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Spooky soirée: Make cocktails, chicken 'witch' fingers, more

Just in time for the spookiest day of the year, Ray Isle of Food & Wine is highlighting three delicious cocktails and a couple of tasty snacks for a Halloween party. Serve up dark and stormy death punch, hard cider sangria, kirs normand, spicy cheddar witch fingers and spiced candy corn crispies.

Dark and stormy death punch
Servings:

Makes 8 servings

Ingredients

    • One 20-ounce can lychees in heavy syrup
    • 1/4 cup thinly sliced peeled fresh ginger
    • 16 brandied cherries
    • 1/4 cup superfine sugar
    • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
    • 12 ounces dark rum
    • Three 12-ounce bottles ginger beer
    • Ice cubes

Preparation

Baking Directions:

1. In a small saucepan, bring the lychee syrup and ginger to a boil. Remove from the heat, cover and let steep for 30 minutes. 2. Meanwhile, stuff 16 lychees with brandied cherries. Set each lychee in the cup of a mini muffin pan or in an ice cube tray. Strain the lychee-ginger syrup and pour it over the lychees. Freeze until firm, at least 4 hours. 3. Meanwhile, in a pitcher, stir the sugar into the lime juice until dissolved. Add the rum and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour. 4. Unmold the lychee ice cubes into a small punch bowl. Pour in the lime-rum mixture. Add the ginger beer, stir gently and serve in ice-filled glasses. Make ahead: The lychee ice cubes can be frozen for up to 1 week.

Kirs Normand
Servings:

Makes 10 servings

Ingredients

    • 2 large Granny Smith apples (optional)
    • 6 2/3 cups cold dry hard cider, preferably French
    • 6 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons Crème de Framboise or crème de cassis

Preparation

Baking Directions:

1. Using a lemon stripper or channel knife, cut around the apples to make 10 very thin, 6-inch-long strips of peel, allowing them to coil. The strips can be kept in ice water in the refrigerator for up to 2 hours. 2. Pour 2/3 cup of the cider into each of 10 Champagne flutes. Add 2 teaspoons of the Crème de Framboise to each flute and garnish with an apple strip.

Hard cider sangria
Servings:

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

    • 1 cup quartered and thinly sliced unpeeled green, yellow and red apples
    • 1 navel orange-quartered and thinly sliced crosswise
    • 1 cup apple juice, chilled
    • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    • 1/4 cup apple brandy
    • One 22-ounce bottle hard apple cider, chilled
    • Ice

Preparation

Baking Directions:

1. In a pitcher, combine the apples with the orange, apple juice, lemon juice and brandy. Just before serving, add the hard cider. Serve in tall glasses over ice.

Spicy cheddar witch fingers
Servings:

Makes 3 dozen

Ingredients

    • 1/2 pound extra-sharp white cheddar cheese
    • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • 1 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1 large egg yolk mixed with 1 tablespoon of water
    • 36 sliced almonds (about 1/3 cup)

Preparation

Baking Directions:

1. In a food processor, grate the cheddar cheese. Add the butter, salt and cayenne and process until smooth. Add the flour and pulse until incorporated. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead until smooth. 2. Divide the dough into 36 pieces and roll each piece into a 4-inch finger. Arrange the fingers on 2 parchment paper-lined baking sheets and brush with the egg wash. Press an almond slice onto the end of each finger to resemble a fingernail. Refrigerate the cheese fingers until firm, about 15 minutes. 3. Preheat the oven to 350°. Bake the cheese fingers in the upper and lower thirds of the oven for about 25 minutes, until puffed and golden, shifting the pans halfway through baking. Let the cheese fingers cool completely, then arrange on a platter and serve. Make ahead:The fingers can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Re-crisp if necessary.

Spiced candy corn crispies
Servings:

Makes 2 dozen

Ingredients

    • One 10-ounce bag marshmallows
    • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 1 teaspoon pure ancho chile powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • Orange and yellow food coloring
    • 6 cups Rice Krispies
    • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne

Preparation

Baking Directions:

1. Spray two mini muffin pans with vegetable oil spray. In a large saucepan, combine half of the marshmallows with 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the chile powder, cumin, coriander and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and cook over moderate heat until the marshmallows have melted. Stir in enough orange food coloring to dye the marshmallow orange. Stir in 3 cups of the rice cereal. Spoon the mixture into the muffin cups and pack it down with lightly oiled hands. 2. Wash and dry the saucepan. Add the remaining marshmallows, 2 tablespoons of butter and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and cook over moderate heat until melted and smooth. Pour half of the melted marshmallow into a heatproof bowl and stir in 1 1/2 cups of the rice cereal to make the white layer. Add the cayenne and yellow food coloring to the marshmallow in the saucepan and stir in the remaining 1 1/2 cups of rice cereal. Using lightly oiled hands, mound the yellow mixture on top of the orange layer, packing it down to firmly attach it. Top with the white layer, tapering the mixture to a point so the crispies resemble the conical shape of candy corn. Serve or store overnight in an airtight container.

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