Leprechaun: Guinness Gold Cupcakes, Unlucky Charms, & Evil Leprechaun Cocktail

 lep-thefuntimesguide

Try as they will, and try as they might, whoever steals his gold won’t live through the night.

            According to well-known Irish folklore, leprechauns are mischievous, smooth talking, devious little tricksters. They like their fun, but they also work hard, hammering out shoe after shoe for their elfin employers. They receive gold coins for their pay, and the coin crocks are secretly stashed away from the likes of greedy humans.

Also, it is written that to catch a leprechaun is already difficult, but to keep him captive and get his treasure is just almost downright impossible. If you are lucky enough to do so, it is advised to keep an unbreakable gaze upon him. For if you don’t, the wee man will surely vanish.

Of course, there are other ways one can try to obtain a leprechaun’s treasures. Follow him to the end of a rainbow. Bait a trap with a few faux coins. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll be luck enough to land yourself some loot.

Unfortunately, that didn’t quite work out for Dan O’Grady. In 1993’s schlocky horror film, Leprechaun, Mr. O’Grady caught a wee fellow and his gold, but Dan soon discovered his luck had run out…

leprechaun movie poster

Really, I love Leprechaun for all its badness. Bad dialogue, bad acting from a supporting cast, and bad typecasting of leprechaun folklore all blended into one. The best of the worst is the bad death scene. You know; the one involving a homicidal leprechaun on a pogo stick spewing demented limericks while bouncing across someone’s chest. That’s my wheresmygold movifancentralfave! happy evil lep

But you can’t celebrate another St. Patrick’s Day without, at some point, tuning in to this golden stone and rooting for the little bad guy. To go along with this mandatory viewing, I’ve concocted some goodies to die for that correlate with some of my favorite lines from the movie!

The Recipes:

“I’ll not rest til I have me gold. Curse this well that me soul shall dwell til I find me magic that breaks me spell.” –The Leprechaun

IMG_0911

Guinness Gold Cupcakes with Irish Butterscream Frosting

*These deep crocks of chocolate spiked with dark, stout beer are good as gold. Topped with an adults-only hand-forged Irish ButterScream and a generous heap of gold sugar, they make fairly effective Leprechaun bait!

Ingredients: (Makes 18-24 irresistible treasures)

1 cup baking cocoa, 2 cups sugar, 2 ¾ cups cake flour, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp baking powder, ¼ tsp salt, 4 eggs, 2 sticks butter (softened), 2 cups Guinness beer, 1 tsp pure vanilla extract. For frosting: 1 stick butter (soft), 1/3 cup Bailey’s Irish cream, 1/8 tsp salt, 4-5 cups powdered sugar (depending on how thick you’d like it), gold sugar sprinkles.

Equipment/materials: Gold cupcake liners, 2 cupcake pans, hand/stand mixer, pastry bag fitted with metal tip #2D or spreader

How To Make Em:

Cupcakes: Line cupcake pans with the liners. Give each a squirt of nonstick baking spray. Nothing too dramatic.

Cook and stir the beer and cocoa powder over medium heat. Stir constantly for about 2-3 minutes until the mixture is nice and smooth. Allow this to cool.

Using your hand/stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar into creamy submission. Add your eggs.

In a separate small bowl, sift together the boring stuff-flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

Alternately, add the boring flour stuff and the cocoa beer to the creamed mixture. Start and end with your boring flour stuff. Stir in the vanilla.

Fill each cupcake cavity about 2/3 full. Bake for 15 mins on 350 degrees. (Cupcakes should come out clean with a center tester). Meanwhile, make the frosting.

Frosting: Using your hand/stand mixer, beat the butter, salt, and Irish cream into creamy submission. Slowly add the powdered sugar until smooth and your desired consistency. This will frost all 18-24 cupcakes!

Frost the cooled cupcakes using a spreader or metal tip pastry bag. Generously sprinkle with tons of gold sugar! (And prepare for plenty of compliments on your yummy creation!)

IMG_0904Hey, Lep! F*** You, Lucky Charms!” –Alex

Unlucky Charms Bars

*This is a gimmicky version of that favorite crisped rice cereal bar you may remember from your younger days. Except, I Leprechauned it up for you by replacing boring, bland crisped rice cereal with sugar-coated marshmallow-infused goodness.  Now you can have your old childhood cereal and eat it too!

Ingredients: (Makes 12-16 charms)

4 Tbsp butter, 1 bag of large marshmallows, 7 cups Lucky Charms cereal

Equipment/Materials: 9×13 baking pan

How to Make em: Prep your baking pan with nonstick baking spray.

In a large pot on the stove, melt the butter. Add the marshmallows, stirring until they are melted and smooth. Remove from heat. Add the cereal a cup at a time until it is completely covered in melty marshmallow butter. Spoon out into your baking pan and gently-with the slightest touch-press into the pan. Allow to set. Cover to keep them fresh.

Note: The slight touch will give you soft crunchiness that won’t break your teeth out at first bite!

Tip: You can liven them up even more by adding flavored marshmallows. This time of year there are lots of choices for pastel marshmallow flavors!

IMG_0909Evil Leprechaun Cocktail

“That thing is a leprechaun, and we’ve gotta find a way to stop it.”-Tory

*Ah, a naughty, creamy libation depicting all the qualities of the iconic Irish leprechaun. It’s fun, it’s quirky, it disappears quickly, and it’s loaded with drink. But the addition of ice cream turns it totally sinful!!

Ingredients: (Makes 1 evil cocktail)

3 ounces cold coffee, 1 ounce Irish whiskey, ½ ounce Kahlua, ½ ounce Bailey’s Irish cream, 3 scoops of vanilla ice cream, and 2 cups crushed ice

Equipment/Materials: blender

How to Make It: Add all the ingredients to the blender, including the crushed ice. Give it a few spins on blend until well blended. I give it a few rounds on liquefy just to get those bigger ice chunks to size. Blend to your tastes. Pour into a serving glass and garnish with a cute flag like I did!

Tip: If you must have it green, substitute mint chip ice cream  for the vanilla ice cream.

              Until next time…Stay spooky, my fiends. And stalk The Horror Congress regularly.

The Loved Ones: Pink Princess Cupcakes and Lovesick Blondies

 It’s Valentine’s Day. Are these treats “pretty enough?”

 the loved ones movie poster

            Valentine’s Day. The day of love.

For those of us gals fortunate enough to be married, attached, committed, or sought after,  Valentine’s Day can be a tasty, thoughtful day of fresh roses, candy, skimpy lingerie, or tickets to see The Evil Dead Musical (hey, whatever trips your trigger, right?)

But what about those single others? The day of love must be a virtual day of sorrow. And now that Valentine’s Day apparently has its own season (from January 2nd when the Christmas decorations come down to February 14th) it must be just one huge month of misery leading up to the Big Depressing Day.

If you are one of the fateful that falls into the latter category, don’t do it. Don’t slide into your yoga pants and oversized shirts. Don’t crawl under the covers, tear into that heart-shaped box of chocolates you bought yourself, and tune into John Hughes movies all night.

stone family fun

Dinner with the Stones

Instead, I invite you to call upon your other lonely lady friends and spend the evening at prom with Princess, Daddy, Bright-Eyes, and The King. It will be an absolutely terrifying night of looking through creepy stalker scrapbooks and blood-soaked torture porn all set to an eerie pink disco-ball backdrop. Refreshments like Lola’s “finger lickin good” chicken and a sludgy syringe cocktail-to-the-neck will be served, but you could always just bring your own…I’ve got a few in mind!

 

lola and drill

Princess and her drill

The Loved Ones. Think Pretty in Pink meets Texas Chainsaw Massacre. In fact, Lola (aka Princess) is exactly the type of tormented, obsessed, deranged girl I’d expect to see spawned from Leatherface and Molly Ringwald’s character, Andie.

 

the king

Brent, the new Loved One

When Lola is rejected by her latest crush, Brent, and then later finds him having sex with his beautiful girlfriend, Holly, she goes totally over the edge. She recruits her equally psychotic father (aka Daddy) to kidnap Brent and make him into her new King. But when Brent refuses to play along nicely with the sick prom night fantasy, he’s put through some pretty horrible, mind-bending punishment involving nails, drills, and crappy teen love songs. His rebellion eventually lands him in the cellar of surprises with Lola’s other collected “loved ones”.  I must say Robin Mcleavy is flawless as Princess; so sadistic and cute all drenched in pink. The only thing truly off-putting about this movie is Lola’s angsty theme song “Pretty Enough” that has been lodged into my brain for weeks now.

 

Am I not pretty enough? Is my heart too broken? Do I cry too much? Am I too outspoken?” Don’t say I didn’t warn you…

The Recipes: I don’t like pink. But it’s Valentine’s Day, and Princess wouldn’t have it any other color. In fact, I was told the cupcakes are almost too pretty to eat. Don’t let their outer charm deter you. Inside they are a sadistic, fluffy addiction just waiting to overcome you. The blondies are rich, buttery, and loaded with crunchy candy. When the last one is gone you’ll be lovesick for more…

 

DGbaking Blog 002Pink Princess Cupcakes

(makes 18-24 pretty treats)

 

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups cake flour

1 ¼ cups sugar

1 ½ tsp baking powder

¼ tsp baking soda

¼ tsp salt

2 sticks (1 cup) softened butter

3 eggs (room temp)

1 cup buttermilk

¼ tsp pink paste food coloring ( I used Wilton Rose Petal Pink to get the closest color to Lola’s dress)

1 batch Pink Vanilla Butterscream frosting

White pearl candies (I used Wilton’s white sugar pearls)

9-12 fresh strawberries (stems removed, cut in half)

Cupcake pan, pink or V-day print liners, pastry bag, large decorating tip ( I used tip #1G)

How to Make em: In a mixing bowl or bowl of standing mixer, beat together the butter, sugar, and food coloring with your hand mixer or stand mixer into a creamy submission. Add the eggs, one at a time,  and the vanilla until fully combined. In a separate smaller bowl, sift together the boring stuff- flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add to your creamed butter mix alternately with the buttermilk. I always start and end with the dry stuff. Mix until just combined. Fill liners about half way. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes. Allow to cool completely before dressing up.

Pink Vanilla Butterscream Frosting

(Makes enough to dress 18-24 cupcakes)

Ingredients:

1 stick (1/2 cup) softened butter

1 pd powdered sugar

1/8 tsp salt

¼-1/2 cup whipping cream

1 tsp vanilla

1/8 tsp pink paste food coloring (I used Wilton Rose Petal Pink)

How to Make It: In a mixing bowl or bowl of standing mixer, beat together the butter, cream, vanilla, and salt with your hand mixer or stand mixer into a creamy submission. Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time until smooth. Stir or mix in the food coloring until thoroughly assaulted with pink.

Dollin’ Up the Cupcakes: Fit your pastry bag with your preferred decorating tip. Pipe on the pink frosting however thick you like it. Add a dash of classy white pearls and pierce with a strawberry slice. Too pretty!

 

100_1566Lovesick Blondies

(Makes 12 addictive bars)

 

Ingredients:

2 sticks (1 cup) melted butter

2 cups brown sugar

2 eggs (room temperature)

2 tsp vanilla

2 cups flour

½ tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

1 bag Valentine’s Day M&M candy (I used the peanut butter ones)

13×9” pan

How to Make Em: Prep your pan with nonstick spray. In a large bowl, stir together the melted butter and sugar until well combined. Add in the eggs and vanilla. In a small bowl, sift together the boring stuff-the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to the butter mixture. Mix in the candies until well incorporated. Spread into the pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 25-28 minutes. Cool completely before cutting into. Tastes awesome with vanilla ice cream!

Chernobyl Diaries: Nuclear Poppyseed Cupcakes

Pack your bags. We’re going on vacationmuwahahahaha….. 

            Many great horror movies have begun with a group of friends setting off together on a carefree summer adventure. We all know what happens. It’s become quite the genre cliché. Fun becomes trouble and the trouble turns deadly. Each member of the party is picked off, one by clueless one, until the final tough contender remains facing off with The Bad Guy or The Bad Something. While most vacation horror films may seem fairly formulaic in their approach to kill off oblivious youngsters, there are an eclectic few going out of their way to do it different. Oren Peli’s Chernobyl Diaries is definitely trying to be a trip-taking rebel.

My Screen Rant:  Chris, his girlfriend, Natalie, and her tag-along galpal, Amanda, are off sightseeing throughEurope. They make a brief pit stop inKiev,Ukraine, to visit Chris’s playful, up-for-anything brother, Paul. Paul is really so up-for-anything that he arranges an impromptu side adventure through Uri’s “Extreme Tourism” to Pripyat, the town evacuated and left deserted following the 1986 Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster. His straighter-laced brother is not exactly thrilled.

Pripyat

Of course, the typical warnings soon abound. Another backpacking couple joins in on the tour, Uri must take the antsy group another route after being denied access into the city by gate guards, and signs of “we’re not alone” slowly creep their way into the film. The action really picks up once the tour ends. But you know the tour never really ends, right? Because the van doesn’t start and the walkie-talkie only responds with static. *shocker!* Wild animals are on the prowl, and radiation levels are beginning to rise along with the tension amongst the frightened friends.

An uneasy feeling

That is where the tried and true devices of the Pick Em Off horror film dissolve. What follows is an unremitting assault on your nerves sans spooky music that gives away the better jolts. The creepy setting is finally original. The characters face more than just mutated ruins-dwellers. The ending left a hopeless taste in my mouth (that is usually not the case). And thankfully, it’s not a found footage film!!

Now, who says horror isn’t educational? After an hour and a half of thinking “get the heck outta there,” at the characters, my zomblings could not wait to revisit Chernobylthrough the internet and library books. The movie sparked an interest in the geography, the history, and the science behind the disaster. Chernobyl Diaries motivated their interest in learning far better than any textbook or classroom lesson. Go Horror! I think that’s pretty awesome!

Something’s coming!

The Recipe: Makiwnyk is the traditional poppy seed cake ofUkraine. I took the customary ingredients found in the cake and transformed them into airy lemon-glazed Makiwnyk cupcakes. Not only is the glaze refreshingly tart, it also serves as a tasty adhesive for the radioactive fondant symbols atop each treat. The best part is that you don’t have to be an expert in fondant to create the decorations because the design is fairly simple.

Tips for Success: Make the lemony glaze while the cupcakes bake. Prepare the fondant decorations a day or two ahead.

Nuclear Makiwnyk (Poppyseed) Cupcakes

(Makes 22-24 radioactive goodies)

Ingredients:

3 c cake flour

2 sticks (1 cup) softened butter

5 eggs (room temp, please)

2 1/3 c sugar

¼ tsp baking soda

1/8 tsp salt

1 c sour cream or crème fraiche

1 tsp lemon juice

2 Tbsp lemon zest

2 Tbsp poppy seeds

1 tsp cinnamon

Liners: radioactive green or yellow

Topping: Makiwnyk (lemon) Glaze

Decoration: Nuclear Symbol

How To Make Em:

Obligatory Reminder: Prep pans with cupcake liners and coat sparingly with non-stick baking spray. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1. Beat the butter and sugar into creamy submission using your hand mixer or stand mixer.

2. Add the eggs, one at a time. Stir in the sour cream/crème fraiche by hand.

3. In a small bowl, mix together the boring stuff: flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to the creamed mixture by hand or mixer until well combined.

4. Gently mix in the cinnamon, lemon juice, zest, and poppy seeds.

5. Fill each cupcake cavity about ¾ full. Bake 15-18 minutes in 350 degrees oven. Always do the toothpick-poke check before pulling them out of the oven. If the toothpick emerges clean from the center of a cupcake, it is done.

6. Cool. Glaze. Decorate.

 Deadgirl Makiwnyk Glaze

 (Enough to cover 22-24 radioactive goodies)

Ingredients:

3 ½ Tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 ½ c powdered sugar 

How To Make It:

1. Whisk the two sticky ingredients together until the sugar is fully dissolved and it resembles a syrup.

2. Brush or drizzle over the tops of the cooled cupcakes.

3. Place the decorations atop each cupcake before the glaze dries.

Fondant Radioactive Symbol

1 batch white fondant (storebought or homemade)

Yellow icing color

Black icing color

Tools: toothpicks, rolling pin (silicone or otherwise), silicone mat or tabletop, extra powdered sugar or cornstarch, craft cutting knife or fondant cutting knife, standard circle cookie cutter

**First off, I don’t have any money to spend on fancy-schmancy cake decorating supplies so in true DIY anarchy style-I use what I have around my kitchen.

**Also, I don’t buy packaged fondant because it tastes disgusting to me and where’s the DIY rebellion in that? I prefer to make my own. On our next traveling adventure, I will post a recipe for homemade marshmallow fondant. Much yummier!!

Doin’ it Deadgirl Style

How To Make Em:

1. Dust your work surface or mat with loads of powdered sugar/cornstarch.

2. Using a toothpick to add the color, tint ½ of the fondant yellow and ½ of the fondant black.

Alternative: There are always more than one way to skin a cat, my dearies. Black fondant is a pain to achieve. If you are patience-challenged like me, cut down your time by simply leaving the other half white and paint on the black icing color after the decos have been assembled. I did this, and it worked fabulously.

3. Roll out the yellow fondant thin and cut out as many circles as you can with your circle cutter. Place each circle atop a cupcake.

4. Using your craft knife or your overpriced fondant tool, cut radioactive symbols from the black (or white) fondant. See my example below for an awesome visual or Google it.

5. Using a dab of leftover glaze or a small bit of water + powdered sugar/cornstarch, adhere your small symbols to the yellow circle.

*If you are painting on the black color, use a fine brand new art or candy making paint brush.

Voila! You are set for a radioactive night of horror film watching!!! Enjoy!

Upcoming Travels: Another Friday the 13th means another group meeting with my Main Man, Jason Voorhees. We’ll be watching Friday the 13th Part 4 (my absolute favorite in the series) and munching on Hockey Mask Scotcheroos!

The Bleeding House: Baked Spinach Artichoke Dip

February is Recognizing Women in Horror month. This week I’m honoring Alexandra Chando’s character, Gloria (aka Blackbird), in the wildly underappreciated Indie film, The Bleeding House.

          Ever hear the saying, “you can run but you can’t hide”? That seems to be the moral of the story in The Bleeding House. When good doctor Nick unexpectedly shows up on the doorstep of the troubled Smith family, he claims to be stranded; in need of a hospitable place for the night. It doesn’t take long for the well-spoken and seemingly genteel stranger to begin uncovering the secret to the family’s purposeful isolation.
          The most fascinating character in the movie is the teenage daughter, Gloria. She demands to be called Blackbird, and the reason for the nickname is neither deeply philosophical nor completely shallow for the viewer. Gloria rarely talks throughout the duration of the film, but her creepy odd behavior and always distrustful mannerisms speak volumes for her. As well as her parents’ guarded and embarrassed reactions to the few comments she makes to their overly polite houseguest.
          Any seasoned horror fan will quickly establish the real bad guys in this film though it may take a few more minutes to decide who to root for.  While watching the movie, I couldn’t’ help but draw several parallels to Good Country People, a short story I particularly enjoyed written by Flannery O’Connor. The story-like the movie-blurs the line between victim and villain, but demands that you choose a side. 
          In The Bleeding House, I choose Blackbird. She’s serene and savage; bold and timid, fascinating and frightening; a character you try not to care about, but find yourself believing in anyway. 
The Recipe: Creamy and cheesy with a mild kick, this super simple baked dip is so good with tortilla chips, Melba toast, or red pepper strips. The corpse groom and I find it rather hard to share with others during game nights or with each other during movie nights. After one dunk, you may have the same issue so I suggest making a full recipe. Incorporating some manners into your snacking (as the good doctor Nick does) may be appreciated as well. You never know who will come a-callin’…. 
(If I’d known You Were Coming I’d Have Made More)
 Baked Spinach Artichoke Dip
(Makes enough for you but maybe not for others)
Ingredients:
(1) 10 ounce package frozen chopped spinach
(2) 13ounce cans quartered artichoke hearts
½ c mayo  (not the low fat/fat free stuff either. It’s just not the same.)
½ c sour cream (same goes for the sour cream)
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 cup grated spicy pepper jack cheese
Dippers: tortilla chips, Melba toast, and sliced red bell pepper strips
Casserole dish 
Make It:
Obligatory Reminder: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prep the casserole dish with a nonstick cooking spray.
1. Remove the spinach from its packaging. In a small microwaveable bowl, heat the spinach for five minutes. Remove. Rinse in cold water, and then drain thoroughly. I squeeze dry it by hand. *Do not half-ass on the draining because your dip will come out like soup if you do. Not cool.
2. Meanwhile, drain the artichokes. Add them to a food processor or blender and mince them until a nice artichokey paste is formed.
3. Combine all the ingredients except the pepper jack cheese in a large bowl.
4. Mix well and pour into the prepped casserole dish.
5. Sprinkle the pepper jack cheese evenly over the top of the dip.
6. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.
7. Cool slightly and then start hoarding!

New Year Of Horror, New Baking Adventure: Cake Pops

One of my New Year resolutions is to try my hand at cake pops. Knowing this, Santa brought me a new Bake Pops pan for Christmas. For our annual New Year’s Eve Game Night, I’m trying this baby out! I’ll be making Devil’s Food Cake pops, of course, topped with all the goodies left over from my holiday baking.
            I admit I’ve never made cake pops the original Bakerella way-by crumbling cold cake and smooshing canned frosting into the crumbs. Three things turned me off about it. First of all, canned frosting-no thanks. Second, hands in the cake with frosting-ick.; has me thinking about the guts-groping scene in Shaun of the Dead. Third, way too time consuming. I have a life outside of my kitchen (although, not much). Buuutttt…I love Bakerella’s designs. I love her enthusiasm for the new trend and for cake in general. However, I’m so happy there’s another fresher, quicker, less gory way to make these adorable bite-size treats! I invite you to follow along as I attempt to make my first set of cake pops today!
            Also, let’s not forget the horror. Instead of the usual Top Ten Best/Worst Horror lists, I’ve decided to briefly reflect on the 2011 year in horror as well as look ahead to what’s in store for us Deadheads in 2012!
                                      2011’s Most Memorable Scares and Chills
            Thank you, horror film makers of 2011, for giving me the willies. It’s been a long time since I can truthfully say that I was scared out of my wits by a movie, but many good films came out this year that had me not sleeping.
My Faves: Insidious (absolutely frightening imagery and an amazingly chilling soundtrack) and Paranormal Activity 3 (the third one in the series really delivers).
Good Fun Faves: Fright Night (my favorite remake since Texas Chainsaw Massacre) and Scream 4 (Neve Campbell returned as Sydney, and she’s as stunning as ever).
Honorable Mentions: The Bleeding House (I’ll be blogging on this gem in 2012) and Straw Dogs (another remake worth seeing; James Marsden-HELLO!)
Favorite Television Picks: Game of Thrones (finally, a series capable of dethroning Dexter as my #1 fave-I am chomping at the bit for Season 2); Dexter (I’m still missing Lumen); True Blood (I was seriously disappointed by the Witch Fight, but ready for more next summer), and of course, The Walking Dead (I almost keeled over after the mid-season break’s episode).
                                   Overview of Upcoming Horror for 2012
            The horror genre is starting the year off rather evil January 6th with The Devil Inside. I will be there, and you can bet I’ll be reporting on the film along with posting a possession-inspired new original cupcake flavor concocted by Deadgirlbaking Herself! Let’s see what else is in store for us this year-
*Note: There is so much horror out there (Indie, Grindhouse, international, straight to video) that it would take me an entire night to reel it off to you, so I’m literally just scratching the surface with more mainstream to keep it simple.
Vamps, Wolves, Witches, Oh My!: For you followers of the supernatural set, 2012 will lead you with another installment in the Underworld series, Underworld: Awakening (Kate Beckinsale and Scott Speedman still starring). Tim Burton’s long awaited Dark Shadows based off the short-lived horror soap opera of the late 60’s (of course, pimping his wife Helena Bonham Carter again, and featuring Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Jackie Earle Haley of Watchmen/remake NOES). And the film I’m eagerly awaiting-Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter based off the kick-butt book by Seth Grahame Smith (also wrote Pride and Prejudice and Zombies). Although, I was bummed Joaquin Phoenix was not cast in the role of the Great Emancipator. Oh well. Wanting a sequel to the amazing 70’s cult classic The Wicker Man? Our new year will bring us The Wicker Tree with a cute little cameo from Christopher Lee, of course! (I’m still on the fence about this one).
Paranormal Viewing: Ready for your ghosts, hauntings, and possessions fix? 2012 is bringing it. The Innkeepers is set to be released in theaters February, promising a good, original scare. (Although it is out on certain media mediums right now). Also, prepare for another installment in the Paranormal Activity series around Halloween with PA4 (personally, I think it should’ve ended with #3 before it gets too schlocky). And expect a sequel to the remake of 2005’s Amityville Horror with Amityville Horror: the Lost Tapes.  I love the original Amityville Horror, but seriously, the entire franchise has gone down the toilet since Part 2.
Slashers and Killers: They’re coming to get you with some great choices like Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D (for those of us who cannot get enough of our favorite cannibalistic family), yet another Halloween-Halloween 3D (with no Rob Zombie on board, thank ya), and something quite catchy-titled, You’re Next.
Zombies: Flesh-eaters return with a zombie-apocalypse movie, World War Z (based on the book by Max Brooks). We may also be privy to viewing other undead films like A Little Bit Zombie (out of Canada), R.I.P.D. (on my to-watch list; movie version of the comic by Peter M. Lenkov), and Boy Scouts vs. Zombies-yep, the title says it all, folks.
Sci-fi: Several science fiction and video game horror will be landing in 2012 with Resident Evil: Retribution (starring Milla Jovovich, as always); Sean Bean (Game of Thrones) and Carrie-Anne Moss (Matrix) will star in Silent Hill: Revelation; a sequel to 2006’s debut film. Also, watch for the long-awaited Prometheus, directed by Alien’s famer, Ridley Scott.
For The Kiddies: Tim Burton is putting out an animated Frankenweenie which is sure to be adorable and fun for the younger set.
Television: The horror genre has invaded our TV and 2012 it will continue to infect us with another season of True Blood (based on the Sookie Stackhouse Vampire Mysteries), Teen Wolf (Mtv’s adaptation of the hit 80’s film), American Horror Story (just found out FX signed on for another season), haven’t seen a full confirmation on another season of Dexter, but I’m freaking hoping so! And can’t forget The Walking Dead season conclusion beginning soon! For the grand finale; drum role please…Game of Thrones Season 2 premiering in April. With all this good, gory tv there really is no reason to go out after dark!!
The Recipe: I gave it my best shot, and I’ll tell ya it wasn’t so bad! And neither are the results of my first shot with cake pops. Cake pops are great for New Year’s Eve parties. First, they are fun to make! New Year’s Eve is a day to HAVE FUN! Also, they comply with our on-going New Year’s weight loss resolutions because they are small, bite-sized, and support portion control. See how well-behaved I am? Follow my 10 EASY steps to make  fantabulous cake pops.
Cake Pops
(Makes about 24 portion-controlled orbs)
What to Have:
Cake pops baking pan (Bake Pops brand comes with 18 reusable pop sticks)
Lollipop sticks (found in most craft/specialty cake decorating/baking shops)
Your favorite cake mix + box listed ingredients (Blasphemy! A boxed mix! First time=overcautious)
Milk
1 extra egg than your boxed ingredients calls for
1 small box instant pudding that matches your boxed cake flavor (choc-choc; white-vanilla, you get the point).
Cookie scoop or large spoon
Blocks of Styrofoam or floral foam blocks (leftover gift packaging or purchase from craft store)
Cake pops coating and toppings (recipe and suggestions found below)
What to Do:
Obligatory Reminder: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prep the top and bottom of your cake pop pan with only a flour-based baking spray. Do this again if making a second batch as this recipe suggests.
1. Mix together your chosen cake mix with your pudding choice. Add other ingredients, however substitute the water with milk, and add an extra egg to the listed amount. According to the cake pops pan, the pudding will make a denser cake. This is true.
2. I used a cookie scoop to evenly fill each pop cavity with cake batter. This worked great! You can also use a spoon for similar results, I’m sure.
3. Secure the top pan to the bottom with clips and bake for about 15 mins for softer cake. If you like crispier cake, bake for 20-25 mins.
4. Allow to pops to cool in the pan for about 10 mins before removing the top pan. Also, you may notice some mini cake lava as the batter tends to erupt through the small holes of the pan. No big deal. Just scrape it off and go on as normal.
5. Prepare your decorating/work area. Cover the table with newspaper or wax paper. Place your Stryrofoam or foam blocks on the newspaper/wax paper. Have your pop sticks ready. Have your toppings ready in shallow dishes. Also, make room in your freezer for a tray of pops to harden.
6. Prepare your coating of choice. Some suggestions: Wilton’s Candy Melts are a good colorful medium (just follow the package directions for melting). Melted chocolate chips are my preferred coating for today.
7. Dip sticks, one at a time, in the coating, then insert into the cake balls. I put them back on a cookie sheet and placed them in the freezer for about 10 mins to set.
8. Remove from freezer and immediately submerge in the melted coating, twisting a bit to coat completely. Tap off the excess drips.
9. Sprinkle your choice of toppings on the cake pop. Fight the urge to dunk your pop in the toppings unless you want gunky, not-so-pretty results. Sprinkling by hand allows you to evenly coat each pop. Plus, it’s fun! Topping Suggestions: Anything sprinkleable-chocolate chips, colored sugar, crushed candy, flaked coconut, diced dried fruits, the possibilities are truly endless. Be creative!! Even Nerds candy or Pop Rocks would make a zappy topping for the kiddos!!
10. Allow your pops to set in your foam blocks. So cool! Now, you can just grab and chomp!
I coated mine with flaked coconut, mini chocolate chips, crushed peppermint candy, chopped walnuts, and white cake glitter. Be creative. Have fun.
Eezy-Peezy Chocolate Coating
(Coats 24 cake pops baked in a Bake Pops pan)
What to Have:
11/2 bags semi-sweet chocolate chips
Vegetable oil
What to Do:
1. Melt chips in a microwave safe bowl on high for about 1 ½ minutes. Stir til smooth. Not fully melted? Microwave in 15 second intervals until fully melted.
2. Add vegetable oil by the teaspoon to thin the chocolate to coating consistency.

Trick ‘R Treat: Tricks and Treats

     Tomorrow is Halloween!!
       Oh bummer. I mean, does it really have to end so soon? We’ve been having so much fun, Halloween season and I, with our horror movie marathons, our gallons of crock pot apple cider and Creepy Masquerade party preparations, and our trips to various scary Halloween attractions.
      The night before Halloween, I typically feel compelled to cuddle up under a warm blanket with my corpse groom and watch a holiday movie. I generally settle in for the original John Carpenter Halloween, but I’ve added a new favorite just in the last couple of years. Trick ‘r Treat. Bloody awesome.
  My Screen Rant: I appreciate the originality. Remakes have become an open cesspool stinking up the genre. I’ll admit I don’t mind some of them, but when remakes of remakes (ahem The Thing) are being pushed out just to satisfy the October movie season, it gets tiresome. But I may never get tired of Trick’r Treat. It’s everything I adore about the holiday put into film. For instance, a scary town legend becomes terrifyingly real; the pumpkin carving experience goes grisly; a Halloween bonfire goes from fun to fiendish, and some freaky surprises await behind a particularly creepy candy-giver’s door. The entire story intertwines, and the trick is to see how everyone and everything is related. The treat is the little punkinhead, Sam (short for Samhain, of course, and awfully reminiscent of The Creep from Creepshow), scurrying from tale to tale, reeking havoc on anyone daring enough to blow out a jack-o-lantern before the holiday is truly over. The movie is really great gory fun! I can’t wait to pop up my corn and pour yet another mug of steaming cider.
            How are you commemorating 2011’s Halloween?
            The Recipe: Trick or Treats are a quick and easy Halloween snack; the perfect answer for the last-minute “what do I make/bring?” question. The trick is getting the goopy sticky mix off your spoon, your fingers, or your chin after you’ve shoved a hunk in your kisser. The treat is the flawless combination of chocolate and peanut butter that makes everything, including crisped rice cereal, taste like a Halloween night. The addition of fall hued Reese’s Pieces peanut butter candies make it look like Halloween, too!
Trick or Treats
(Makes about 2 dozen treats)
13×9” pan
¼ c butter
1 (10oz bag) marshmallows
2/3 c creamy peanut butter
6 c chocolate crisped rice cereal (I only use Kellogg’s Cocoa Krispies-anything else and you’ll be sorry)
A 1pd bag of candy-coated peanut butter pieces (Reese’s Pieces. Duh)
Prep your pan with non-stick spray.
In a large saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. (You want it to melt not burn). Add marshmallows and stir an excruciating amount of time until they are completely melted. Add the peanut butter, stirring well. Remove from heat to avoid scorching. Add the cereal, stirring well to really get the chocolate mixed in with its soul mate, the peanut butter. Finally, add in the candies. Butter up your hands and press the sticky mixture evenly into the pan. (I don’t press too hard or pack the treats too firmly in the pan because I like a treat I won’t break my teeth on.)
Trick or Treats by DeadGirlBaking
            **The spooky season may be coming to a close, but the baking season has really just begun for me in my dark haunted kitchen. Halloween may be departing from me at midnight Tuesday, but It leaves behind many great fright films to reminisce about and many more to watch as days go on.