When we were kids about the only thing important on Halloween was collecting as many full-sized candy bars as possible. Apples were trashed because that was the rule – even in the dark ages pins and razors were a scary reality – and anything lame like bubble gum was fair-trade material. The whole idea was to collect 65 pounds of big chocolate bars that could be bartered throughout the year. Lame fun-sized bars weren’t even a twinkle in any manufacturer’s eye yet and Martha Stewart was still a teenager working on her modeling skills so costumes were still made from junk around the house.
Cupcakes were de rigueur for Halloween school parties along with tons of candy and lots of potato chips and (sit down for this one) soda. No one even muttered the words junk and food in the same sentence yet. But then again, soda and even cupcakes were a rare treat. Potato chips, however, were a food group unto themselves.
Pumpkins were things that decorated porches and front stoops. Canned versions of Charlie Brown’s Great Pumpkin were what you used to make pie for Thanksgiving. No one even dreamed of pumpkin cookies, cakes or treats to commemorate Halloween.
But the times, they did change. Big time change. Pumpkin became a food group in the autumn. Martha Stewart left modeling and became the stylist that made me give up a thousand hours to therapy wondering why I couldn’t grow my own pumpkins, sheer the sheep to make the wool to knit my children important period costumes for Halloween parties that I failed to host because I completely forgot how to mix and match my 18th century china with vintage stuff I didn’t even own. And let’s not get started on what I forgot to grow in my windowsill garden to harvest in time to mill and bake for uniquely homemade Halloween treats.
But I’m here to tell you that I favor a mixed bag throwback to the days when simpler meant easy with a side of a full night’s sleep. I live in a place where we set aside huge expectations for holidays that come and go in a blink and no longer pay for hours of therapy about why we never measure up to those glossy magazines. Halloween is all about the homemade throw-together costumes and the gathering of candy (preferably full-sized GF friendly candy bars) and a few easy to make treats for those inevitable moments when someone says “potluck”.
These macaroons not only can be made by a pack of mindless monkeys late at night after a full day at the zoo, but they also make enough to feed a small village and can be stored for days and days without a problem. That’s my kind of holiday cookie. We call that progress. Happy throwback Halloween.
|Halloween Eyeballs: Pumpkin Macaroons||
- 140 grams egg white (4 extra-large eggs)
- 100 grams superfine sugar (1/2 cup)
- 45 grams pumpkin puree (2 generous tablespoons)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 300 grams finely shredded unsweetened coconut (about 3 ¾ cups)
- 80 grams chocolate disks or chips (about ½ cup)
- 48-50 Wilton royal icing eyeballs (optional)
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl whisk together egg whites, sugar, pumpkin puree, vanilla, salt, pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon until blended. Stir in coconut until well combined. Scoop generous 1 tablespoon sized balls onto prepared baking sheets, about 24 to each sheet. Using wet fingers flatten each ball and make a thumbprint in the center. Place a chocolate disk in the center or fill the dent with chocolate chips. Let the macaroons sit on the counter for 30-45 minutes before baking so they have a chance to dry.
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 325°F.
- Bake 15 minutes and rotate baking sheets. Bake 8-10 minutes more or until the macaroons are starting to turn dark brown in the edges. This is when you want to place the eyeballs on the chocolate centers – while they are hot from the oven. Cool in the pan until you can lift each one and move them to a rack to cool completely. They will remain soft.