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DECK THE HOLIDAY'S: 10/30/15

Friday, October 30, 2015

CANDY CORN MACAROONS WITH PUMPKIN SPICE FILLING!!

 This recipe comes from www.barbarabakes.com .   I truely unique take on candy corn.  These days, macaroons are all the rage too, give them a try.



Candy Corn Macaron




I got a little carried away at the store today. I had this idea to make candy corn macarons for this month’s MacTweets and I went to the store to buy candy corn to dress up the pictures. When I got there, they had ordinary candy corn of course, but this year Bach’s also had Caramel Candy Corn, and Chocolate Caramel Candy Corn, and Caramel Apple Candy Corn. All of which I decided I should take home and try.
But I didn’t stop there – no of course not. There were also candy cane flavored Dots and candy corn Kisses and I thought I should sampled those as well. (Let’s not talk about the two cute packages of Halloween Lindor Truffles that I bought and have hidden in my closet.)







The reason for my apparent current obsession with candy corn is that I hate them. I think they have a horrible, waxy flavor. My husband and my kids seem to like them, but I think they’re pretty nasty.
But I do sort of think of them fondly. They remind me of this time of year – cooler weather and yummy treats. Candy corn always seemed to be hanging around when you were bobbing for apples or eating pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. They look so cheery and fun and I really do want to like them.
So when I saw the orange pumpkin spice Kisses I thought they would make a perfect filing for a candy corn mac. A candy corn that would be full of fabulous fall flavor, not waxy and bland with an odd smell. Of course, I wanted to make the top white and the bottom yellow. I tried shaping one in the shape of a candy corn, but it looked more like an egg, so I stuck with round candy corn macs instead.







I made the Ottolenghi recipe that works well for me. I used half the batter for white and then added yellow to the other half. If I was making two colors again, I would make half a batch of each because the yellow got over mixed and spread much more than the white ones, making it hard to match them up.
I made the filling by melting about 10 Pumpkin Spice Kisses in the microwave at 50% power for about 1 minutes and adding enough powdered sugar to make a thick filling. This really is a perfect mac flavor for fall and so much better than candy corn candies.

Macarons 

Ingredients

110gm powdered sugar
60gm finely ground almond meal/flour
60gm egg whites (of 2 eggs)
40gm granulated sugar

Directions
Preheat oven to 310 degrees F
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and have a pastry bag with a plain tip (about 1/2-inch, 2 cm) ready. (Setting the pastry bag in a glass while you fill the bag was a great tip I learned during this process.) (Also, I like to double stack the baking sheets.)
Combine the powdered sugar with the almond powder. (Pulse in a blender or food processor if you don’t have finely ground almond meal. A mini food processor works best for this if you have one.)
With an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until they begin to rise and hold their shape. While whipping, beat in the granulated sugar until very stiff and firm, about 2 minutes. (To test to see if egg whites are ready, whip until the tip of the peak doesn’t fold over when you pull the beater out of the meringue.)
Carefully fold the dry ingredients, in two batches, into the beaten egg whites with a flexible rubber spatula. When the mixture is just smooth and there are no streaks of egg white, stop folding and scrape the batter into the pastry bag. (You can put a spoonful on a plate to test it. If it slowly flattens out it’s perfect. If it runs, add a bit more almond flour/powdered sugar. If it just stays in a blob, give it a few more folds.)
Pipe the batter on the parchment-lined baking sheets in 1-inch (3 cm) circles (about 1 tablespoon each of batter), evenly spaced one-inch (3 cm) apart.
Rap the baking sheet a few times firmly on the counter top to flatten the macarons. Leave out, uncovered for 15 minutes, then bake them for 15-20 minutes. Give the macs a gentle little shake with the tip of your finger to see if they’re done. You want them set but not firm. It’s better to undercook them.
Let cool completely then remove from baking sheet.
Print Recipe
So you may be wondering what I thought of the other flavors of candy corn – waxy and nasty. Somehow the Kisses nailed the strange candy corn flavor in their Candy Corn Kisses, but at least it was smooth and creamy and not waxy. The Dots sort of captured the candy corn flavor but in a gummy sort of way.

THE ANATOMY OF FEAR INFOGRAPHIC!

  Boo! Did I scare you? Probably not, but it’s the thought that counts. Today is Halloween or All Hallows Eve for those of you who prefer ye olde English. As you all know it is a day when kids and adults alike get dressed up and indulge in “treats,” for kids it’s candy for us, well it’s something that makes you feel worse than candy the following morning. Unfortunately Halloween day is on Monday, and though it will not deter everyone from partying tonight, many celebrated this weekend. Personally I went to a couple of friend’s parties and checked out 6th street in downtown Austin. This being my first Halloween to be of drinking age, I had to check out what all the hubub is about. Though it was a cool site to see, the crowd is just too big to have any real fun, besides waiting forever in line to get into the bars.
   Many of us without children will probably be treating today like any other day, except maybe more likely to watch a horror movie or something of the sort. A holiday largely associated with fear, today’s infographic The Anatomy of Fear outlines what fear is and some of the things that cause it. The definition of fear according to today’s infographic: a basic survival mechanism in response to pain or threat of danger.
   One of the more interesting phobias listed, nomophobia, is the fear of being out of mobile phone contact. The joys of our technology reliant society, in opinion this is kind of a ridiculous phobia. Anyway why is it we like being scared? For one the same place of the brain that experiences fear also is associated with pleasure. It is also a method of testing and overcoming our limits as well as realizing we are not always in danger and can enjoy the adrenalin rush.







Anatomy of Fear





TOP TEN MOST HAUNTED CITIES IN THE UNITED STATES!!





    Visit even the smallest of towns in the U.S. and you’re likely to hear some local ghost stories and discover a few haunted houses. But some American cities have gained the reputation for being particularly ghost-ridden thanks to their rich and often bizarre historical backgrounds. The following are ten of the most haunted cities to steer away from—or toward, if you dare—this Halloween.


10. San Francisco, California

    San Francisco’s rich cultural makeup, large immigrant population, and a history of natural disasters like earthquakes have helped it develop a reputation as a Mecca of all things haunted. Chinatown alone is home to countless ghost tours and creepy folklore, but the city also boasts a wealth of haunted hotels, mansions, and army bases. Of these, one of the most famous is the Queen Anne Hotel, which served as a school for girls in the 1890s and is said to be haunted by the ghost of its former headmistress, Mary Lake. There are also a number of stories concerning Mary Anne Pleasant, the so-called “Voodoo Queen of San Francisco,” who was a former slave and abolitionist who used a knowledge of the black arts to gain wealth and influence among the city’s elite. Even the trendy San Francisco Art Institute, which is rumored to have been built on top of a graveyard that housed victims of the 1906 earthquake, is said to be the home of several ghosts who have frequently been seen climbing the stairs to a tower that overlooks the ancient cemetery.


Most Haunted Place: Alcatraz





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   Alcatraz Island is one of San Francisco’s most famous landmarks, but the former maximum-security prison is also home to some of the city’s weirdest ghost stories. Visitors to the island often claim to see apparitions walking the cellblocks, and sometimes hear voices emanating from what was once the cafeteria.


9. Key West, Florida

    Sunny Key West might not seem like the most probable setting for haunted houses, but this small beach community is home to some of the oldest—and downright creepiest—of all ghost stories. The city’s rich history of buccaneers and rumrunners provides the backdrop for a lot of these ghosts, like those that are said haunt Captain Tony’s Saloon. Before it was a bar, Captain Tony’s was supposedly the location of the island’s morgue, and the tree that grows through the building’s center is said to have been a major site for lynching pirates and other criminals, and many are said to still haunt the premises today. Other local ghost stories concern the writer Ernest Hemingway, who kept a home on Key West for some thirty years. Hemingway’s house, now a museum dedicated to his life and work, is said to house the novelist’s ghost. Some visitors and workers claim to see him walking the grounds, while others have heard the clicking of his typewriter coming from inside the main house.



Most Haunted: Robert the Doll





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    The island’s art and historical museum isn’t haunted, but it does contain one of the creepiest artifacts of Key West’s history in the form of Robert, a large doll that many claim is possessed. The doll was given to painter Gene Otto in the early 1900s, and the young boy soon became deathly afraid of it, as he said it would often threaten him and wake him in the night by throwing furniture around the room. The boy’s parents would often swear they saw the doll moving, and neighbors claimed they often spotted Robert pacing in front of the windows of the house when the family was away.


8. Athens, Ohio

    Athens, Ohio is a small town that is home to the Ohio University as well as some downright strange ghost stories. This small, otherwise peaceful community has inspired stories of hauntings that include everything from a headless train conductor to pagan cults and the violent murders of livestock. Many claim that when plotted on a map, the city’s five major graveyards form the symbol of a pentagram, and strange rituals are at the center of many of Athens’ most famous ghost tales. A lot of these stories date back over a hundred years, when the town became associated with the Spiritualist movement of the 1800s. The most famous tells of Jonathan Koons, a poor farmer who was instructed by ghosts to build a “spirit room” in which apparitions would then manifest and communicate with him from beyond the grave.


Most Haunted Place: Athens Lunatic Asylum




Ridges_ballroom

Night Shift Staff




    There’s nothing creepier than a good old-fashioned insane asylum, and Athens has one of the most famous in the form of the Athens Lunatic Asylum, which operated from 1874 until 1993. The hospital held many violent patients, and is notorious for being the site of hundreds of lobotomies. Since closing, the hospital has been the at the center of numerous ghost stories, most of which are kept alive by the students at the university, which now owns the asylum grounds. The most famous of these concerns Margaret, a deaf-mute patient who supposedly escaped from her room, accidentally became trapped in an abandoned ward, and eventually died of exposure. Her decomposing body was found weeks later, and supposedly the stain that was left on the floor of the ward can still be seen today.



7. Portland, Oregon

    Portland, Oregon has developed a reputation as the most haunted city of the Pacific Northwest thanks to its bizarre history and high number of ghost sightings. One of the city’s most famous haunted houses is Pittock Mansion, an ornate house that was built in 1914 by a wealthy businessman and his wife, both of whom died shortly thereafter. Visitors have claimed to have seen apparitions and heard footsteps coming from empty rooms, and doors and windows will sometimes open by themselves. Weirdest of all, a portrait of Mr. Pittock, the man who built the house, will inexplicably be found in different parts of the house, as though it can move itself from room to room. In addition to the Pittock house, other Portland haunted places include the Bagdad theater, a movie theater built during the roaring 20s that supposedly houses a number of spirits, and the Willamette river, where in recent years a phantom rowboat has been spotted by several people.


Most Haunted Place: Shanghai Tunnels




shanghai-tunnels




    Portland’s coastal location established it as a shipping hub and port of call for sailors during the 1800s. This eventually led to the rise of a practice known as shanghaiing, wherein unsuspecting men and women were kidnapped from bars or hotels, shipped to the Orient, and impressed into slave labor or prostitution. Portland was notorious for this practice thanks to a series of labyrinthine underground tunnels that run beneath the city streets, which were used by the Shanghaiiers as a safe way to capture and transfer victims to the harbor without being seen. Today, the tunnels are said to be haunted by the ghosts of the people who were kidnapped, many of whom were never seen or heard from again.



6. Charleston, South Carolina

    Known as the “Holy City” for the church spires that dot its skyline, Charleston is one of the oldest cities in the U.S., and also one of the most haunted. Victorian mansions line the downtown area known as the Battery, which was a protective artillery installation during the Civil War, and it is here that many of the city’s most haunted houses can be found. Perhaps the most famous is the Battery Carriage House Inn, a hotel where people have reported seeing everything from strange lights, to the gentlemanly ghost of a student who died after leaping off the roof, to a headless torso that appears at guests’ bedsides in the middle of the night. Charleston is also known for a number of ghost stories that originated with the Gullah, a West African culture that populates parts of South Carolina and Georgia. The most famous Gullah horror stories usually center on Boo Hags, a type of blood-red vampire that wears human skin as a mask and feeds on its victim’s energy while they sleep.



Most Haunted Place: the Dock Street Theater




dock-street-theater




    Charleston is full of buildings with a checkered past, and one of the most well known is surely the Dock Street Theater. Built in 1809, the theater is said to be the home of two spirits. The first is Nettie, a poor prostitute who was killed near the theater after being struck by lightning. The other is the ghost of Junius Brutus Booth, an actor who is more famous today for being the father of John Wilkes Boothe, the man who killed Abraham Lincoln. Both spirits are said to wander the backstage area of the theater, and many workers and performers claim to have spotted them.

 

5. Salem, Massachusetts

    In 1692, Salem, Mass. became the sight of a series of infamous trials after three local women were accused of using witchcraft to terrorize a trio of young girls. The trials soon escalated into mass hysteria, with townspeople vehemently accusing neighbors and acquaintances, almost all of them unmarried women, of being witches. Over 150 people were arrested and charged, and as may as 19 were eventually executed by hanging. Today, the town of Salem encourages its reputation as “Witch City, USA” and has one of the biggest Halloween celebrations in the country. Alongside the tourist shops and museums, though, stand several infamous ghost stories related to the witch trials. One in particular concerns Gallows Hill, the site of several hangings, which is said to be haunted by the spirits of the 19 people lynched for being witches.


Most Haunted Place: Joshua Ward House




ward_house




    Known as one of the most haunted houses in America, Joshua Ward House is built on the foundation of the home of George Corwin, the man who served as Sheriff during the Salem witch trials. Corwin is infamous for his role in the death of Giles Corey, a local man who was charged with witchcraft. When Corey refused to enter a plea in court, Corwin used an old English legal precedent and placed him under a board piled with rocks in order to coerce him into talking. Corey never relented, and was eventually crushed to death under the massive weight. To this day, many claim that Corey and Corwin, who is rumored to be buried beneath the foundation of his old home, haunt the Joshua Ward House.


4. Chicago, Illinois


    Thanks to its famous great fire and history of gangsters and underworld criminals like Al Capone, Chicago has developed quite a reputation for being haunted. The city has a number of well known ghost stories that are whispered among the locals each Halloween, and perhaps none is more famous that the story of Resurrection Mary. As the story goes, Mary was a young girl who was hit and killed by a car while leaving a dance hall with her boyfriend. She was buried in nearby Resurrection Cemetery, and ever since she can be periodically seen wandering the streets in her white burial dress, still trying to find her way back home. Another famous story concerns what has come to be known as the “Devil Baby of Hull House,” a child born with scaly skin and a pointed tail who supposedly haunts the house once owned by famed activist Jane Addams.

Most Haunted Place: Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery





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    Rumored to be one of the prohibition-era gangsters’ favorite places to dump bodies, Bachelor’s Grove is an old and decaying burial ground that has been the site of countless stories about ghosts, spirits, and devil worship. Several headstones in the cemetery seem to move at will, and many claim that the spirits of the dead often materialize and walk the grounds at night. The most famous of these is the “White Lady,” the ghost of a young woman who is always seen in a white dress, often cradling a baby in her arms.



3. Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

    In July of 1863, the small college town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania was the site of the biggest military clash of the Civil War, which to this day remains the bloodiest event to ever occur on American soil. Over 150,000 total soldiers converged on the scene, and when the battle was over as many as 50,000 were killed, wounded, or missing. The shadow of the battle still stands over the town today, and many claim the ghosts of dead soldiers haunt the battlefields. What’s unique about Gettysburg is the sheer amount and frequency of its ghost sightings. Some places in the town, like the home of Jenny Wade, a woman who was killed by a stray bullet from the battle, supposedly experience paranormal activity on a daily basis. Elsewhere, there have even been reports of lone visitors to the battlefield park stumbling across what they assume to be a battle reenactment, only to later learn that none took place that day.