply it accordingly, depending on how many servings you wish to make.

Homemade Caramel Sauce

5-Minutes, 5-Ingredient

Caramel Syrup

1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter

1 cup brown sugar

2/3 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon salt


1. In a medium saucepan set over medium-low to medium heat, melt butter. Mix in brown sugar and stir for two minutes. Mix in heavy cream and stir for two more minutes. Remove pan from heat and stir in vanilla and salt until well incorporated.

2. Pour hot caramel sauce in a jar and allow to cool completely. Store in the refrigerator for up to a month.

Tips, tricks, and variations:  Use real butter here…no substitutions! Salted butter is recommended for this recipe but unsalted would work as well. Be sure your saucepan is deep enough to account for the bubbling caramel that will rise up the sides of the pan as it cooks. The caramel sauce will be thin when done cooking, but it will thicken up nicely at room temperature, and even more so when chilled.

Recommended applications of caramel sauce: as a dip for apples, drizzled over ice cream, apple pie, brownies, cheesecake, bread pudding, pancakes, waffles, sweet potatoes…or eaten straight out of the jar with a spoon.

Pumpkin Chowder

3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

2 leeks

3 large garlic cloves

2 medium bell peppers

21⁄4 lb. pumpkin

11⁄2 tsp. chopped fresh marjoram

1⁄4 tsp. crushed red pepper

2 bay leaves

1⁄4 tsp. salt

1⁄4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1⁄4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

11⁄4 c. frozen corn

6 c. vegetable broth


1. Heat olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add leeks and cook until very soft, about five minutes. Add garlic and cook for about two minutes. Stir in green peppers, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until peppers soften, about eight more minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and cook until pumpkin is tender, about 30 minutes.

Homemade Cinnamon Syrup

For coffee, cider, pancakes, ice cream and more!

Cinnamon Syrup


1 cup water

1 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


1. In a medium saucepan set over high heat, combine water, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Whisk continuously until sugar is dissolved and mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and whisk for five minutes longer, or until syrup thickens.

2. Remove pot from heat and stir in vanilla. Transfer syrup to a clean glass jar and allow to cool. Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to one month.

Tips, tricks, and variations:

Be sure your saucepan is deep enough to account for the bubbling syrup that will rise up the sides of the pan as it cooks.

Syrup will continue to thicken as it cools, and even more so once it’s refrigerated.

This syrup may be stirred into coffee or apple cider. It may be used to sweeten items like pancakes, waffles, French toast, or baked oatmeal. It may be used to top ice cream, apple pie, baked apples, other fruit-based desserts, cheesecake, and even sweet potatoes!

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

1 1⁄2 cups pumpkin seeds

2 teaspoons melted butter or 2 teaspoons melted oil (olive oil or vegetable oil work well)


Roasted Pumkin Seeds

garlic powder (optional)

cayenne pepper (optional)

seasoning salt (optional)

Cajun seasoning (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

2. While it’s OK to leave some strings and pulp on your seeds (it adds flavor) clean off any major chunks.

3. Toss pumpkin seeds in a bowl with the melted butter or oil and seasonings of your choice.

4. Spread pumpkin seeds in a single layer on baking sheet.

5. Bake for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown.

Bourbon Spiked Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Bourbon Bread Pudding


8 slices purchased cinnamon-swirl

bread, lightly toasted

1 1/2 cups whole milk

2 eggs

3/4 cup sugar, divided

1/4 cup bourbon

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 cup canned pumpkin

1/4 cup sour cream

1 egg

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1/2 cup purchased caramel sauce

4 teaspoons bourbon


1. Generously butter a 2-quart square baking dish. Cover bottom of dish with four bread slices. Set remaining bread aside.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, two eggs, 1/2 cup of the sugar, the 1/4 cup bourbon and the vanilla. Drizzle 1/2 cup of the milk mixture over bread in dish. Set remaining mixture aside.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together pumpkin, sour cream, one egg, the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and the cinnamon. Spread pumpkin mixture evenly over bread in dish. Dip remaining bread slices in reserved milk mixture and arrange over pumpkin. Gently pour remaining milk mixture over bread. Chill, covered, for at least 2 hours or overnight.

4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drizzle pudding with melted butter. Bake, uncovered, about 45 minutes or until a knife inserted near center comes out clean and top is lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes.

5. Before serving, warm caramel sauce and the 4 teaspoons bourbon over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Drizzle over slices of bread pudding.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Love those pepitos! Roasted pumpkin seeds… yum!

Goes well as a “toss-on” for my Pork & Poblano stew!

What a nice way to take a break from the news!!! I’m thinking that Caramel Apple Cider is one I’m gonna have to try first.